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Charlotte, North Carolina
I am starting out my social work career and my marriage. I write to relieve stress...mostly by sarcastically telling life stories.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mom's Birthday Fun

My mom has been in town since Saturday visiting us. We have accomplished many things- crafts, re-decorating my house, and finding furniture that I really didn't need but, just had to get, in some local consignment stores. More importantly today is her birthday! We exchanged our birthday bracelets- even though my birthday is not till April!
My bracelet- (Tangier 1969)

Mom's bracelet (Oxford 1901)

And even MORE importantly I made my first caramel cake for her birthday. If you are from the South you should know what a carmel cake is. Traditionally they are made with yellow cake and caramel icing amazingness. I still have memories of a caramel cake that a lady in Mississippi made- and I left Mississippi after 3rd grade!

I am not gonna lie this cake is a labor of love but it is so yummy and decadent that it is worth the time!

I found my recipes in my Joy of Cooking Cookbook- which I fully believe has every recipe in the world listed.

Four Egg Yellow Cake

2 2/3 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs yolks
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

Have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70 F. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans or line the bottom with wax paper. 

  1. Whisk together thoroughly in a bowl- sifted cake four, baking powder, and salt.  
  2. Combine in another bowl or a liquid measuring cup- milk and vanilla.
  3. Beat butter in a large bowl until creamy. Gradually add 1 1/2 cup sugar and beat on high speed until light, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 parts, beating until smooth. 
  4. Using clean beaters, beat in a large bowl on medium speed your egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add in your last 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high speed until peaks are stiff but not dry. 
  5. Use a rubber spatula to fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the batter, then fold the remaining whites. Divide the batter among the pans and spread evenly. 
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Cool and remove from pans. Let cool completely before icing. 

Caramel Frosting

2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
*may need extra milk and confectioners sugar

Prepare yourself to have lots of time to create this. Sometimes the best stuff requires patience!
  1. Combine brown sugar and heavy cream in a medium heavy saucepan and stir until the sugar is dissolved. 
  2. Cook about 3 minutes, washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Cook, without stirring, to 238 to 240 F (soft ball stage). The water trick really does work- have a bowl of cold water and drip some of the caramel into the water. If it sinks to the bottom and forms little balls it is ready. Also to note- it takes quite some time for the caramel to get that hot so just have some patience. 
  3. Remove from the heat, and float the butter on top. 
  4. Cool, without stirring, to 110 F. It takes about 45 minutes. Then add your vanilla. 
  5. Beat the icing until cool, thick, and creamy. If it becomes too thick add some milk. You will be beating the icing for what feels like FOREVER- thank goodness for my kitchenaid mixer! I ended up reading other people's recipes and I added a little milk and a little confectioners sugar to make it smooth. 
  6. Try to not eat the icing out of the bowl- instead spread it on your yummy cake immediately. 

Good luck,

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