Monday, June 8, 2009

Burnt Butter Cake

No, this is not about a failed baking adventure (thank god for that!!)...this is not about a burnt butter cake, but a burnt butter cake.

For Christmas last year, I received 3 cookbooks as gifts.

(Wonder what this implies...either that people want to indulge me my passion for cooking or that they want to kindly hint that there is room for improvement...hmmm)

One of those books was Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess:Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking'. This is the kind of cookbook that I love to have by my bedside - Nigella's writing style is very engaging, most recipes are preceded by some story or anecdote; most importantly, she is sounds quite re-assuring, especially in recipes which normally intimidate home bakers.

One of the first recipes I tried from the book was her Burnt Butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes.

"It is difficult to explain the wonderful resonant taste that burnt butter has", she says, "just think of it as a kind of mouth-filling nuttiness".

How apt. Anyone who has ever made clarified butter at home would know the taste and the smell of 'burnt butter' (mmmm, absolutely wonderful) and would agree that a better description of burnt butter cannot be found.

I made a few changes to her Burnt Butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes, here's my take on the recipe




Burnt Butter - Caramel - Brown Sugar Cake

Ingredients:

Butter - 250 gms
Cake flour - 1 1/2 cups
Baking powder - 2 tsps
Salt - 1/4 tsp (omit if using salted butter)
Caramel syrup (recipe follows) - 4 tbsps
Light brown sugar - 12 tbsps
Eggs - 4
Milk - 6 tbsps
Vanilla essence - 2tsps

Method:

Put the butter in a saucepan and cook until it turns brown. Strain it through a fine mesh to get rid of the sediment and set aside to cool and solidify.

Sieve together the flour and the baking powder.

When the butter sets, cream it together with the caramel syrup and the light brown sugar for about 5-7 mins.

Add the vanilla essence and then the eggs, one after the other, mixing well after each addition.
Next, fold the flour in 3 quick additions. Lastly, add the milk so that the batter has a smooth, dropping consistency.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C. Grease and line a 9" round baking pan and bake for about 40 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

(Note: when baking your cakes, if the top browns too quickly, but the cake is still not done in the middle, cover it - loosely - with aluminium foil. This will prevent the cake top from getting burnt and not affect the baking in any way).

In the meantime, prepare the frosting. I used caramelised butter frosting for this cake.

Caramelised Butter Frosting: (recipe from Shuna Fish Lydon)

for the caramel syrup (the original quantities are different, this is what I used)

sugar 12 tbspswater
3 tbsps + 6 tbsps

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in the 6 tbsps of water. Be careful when doing this, the caramel tends to splutter about so it is best to have gloves on when doing this.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

for the frosting:

Unsalted butter - 12 tbsps
Icing sugar, sifted - 453 gms
Heavy cream 4-6 tbsps
Vanilla extract - 2 tsps
Caramel syrup 2-4 tsps
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown and pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool. I waited until the butter solidified again.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup.
Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Now for the really tough part - the one that involves restraint and patience - take the cake off the baking tin, wait for it to cool. Then, frost it. I would have liked to divide the cake into two and sandwich the two layers with a bit of frosting; I would also have liked to frost the cake on the sides, unfortunately, I didn't have too much icing sugar on hand, so I ended up slathering all the frosting only on the top.

Cut a slice...no, you can't eat it yet....first take a few pictures, while all the time drooling - oh the sacrifices for blogging!!

28 comments:

  1. I too love the taste of burnt butter, and this cake looks mouth watering

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  2. I love the color of the cake .. it looks soo good

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  3. Looks fab! yummm, the recipe seems interesting.

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  4. Awesome cake! Looks fabulous. A unique one!

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  5. Very deliciious cake and a very beautiful photo.

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  6. Wow Aqua..thats really a gorgeous cake..looks too moist and soft:)

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  7. I usually prefer burnt butter to plain one,its so much more flavorful.Nigella's desserts are definitely out of this world!

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  8. Love burnt butter flavor...the cake looks yumm, just perfect. Ur so right about Nigella, she is very engaging.

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  9. wow thats looking fantastic and moist.. lovely cake send me one piece too,

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  10. fabulous cake..want to taste it :)

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  11. Wow that cake looks yummy...
    Even i m a big fan of Nigella....

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  12. Count me in too..love that taste n this looks so perfect Aqua..:)

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  13. I love burnt butter taste:) your cake is too tempting!

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  14. omg u r so good with bakin nd frostin too,..:-)

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  15. wow what a cake looks so beautiful and tempting yummy recipe

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  16. He he i like the name.Cake looks wonderful.

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  17. wow it must be tasting yummm.....nice recipe!!!!

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  18. Looks absolutely delicious & heavenly.

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  19. Oh wow feel like licking that topping......cake looks absolutely delish.....

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  20. I am drooling here. Butter cake looks moist and delicious.

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  21. Just loved the sound of this cake...wish I could taste it........sigh :-(

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It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!

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