Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Caramel Cake

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  After reading the following post, please go to a follow-up post here (re: revised caramel icing).  Also, for an alternative butter icing, go here.


Filipino-style caramel cake is far different from most caramel cakes. The cake base is chiffon, either in vanilla or mocha, and it is filled and frosted with a caramel icing that is not overly sweet. The icing can be described as more like a cross between caramel and custard and tastes very much like leche flan or creme caramel.

In the Philippines, the most popular caramel cakes are made by Estrel's. They have kept their cakes very traditional over the years and the caramel cake recipe they are using today is the same since they started in the 1940s.


Surprisingly, it is very hard to find a recipe for this kind of caramel icing paired with the chiffon cake. For a long time, I've searched and searched over the internet and found nothing. Most of the caramel icing recipes on the net are ones that are loaded with so much sugar and the kind that crust after a short while. The recipe I am about to share here came from my 85-year old aunt. I must say, however, it is a tweaked version of what she used many, many years ago in the family bakeshop. I've replaced some of the water content in her original recipe with milk to make it creamier and lessened the amount cornstarch. I also added vanilla extract (although my aunt suggests maple extract as better). I don't really know if this tastes like Estrel's because truthfully, I've never tasted their caramel cake. But what I am certain about is that this ticks all the boxes - the creaminess, the not-too-sweet taste, the pourable consistency. For all I know, it might even be better.


Anyway, on to the recipe. The cake consists of three components - the chiffon cake, the caramel icing, and the buttercream. If you want your cake base to be mocha, the recipe for the mocha chiffon cake can be found in this post. The Swiss meringue buttercream recipe (to be used to for the borders and flowers) is also found on the same post. Of course, you can use your own favourite buttercream recipe if you want to.

FILIPINO-STYLE CARAMEL CAKE



VANILLA CHIFFON CAKE (recipe suitable for an 8” round, 3” high pan)

{A}
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons white sugar

{B}
¼ cup corn/canola oil
4 egg yolks, from large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

{C}
4 eggwhites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

{D}
6 tablespoons white sugar

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine {A} well. Add in {B}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Pour batter into an ungreased 8” round, 3” high pan.
4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
5. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate. **Tip: For easier handling, wrap your cake very well in cling film, then refrigerate overnight before frosting.

CARAMEL ICING (enough to frost and fill 8” round cake)

3 eggyolks (set aside eggwhites for the Swiss Meringue buttercream)
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons full cream milk, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use 1/8 teaspoon maple oil flavour)

Combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, ½ cup of the full cream milk and 3 tablespoons cornstarch in a small bowl/jug. Mix well, then set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, over low to medium heat, caramelize (melt) the remaining 3/4 cup sugar. When sugar is completely melted and a golden brown colour, add boiling water. Bring back to a boil, making sure all the caramel is incorporated into the water. Carefully add in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons full cream milk. Heat mixture just until it starts to boil. Pour a little of the caramel/milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs. Mix until smooth. Pour this back into the remaining caramel/milk mixture in the saucepan. Mix until icing reaches a thick and spreadable consistency. Off the fire, add in butter and vanilla extract. Strain mixture, if necessary.

Let the icing cool down then spread it all over the cake surface.

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM - One recipe is more than enough. Use the eggwhites that you set aside from the caramel icing.

To decorate: Cut your cake horizontally in half. Invert top layer onto your cake board. Spread a thin layer of caramel icing over your cake half, then top with other cake layer, cut side down. Spread the rest of the caramel icing over the cake. Pipe out buttercream borders and decorate with buttercream roses/flowers as desired.

Happy baking!


PS.  Wanted to also share with you two other recent cakes I made.

Another ube cake, this time with ube-flavoured Swiss meringue buttercream.
A Transformers-themed cake I made for an 8th birthday.

