Monday, October 31, 2011

One more time for the caramel cake

I know I already posted a caramel cake recipe here not too long ago. It was a recipe that I was, in fact, happy with. But if you were in my place, how would you feel when someone tells you that your cake isn't close to the cake you are trying to copy?

I don't know if 'disappointed' is the right word because I knew all along, that while the icing tasted good, it wasn't exactly IT.  The simple truth was that the "right" icing was supposed to be poured and not spread.  The icing should be super smooth on the cake surface rather than marred with spatula marks.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to ask around the net for ideas from people who've uploaded their caramel cake photos, particularly those with icing that appeared to have the right consistency.  I wasn't exactly asking for their recipes, just opinions on what I can do to improve mine. I get lots of emails from people asking for my recipes and for advice, and without exaggeration, I do respond to every single email.  So in a way, I expected answers myself, even just to tell me that they are sorry they can't help me.  Sadly, only one had the courtesy to respond to me. The one recipe shared with me, unfortunately, was a spreadable icing too.  Still, I gave it a try.

Sorry to say, I wasn't very happy with the outcome.  The taste was alright but the icing was pale in colour (due to the lack of caramelized sugar) and it was thick and difficult to spread smooth.  However, the good news is that,  it gave me an idea on how to revise my recipe.

The next thing to do was, of course, bake another caramel cake.  I made one for my late mother's birthday last October 27.  I changed the proportions of my ingredients and hoped for the best.  And I prayed to my mom to help me make it right.  After all, the cake was for her.

How was it, you ask?  I think the photos will speak for themselves.

I am very happy to say that I think I have finally got it right!  Whether or not this tastes like THAT CAKE, I really don't care now because it was the right sweetness for me and the consistency was completely pourable.  Except for some tiny air bubbles (which I know is avoidable), the cake surface was smooth.  I did not need to do any spreading.

Here it is then...the revised (and hopefully, much better version) of the caramel icing recipe.  The procedure is the same as the original one.  Just take note of the changes in ingredients and quantities.

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

2 eggyolks
1/2 3/8 cup white sugar, divided updated: 19/2/2013
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (one 375 ml can), divided
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the eggyolks with 1/8 cup (or 2 tablespoons) of the sugar in a small bowl/jug.  Add in 1/4 cup of the evaporated milk and cornstarch.  Mix well, then set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, over low to medium heat, caramelize the remaining (3/8 1/4 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 the rest of the evaporated milk (1 1/4 cups).  Heat ;mixture just until it starts to boil.  Without turning off the heat, pour a little of the caramel/milk mixture into the eggyolk 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 consistency.  Off the fire, add in butter and vanilla extract. Let cool just a little bit, whisking once in while.  The mixture will thicken more.  Pour onto cake while still warm.

NOTE:  This icing is pourable.  Let it flow smoothly over the top and sides of the cake.  Put strips of baking paper under your cake to catch the drips.

Enjoy!  Hope you will be happy with this as well.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Matthew, my youngest son, turned 10 last October 12.  This year, we decided to celebrate his birthday simply with an all-kids, all-boys party.  Matthew only invited 7 of his closest school friends.  They played fun games and as always, had a homemade pinata filled with sweet treats.  It was so much easier to have a small party like this. Aside from the fact that I did not have to prepare any kind of fancy food, I know that Matthew enjoyed it more to have his friends around rather than us inviting our own adult friends over.

Red velvet cake filled and frosted with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.

For the occasion, I chose to make a photo cake.  I ordered the edible icing image from a reputable cake decorating shop.  It cost me $25 (including postage) for this 7.5" round image alone!  Expensive, isn't it?  I figured, since I was making the cake myself anyway, it was still worth the expense.  I've purchased edible icing images before for half the price but the quality wasn't all that good.  This particular photo of Matthew was printed really clearly and I did not have a problem removing the image from its backing paper.

Now, I'm really contemplating on buying a printer, edible inks, and frosting sheets so I can print these images myself.  I've already done my research and I've learned that it really doesn't cost that much to invest in these things. So hopefully very soon, I will have a new toy to play with!

There are a couple more birthdays today that we've been invited to and for which, I was asked to make cakes too.

A Power Ranger-themed cake for a 4 year old boy...

Mocha chiffon filled and frosted with coffee Swiss Meringue buttercream.

Gumpaste red power ranger topper.

And also one for a first birthday...

Chocolate chiffon filled and frosted with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream.

I would say this cake is the one I am most happy with and proud of to date!  I based the topper from the design of the birthday invitation (which also had a photo of the birthday girl wearing this polka dot pinafore). I particularly like the birds holding the candle and the balloon.

Cake topper made from gumpaste.

Well, so much for birthdays.  Until the next one comes along.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Practice makes perfect

I gave up on trying to learn how to pipe buttercream roses many months ago.  It seemed that no matter what I did, I just couldn't get them right. Couldn't figure out if it was because of my technique or if the consistency of my frosting was just wrong.  Making gumpaste roses, though considerably more time consuming, worked out better for me.  So I stuck with it for a while.

Until I made the caramel cake recently.  I gave it another shot and the roses turned out quite acceptable.

I tried again shortly after that, this time for an old-fashioned chocolate cake.  Still not the best...but at least, my confidence level was definitely up.

Looked like I was getting the hang of why not try again, right?

Those were for a Christening cake I finished last night. 

The cake is a 12" ube macapuno chiffon filled and frosted with an ube flavoured Swiss Meringue buttercream.

I was given just a day to make this cake, from baking, to making the gumpaste decorations, to frosting and decorating.  I think the cross topper came out pretty well considering the little time I had.

Cross topper made from gumpaste.  Embossed with flower prints and painted with edible gold paint.

My buttercream roses are still far from perfect but I know I'm getting there....