Tag: Maurine Shores

Salted Caramel Cake & Cupcakes

May 13th, 2010 — 1:33am

With thanks to Maurine Shores — and the Cake Lady, wherever she is!

For the Hot Milk Cake:

1 cup milk
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sifted, all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans (or line cupcake pans with paper liners). In a small saucepan over low heat, bring milk and butter to a boil. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well by hand. Pour the eggs over and mix thoroughly. Quickly pour the hot milk-butter over the egg mixture and mix well by hand, moving quickly so the eggs don’t curdle. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Divide between the two prepared pans (or 24-36 cupcake tins) and bake for 25-30 minutes for cake layers, 18-22 minutes for cupcakes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing from pans and cooling thoroughly before frosting.

For the Caramel Icing:

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Maldon salt flakes or fleur de sel

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar and boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Take off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Cool to lukewarm, about 20 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating until smooth and thick enough to spread. You may not need all 4 cups of sugar. Add a little hot water if it becomes too thick. Ice the cake while the frosting is warm, and sprinkle the top with Maldon salt flakes or fleur de sel.

2 comments » | Baking, Recipes

Cakewalk’s Public Debut

May 13th, 2010 — 1:22am

I’m about to run off to The Booksmith on Haight Street for my first reading from Cakewalk, which was published yesterday. But first I thought I’d give a glimpse of what I’m bringing with me, because the reading is also a party, and I’ve spent the day baking…what else is new.

On the menu tonight are Verboten German Chocolate Cupcakes, Pink and White Animal Cookies, Salted Caramel Cupcakes, and Absolutely Best Chocolate Chip Cookie dough, which I’m going to bake up in my Easy Bake Oven. I thought bringing an Easy Bake Oven to my readings was a stroke of genius: who doesn’t want to smell cookies baking while listening to someone read about baking cookies? Unfortunately the trial run with the EBO revealed that it smells more like burning plastic than carmelizing sugar and butter, but I’ll give it a go anyway.

Pink and White Animal Cookies

Everything ready to go to The Booksmith

The Salted Caramel Cupcakes are a Cakewalk Outtake, sort of: the frosting is in the book, utilized for the Brown Sugar Pound Cake recipe, but the yellow cake it goes with was cut from the manuscript when its chapter got the ax.

I love this yellow cake, an old southern recipe called “Hot Milk Cake.” It’s an unusual procedure: you heat the butter and milk together to boiling and pour it over the dry ingredients and eggs, stirring fast so the eggs don’t curdle. It smells like paradise when it’s in the oven, and the cake is spongy and light and delicious. It showed up for the first time in my life in Mothers Who Think, in an essay by contributor Maurine Shores on her childhood summers on the North Carolina coast, during which an eccentric “Cake Lady” supplied local vacationers with freshly baked cakes. Maurine’s family’s favorite was the Cake Lady’s Caramel Cake: the fragrant yellow Hot Milk Cake iced with a caramel frosting that is really a thoroughly addictive candy in disguise. Of course we ran the recipe along with the essay, and then my partner-in-crime, Camille Peri, and I became undeniably obsessed with the Caramel Cake.

In fact, everyone we knew became obsessed with the Caramel Cake. We made it to bring into the Salon office to share with our coworkers, and we made it for parties, and we made it into cupcakes for the kids’ school birthdays. It was the ubiquitous cake of the San Francisco internet heyday. Everyone who ate it wanted the recipe, and in those early days of the World Wide Web it was so smugly satisfying to be able to say, “just download it off our site.”

Just to be fancy for tonight’s reading I made the Caramel Cake cupcakes into Salted Caramel Cupcakes [LINK]: a pinch of Maldon salt flakes sprinkled over the swirl of frosting before it sets. Fleur de sel would work, too.

Caramel Cupcakes in formal dress, with Maldon salt

5 comments » | Baking, Books, CAKEWALK, Motherhood, Recipes

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