76 comments:

  1. finally your very own caramel cake :)

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  2. your caramel cake looks beautiful! can't wait to try the recipe.

    would you mind sharing your ube flavoured swiss meringue buttercream?

    thanks for sharing your talents!

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  3. Wow. Looks like you mightt as well found the secret caramel recipe from Estrel's famous caramel cakes. I ve never tried it either but it looks like it! I can't wait to try your caramel cake recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Hi Corinne! I got your email. Thanks! I will definitely try your caramel cake, looks delicious! By the way, your mocha cake was a big hit yesterday at a birthday party. Yummy! Thanks for sharing! --- LIVI---

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  5. Hi Corinne. I am also from Melbourne...How can I order ube cake from you? Can you pls send me flavors and price list? Thanks, Myra. email: mgomez0121@yahoo.com

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  6. Beautiful! I so love Estrels caramel cake which was introduced to me by a friend. Our Manang makes caramel cake but makes use of cooked condensed milk (more of dulce de leche topping). Btw, sobrang inggit ako with your piping skills, darn I can't make one clean design. Thanks for sharing another yummy recipe.

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  7. Can I use evaporated milk instead of the full cream milk? Thanks

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  8. can you also share the recipe for swiss merangue buttercream?

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  9. Please read through the whole post. The link to the swiss meringue buttercream recipe is there.

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  10. wow, thanks for sharing.will definitely try your recipe this christmas as am planning to prepare all time favorite pinoy food.:-)

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  11. Hi Corinne, thank you for taking the time to reply to my email. Glad to know my humble xmas caramel cake passed your standards. I've sent you photos of mini cupcakes version for my friend's son's 7th bday; and leftover cupcakes for my 4yo. It's now officially his fave, he calls it "maaamon". The plain chiffon tastes so close to that of bread talk kasi. I had to make half batch for him the other day since he insisted that it be ready for afternoon tea after his nap, haha..lucky i kept the leftover caramel icing (oh so good even if no longer in its pourable state) & swiss meringue frosting from the bday weekend project. I wonder if replacing canola oil with melted butter will make the look closer to that of red ribbon/goldilocks? (chiffon to enjoy on its own without the frosting). P.S. I received lots of request to share your recipe so I've spread the word & gave them your blog link. Can't wait to try your other yummy goodies. thesa, sydney

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    1. Thanks Thesa. Glad to know you and your family are enjoying this recipe. Not so sure about the use of butter instead of oil. It might change the texture of the cake. Why not just brush soft butter over the top and sprinkle with sugar and/or grated cheese? Will be like taisan.

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    2. thanks for the suggestion, Corinne. luv taisan! can't wait to try it. thesa, sydney

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  12. Hello corinne! Im so fascinated with your cakes & ive been looking for this caramel cake recipe. I want to try this soon but the prob is walang cake flour dito sa u.k, ano ung equivalent ng cake flour sa plain flour sa recipe na ito. Thank you very much & God bless!hope to hear from you soon!

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    1. 1 cup of cake flour can be replaced with 7/8 cup of plain flour plus 1/8 cup cornstarch.

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  13. Thank you corinne

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  14. Hello!Sa recipe na ito it says 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sifted cake flour ano po ito plain flour? Salamt corinne!

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    1. I do not normally replace cake flour so PLEASE CHECK my conversion. Kindly do the math as well. Bear in mind the following:

      1 cup cake flour = 7/8 cup plain flour + 1/8 cup cornstarch
      1 cup = 16 tablespoons

      Using these information, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour can be replaced with:

      7/8 cup plus 1 3/4 tablespoons plain flour PLUS
      1/8 cup plus 1/4 tablespoon cornstarch

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  15. Hi ms corinne .. Thanks for the wonderful cakes recipes btw i wanted to ask what kind/s of tips your using everythings looks great. God bless and happy baking :-)

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    1. Did you mean the piping tips I used for the caramel cake?

