Monday, November 23, 2009

Sophia's Chocolate Cake with Caramel Buttercream

Let me tell you about my job.

I like to call myself at work the "Jack of all trades" or, to be more gender-specific, the "Jacqueline of all trades." Basically, that means I do all things for all people. That means that I work with all kinds of people doing all kinds of odd jobs. I've worked with human resources; I've worked with the infrastructure division; I've worked with communication; I've worked with the housing division; I've worked with the visa department; I've worked with the COO of the company; I've worked with the contracts department; and I've worked with the office manager...just to name a few.

This has both pros and cons. I absolutely hate being bored...which is kinda of what got me in this situation in the first place. I got bored so I offered my services to all these different departments just trying to keep myself busy. But...when all those people ask for my help at one time...well, that's one of the cons. I like having lots to do, but I wish it was just more meaningful things. I can't understand why I need to type up something for someone when they have more than capable fingers. Instead of using both our time, they could just do it themselves, but, I'm beginning to rant.

My job really isn't that bad. I like having work, I'm just working on finding my place. Once I do, I'm sure I'll be smiles and roses.

But the reason for talking about work is because of the cake. It was the office manager's birthday, Sophia, and her husband asked me to make a cake. And I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to make a cake. Plus, Sophia is a really sweet girl. So cake I did make.

I decided to use a chocolate cake recipe that I used here because it produced a pretty yummy moist chocolate cake. But to change it up a little, I went with a caramel buttercream. I'm not exactly sure since I've only had one real success with caramel, but I thought I'd give it a shot.

The buttercream turned out well, not being bitter, and just lightly tasting of caramel. And the color was great. The only problem was that it produced waaaaayyy less frosting than I was expecting or needing.

This seems to happen to me all the time. Why can't I ever have leftover frosting? Why am I always scraping the bowl dry trying to get enough for what some might call a crumb coat? I just can't seem to get it right...yet.

So, since I didn't have what I would consider enough frosting, I improvised. I decided to distract from the cake with some chocolate decorations. Actually, I used chocolate bark to make these decorations, and I was pretty pleased on how it turned out. The only thing that was difficult was the sides because the chocolate was warm and runny and not quite adhering to the cake. Plus, the plate I put it on had a huge lip so I was unable to get real close to the cake.

But despite these problems, I think I turned out a pretty good cake.

Caramel Buttercream 
(printable recipe)
from Chow

2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Combine butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.

Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.


Mellow said...

Pretty Cake! I was wondering how your baking was coming along there, looks like your doing just fine! :) I always make more than the recipe calls for when it comes to frosting. Most of the time I don't even follow a recipe, just add things till it looks good.