This recipe is by Shuna Fish Lydon, and it is SWEET! Our lovely hosts were Dolores, Alex, Jenny, and Natalie.

Beautiful cake batter. I really wanted to eat it except for the raw eggs.

The rules were to make both the cake and frosting (which include making the caramel syrup that goes in both of them). There was an optional challenge of making caramel candies but I’m not really a candy person and Eric is trying not to be, so I passed on that.

My first experience browning butter. I love the taste it gave the frosting.

I waited until about halfway through the month to make my cake, so I was able to read the feedback of Daring Bakers who did theirs earlier. The biggest feedback was it is insanely sweet! I’ve said before, I’m not big on sweets. In fact, most sweet things I can’t have more than one bite of. So I knew I would have to alter the recipe a bit, but that’s part of being daring, right?

A sifter is on my wish list, so I used my $1 fry skimmer. It takes longer.

Check out the original recipe if you have a major sweet tooth, this recipe incorporates my changes. For instance, I cut way back on the sugar in the frosting, and added cream cheese to help thicken it and make it a little more savory (besides, I love cheese!). I also used salted butter rather than unsalted since the salt helps cut the sweetness. I used less sugar in the cake, which made it rather dense like cornbread, but everyone really liked that texture (especially Eric who normally doesn’t like cake). I made only half the frosting, went light on the caramel syrup, and topped it off with lemon soaked apple slices.

If I had an occasion to make a cake, I’d probably use this (adjusted) recipe for two reasons: 1. It’s the only cake I’ve ever made from scratch and it worked 2. It’d be fun to play with more flavors in it. But honestly I really prefer savory so that may not happen. I am having fun with the leftover caramel syrup though. It was yummy in my winter drink concoction.



2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization 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 smoking slightly: 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. (I used foil to make a funnel that I sealed around the edge of the pot so I didn’t have 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.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.



10 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 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. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

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. Your own oven will set the pace. 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.



6 tablespoons butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons caramel syrup
2 TBS Cream Cheese
Kosher or sea salt to taste


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. Add cream and or caramel syrup. Add cream cheese, mix till smooth, add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

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23 thoughts on “Daring Bakers Challenge: CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING”

  1. It looks fantastic, and I love the fresh apples on top. I can see how their fresh crunch would have made a great contrast with each slice.

  2. Your cake looks delicious! I was considering apples myself, they just feel right with the recipe somehow :)A sifter is on my wishlist too…I use a small sieve which takes ages – great job!

  3. Looks like a bunch of us paired the cake with apples! I think we all must have been craving caramel apples like you get at Halloween (or at amusement parks). Yum!

  4. Wow ..I love the apples on top..great job!!!
    Thanks for you comment on my challange..to answer you question…I piped the frosting in a circular motion using a #805 tip.

  5. Your caramel syrup has a gorgeous colour. We didn’t mind the sweetness as much but I’m sure it would send some people over the edge.

  6. I love the apples on the slice, the cake is great its better the next day. Thanks for the comments on my blog. Great pictures

  7. Apples sound like a great addition! I loved the leftover caramel syrup, too. In fact, I’m thinking about making more of it so I can keep putting it in my tea…

  8. I think it was a very good idea ti add apples because this cake was both delicious and over-rich 🙂
    your photo of whisk and caramel is fantastic !

  9. Nice touch with the added apples! I sometimes subconciously cut down on sugar in recipes by not quite filling the cup all the way. 🙂


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