      Top border - ruffle tip #88
      Bottom border - star tip #18
      Roses - petal tip #104
      Leaves - leaf tip #352

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  16. Can't wait to try this. I am thrilled to find a Filipina with the same name and spelling. My question is how come my swiss meringue buttercream is light yellowish in color(i know it's because of the buttercream) but yours appear white? I really prefer using SMBC instead of american buttercream

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    1. Hi Corinne,

      I've never met a Filipina with the same name, so yeah, nice to hear from you!

      My swiss meringue buttercream is off white, not super white. Do you use unsalted butter? I am not sure about the unsalted butter where you're from but here, it is very pale yellow. I'm sure this affects the resulting colour of the buttercream.

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  17. Corinne, I wanted to comment on replacing cake flour with all purpose/plain flour. I confess I HATE cake flour; I don't like the metallic taste that I seem to detect, and I don't like the texture either. I always replace cake flour using the formula of 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp cornstarch; and this works all the time. You should try it one day, at least out of curiousity. Who knows, you may even agree with me. I have done your chiffon recipe twice using the formula, and it is wonderful. I know it makes the measuring a bit more complicated but it is worth it. Instead of the 1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour, I use 13 tbsp + 1 ½ tsp all purpose flour, and 2 tbsp + 3/4 tsp cornstarch. I see you provided a different formula in one of your prior posts (7/8 cup (14 tbsp)) flour plus 2 tbsp cornstarch, but my formula works as well. I have never tried yours though. Give it a try one day; you may be pleasantly surprised. Plus cake flour usually costs more. Regine

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  18. PArang sa estrels po ba ang consistency nito? Thanks need to clone po kasi! :(

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    1. I have not tasted Estrel's so I cannot say for sure. BUT those who have tasted it and tried this said that it is similar. Use the revised icing recipe cause it is more pourable and be careful not to overcook it as it will thicken fast.

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  19. Hi Ms Corinne

    I've tried making the caramel glazing, but it thickens fast, and can be poured to the cake but is not smooth when the icing hardens. How long does it take to mix the caramel mixture before it reaches a thick consistency so as to make it pourable and have a smooth finishing?

    Thanks!

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    1. The revised icing recipe (the link is at the top of the post) is better for pouring because it is less thick. I do not know the exact cooking time but it really takes only a few minutes. Just as soon as you feel that the mixture is starting to thicken (as you mix), turn off the heat then add the butter and vanilla. Pour over cake while it is still hot. Do not wait for it to cool down.

      For as long as you do not touch the top of the cake after pouring the icing, you will have a smooth finish.

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  20. Hi Corinne, Can I cover the cake with fondant?

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    1. I don't really cover my cakes with fondant so this is just my opinion. This cake might be too delicate for fondant. It is best to frost it as is, that is, with the caramel frosting. Or fill with the caramel then frost with buttercream (if you want to decorate it more elaborately).

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  21. The cake looks so beautiful. :D Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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  22. Hi Corinne,
    I have a caramel cake recipe that uses caramelized sugar (as for leche flan) in the cake batter and icing and it's a family favorite. Your cake looks beautiful (all your cakes do) and I'd love to try your recipe using the pourable icing version. Since this is poured, do you still slice the cake in half horizontally and pour the icing over the first layer, then over the top cake layer? If not, what do you use as a filling ?
    Thanks and all best wishes!

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    1. I do use the same icing for the filling. Just spread a thin layer of the icing over your bottom layer, top with the other cake layer, then pour the rest over the cake.

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  23. Hi Ms. Corinne,

    I moved here in Chicago 7 months ago and found out that filipinos here are in dire longing to find a cake similar to those sold at goldilocks and red ribbon. I tried this recipe yesterday and gave it to my mom's friend who lives and works here... they wanted more!
    Thank you for being generous in sharing this recipe and all the wonderful pointers in making it.

