blissful eats with Tina Jeffers: caramel whipped cream cake

Me and the Mr. celebrated our anniversary this weekend so I decided to bake a cake to honor the occasion. I must admit that I'm not one for baking layer cakes, they always seem too formal, to complicated and too involved for my short and impatient attention span.  It also doesn't help that I don't really like frosting.  I was the weird kid that begged for a plain cake for my birthday, I always hated those super sugary cakes with the frosted roses that all my friends seemed to beg for.  What really got me excited were those cakes from the supermarket bakery that had whipped cream frosting instead of buttercream.  When I saw this recipe in The Modern Baker, I just knew that I had to try it.  Whipped cream frosting on top of a cake made with whipped cream?  Too good to be true.  It's a really simple cake with minimal ingredients, no butter, yes, I just said it, no butter.  The cake gets it's lightness and crumb from the fat in the whipped cream, which more than makes up for the lack of butter.  It was the perfect cake to celebrate our special day but I can see myself making this again, just for the fun of it.

Caramel Whipped Cream Cake

from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri

Cake batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Caramel whipped cream:

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon water
3 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel dust:
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon flake salt


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  

For the cake batter, combine the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a bowl and stir welll to mix. 

Put the cream and vanilla in a large bowl or stand mixer and whisk until thickened and stiff.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.  Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar.  Whisk in the flour mixture in 3 separate additions, whisking smooth after each addition.

Divide the batter between two 9 inch round cake pans that have been buttered and the bottoms lined with disks of buttered parchment and smooth the tops.  Bake the layers until they are risen, deep golden and firm in the center when pressed with a fingertip, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool the layers in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, unmold them and cool them right side up on the racks.

While the layers are baking, prepare the caramel whipped cream.  Combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and stir well to mix.  Put 1/2 cup of the cream in a second small saucepan.  Place the first pan on medium heat and cook undisturbed until the sugar begins to melt and caramelize.  Reduce the heat to low and stir occasionally so that the sugar melts and caramelizes evenly.  Remove it from the heat when the caramel is still pale. Slide the pan with the cream onto the burner.  As son as the cream has some bubbles around the edge, add it to the caramel at arm's length, the caramel will boil up and may splatter so use caution.  Pour the diluted caramel into a medium bowl  and cool it to room temperature.  Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of cream and the vanilla and chill until you are ready to finish the cake (this can be done a day ahead).

For the caramel dust combine the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan and use the same process as you did for the caramel cream mixture.  When the caramel has darkened slightly add the butter and salt whisking it in until completely incorporated.  Immediately pour the mixture onto  well buttered baking sheet or line it with a silicon mat.  Allow the caramel to cool and harden about 30 minutes.  When completely cool break into 1 inch pieces and process in a food processor just before it becomes a powder.

To finish the cake, whip the cream mixture with an electric mixer or by hand until it holds a firm peak.  Place one of the cake layers on a cake cardboard or platter and spread it with a little less than half the whipped cream. Invert the second layer onto the cream and spread the outside of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.  Sprinkle the caramel dust on the top or press into the sides of the cake using a small spatula.
Serves 8-12

~visit tina on her blog, scaling back