Ahh! Its been a while.

However, there has been a variety of good news recently in my life, I've been accepted into 5 colleges! I applied to 11 and an currently 5 for 6! The colleges I've been accepted to include: University of Minnesota, St. Thomas University, Virginia Commonwealth Arts (very excited as this is the #1 public arts university!!), University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, and DePaul University in Chicago. I'm very excited to hear back from other schools as I hope to pursue a combinations of arts and business classes. Now, I am going to announce I will be taking a small break from The Sunday Pastry as I get situated into college this fall. Although I don't exactly know when I will start up again I hope to continue baking as soon as possible. This has been an amazing experience throughout its four years and I cannot wait to see where this blog takes me next.

However, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself! I still have the rest of the year to continue baking and blogging.

So, that brings us to this week's recipe! I have to make a cake for a benefit auction, so I decided to start working on flavor combinations too see what I would like the best. Although I've decided to use fondant for the benefit cake, I always enjoy practicing working with icing and decoration! So, this week's cake is an amazing carmel and browned butter combination that perfectly melts in your mouth.

Without further ado...

Carmel Browned Butter Cake

Makes 1 9" cake
Adapted From: Tartlette

For the Caramel Cake:
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup caramel syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
Sift flour and baking powder. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

For the Caramel Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelizing process)

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 dark amber.
When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
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 the Caramelized Butter Frosting:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl. 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 caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated.

For the Caramel Shards:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
3 tablespoon (45 ml water)
1 tablespoon (15 gr) corn syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring them to a boil. Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer and bring the mixture to 300F and the color is slightly golden. While the caramel is reaching its desired temperature, take a sheet of parchment paper and crinkle it between your hands then flatten it out a bit. This will help with the forming of the bubbles. When the caramel is ready, slowly pour it over the parchment paper. You can lift the paper carefully to spread it around the surface if needed but watch out! I do this over a large sheet pan so all is required for clean up is hot water. Let cool completely before breaking into shards.

Because it is only one layer, decorating this cake is very simple. Feel free to add a second layer if you want!

Until next week!

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