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  24. thanks a lot for sharing thie recipe...gotta try it asap. my brother wont teach me how! lol....ive always loved caramel cake and its kinda expensive at estrels, costa brava, and hizons. i hope i could perfect it the first time. will keep u posted...thanks again.

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  25. thankyou very much for sharing the recipe of one of my fave cakes and sought after recipe! my brother knows how to bake caramel cake but he keeps teasing me by not sharing it. lol! im gonna try to perfect ur recipe the first time and surprise him with a picture of it. gotta bake asap! thanks! godbless.

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  26. what tip did you use for your ruffle border

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  27. Oh, looks yummy, corrine! I'll make this on sunday and keep you posted. I hope it turns out great too!

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  28. Hi Corinne,
    I baked this caramel cake for the first time following your recipe and it turned out very great!!! i bake it as a gift and guess what, they said that it taste good!!! and my cake was gone in a matter of just minutes? at first no one would dare touch it because maybe they are waiting for someone to slice a piece, i took the initiative and then people followed and my cake was the first to GO! My daughter are actually asking if I baked an extra cake at home, sadly no but I promised them that I will bake this caramel cake just for ours to share at home. Thanks corinne! your blog site is an inspiration, I also like your sewing hobby, i am going to try the kitchen cover soon.

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  29. Hi Corrine. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I did this for my daughter's birthday last weekend. And I just have to drop by and say that it is really, really good. I have tasted Estrel's caramel cake during our recent visit to Manila and I just have to find a way to recreate it. Your recipe brought back the same yummy-ness we've experienced with Estrel's. Yours is actually not too sweet, which suits me (and my family) better. Again, thank you!

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  30. Will bake this for my birthday! thanks for the recipe!:)

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  31. Corrine, everyday I looked at your recipe of the caramel cake. I will make it this friday hopefully.ill keep you posted.

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  32. My friend tried the Caramel cake and Caramel custard icing for her daughter's birthday. The vanilla Chiffon cake was ok, but it stick in the baking pan, because the directions said to use an ungreased pan.
    Another thing was the icing; it was ok, until the butter was added...the icing just ran and went through the cake. It was not like we expected. Could it be the butter? How can we remedy that?

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    1. First of all, the cake really needs to stick to the pan for it to rise properly and not sink after baking. Did you line the bottom of your pan with baking paper? If you did, all you needed to do was loosen the sides of the cake with a knife and your cake should have unmoulded without any problem.

      Secondly, if your icing was runny then that probably means you did not cook it enough. I assume you used the correct amount of ingredients of course. This icing thickens upon standing so try cooling it down for just a bit before pouring. But in saying that, don't let it become too thick as well as you will not be able to get a neat finish.

      I have made this cake successfully many, many times but really, practice makes perfect. Good luck with your next try.

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  33. hi ms corine.. can i use vegetable oil onstead of corn/canola oil..? thanks

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  34. Hi Corrine I'm just wondering if I can use a retangular cake tin(12x10) and should I double the recipe?
    Many thanks
    Edith

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  35. 3 inches pan. And how long do I need to bake it for.

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    1. Triple the cake recipe. Bake for about 70 to 75 minutes or until skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

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  36. Tried this recipe- so close to Estrel's caramel cake!! Just messed up the decoration but the taste is spot on! Not too sweet and the chiffon cake is airy and fluffy. The only problem is that my cake didn't rise. A tip for those still planning to try this recipe: NEVER use a non-stick pan. Your cake won't rise. Other than this minor problem, I give this a perfect score. No need to spend 600+ bucks for a cake as simple to make as this. :) (Plus the owners if anyone has noticed, are not too friendly. They don't smile when you enter the shop. The assistants, too. As soon as you enter the shop, you just see a stoic assistant/clerk with a pen ready to take your order. So the shop feels more like a bank than a cake shop!)

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  37. Hi Corrine! Thank you for sharing this recipe :)

    Just a quick question regarding temperature. I'm using a convection oven and I usually subtract 20 degrees from the required temp on recipes. Is the temp indicated on your re ipe for a conventional oven or a convection one?

