Wow. That's all I can say, really. Wow. This cake is pure heaven on a plate. It's simple to make and it is, without a doubt, one of the most delicious cakes I have ever baked. And just in case you think I give easy praise, I asked my boys.
Mom: "Hey guys, what do you think of this cake?"
Boys: "Mpf... umf... GOOD!"
Mom: "So you like it?"
Boys: "Smf... um... YES!"
Mom: "Is it your favorite cake so far?"
And yes, just in case you were wondering, they really do talk in unison like that.
Seriously though - that exchange is pretty much what really happened. That cake wasn't nibbled on - it was devoured!! And the caramel icing is... well... let's say it's just a treat in and of itself. It firms up to become a rich caramel fudge. Oh golly. I even put a spoonful into my coffee one night. And it was delicious!
But I admit it - I didn't follow the instructions perfectly (go figure!). I was being too quick in the kitchen again, and did not flour my pans. As a result, my cakes didn't turn out all neat and tidy - so please forgive my photos! While my cake didn't turn out as pretty as I would have liked, it tasted fabulous!!! And I'd rather have a yummy cake over a pretty cake any day!
So please try this cake. You'll thank me for it. You really will. I'll be waiting right here.
Gigi's Fabulous Caramel Cake
(from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gigi's Caramel Icing
2 2/3 cups of light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
7 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the cake, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until the butter melts. Stir well and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar, and beat well at high speed, scraping down the bowl often, until light yellow, smooth and thick.
Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture, mixing only until the flour disappears. Add the cooled milk mixture and the vanilla, stir well, and divide the batter between the prepared pans.
Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes are pale golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pans.
Cool in the pans for 10 minutes on wire racks or folded kitchen towels. Then turn out the cakes onto wire racks or plates to cool completely, top side up.
To make the icing, have the cake layers handy and ready for frosting, so that you can spread the warm frosting quickly once it is ready. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and evaporated milk, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir well and then adjust the heat so that the frosting boils and bubbles gently. Cook for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Beat the warm icing with a wooden spoon until it thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Place a cake layer, top side down, on a cake stand or serving platter. Quickly spread some icing over the top, and cover it with the second cake layer, top side up. Ice the top quickly and then spread the remaining icing over the sides.
If the icing becomes too hard to spread, warm gently over low heat, add a spoonful or two of evaporated milk, and then scrape and stir well until the icing softens enough to spread again. Dip a table knife in very hot water to help soften and smooth out the icing once it is spread.