    Thanks again!

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  38. Hello Corrine, I wonder how many days in advance can this finish products be safe in refrigerator without risk and how many hours can the caramel icing withstand being out on the table for the day? Much appreciated. Btw, I your email pike.corrine@yahoo.com is not working. :(

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    1. My name is spelled with one 'r' and double 'n'. I did receive your email and will answer it shortly. Thanks.

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  39. Hi Corine,

    Thanks for your quick response on my other inquiry. Your cake looks so awesome. Wish i know how to pipe like yours.

    Btw, I have one more question please. On the above photo the ube cake with Ube Swiss Merengue Buttercream, is that your shared recipe of Swiss Merengue and just added flavoring? If so, how much of the McCormick Ube flavor? Thanks a lot!

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    1. Yes, it's the same swiss meringue buttercream recipe, just replacing the vanilla extract with an equal amount of ube flavouring. If necessary, add violet gel paste to achieve the shade you want.

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  40. hi, corrine! if i used your chiffon recipe to make cupcakes, how much time do you need i need to cook it for in a standard muffin pan and in what temperature?

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    1. I don't use chiffon cake recipes for cupcakes but I would say around 20 minutes at the same 170C temperature.

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    2. is that right? would there be significant changes in taste and/or texture if i made cupcakes out of chiffon?

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    3. Please see my post on hokkaido cupcakes here:
      http://www.pinoyinoz.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/hokkaido-cake.html?m=1

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    4. coolness, corinne! you're an absolute angel! thanks so much for all the help!

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  41. Hi. Can I adjust the swiss meringue buttercream recipe? The icing is more than enough so I always end up throwing more than half of it! I want to split the recipe but I don't know how to adjust the proportions...

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    1. If you want half the recipe then simply half everything. One eggwhite is around 35 grams on the average. Weigh it to get your half recipe.

      By the way, you don't have to throw your excess. Freeze it for future use. Better to have more than less.

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  42. Hi! Glad to have found your site! That caramel cake looks wonderful! I just have a question (sorry if it sounds stupid). How do you actually go about pouring the caramel icing over the cake without getting the cardboard container messy? I suppose you can put baking paper underneath but I'm afraid I might have difficulty removing it after hehe. You see it's going to be my first time baking a cake and I've chosen yours coz I'm a huge fan of Estrel's. Hehe hope you can share some tips with this newbie :p thanks and more power to your site!

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    1. If you read through the instructions of the caramel icing (link to updated version at the top of the page), it does say to put strips of baking paper under the cake to catch the icing drips. Don't worry, the strips are easy to pull out.

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    2. I see! Thanks Ms. Corinne! Whew so excited to try this out!

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  43. Is it possible to use a cake mix? Then just do it with your caramel icing? Thanks much?

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    1. What you pair the caramel icing with is up to you.

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  44. I came across this recipe today and want to try it out. I do not have 8" round pans. I only have 9" round pans. How will this affect the baking time? Also, how about a 9x13 rectangle pan? Should I double the recipe? How about the baking time? Thanks for any help.

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    1. This recipe is also suitable for a 9 by 2 1/2" pan. For 9x13, double the recipe but use 7 large eggs only. Bake for 55-60 mins or until skewer comes out clean.

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  45. Hi corrine,
    I tried to make the cake today but didnot do the caramel icing because while taking th baked cake out frm the tin the center of the cake just collapse and its all a mess there's no way I can repair, I believed I followed the recipe step by step, but I used a round 8x5 tin and did not greased it because that's the instruction. Must that be the reason for it? Thanks .. We still able to eat it and taste good it's a shame I was not able to to the icing.

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    Replies
    1. If you use a larger cake tin than what is instructed, you will definitely get different results. An 8x5 is too large for this recipe. My guess is that your cake was still underbaked hence it collapsed in the center.

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