Thursday, March 22, 2012

Use Explosively Good Caramel for Icing

After you end up with yesterday's recipe for a can of caramel, what do you do with the stuff?

In my case, it gave me an excuse to pull a box of pound cake mix out of the back of the pantry.  I found the world's easiest cake mix, and "Just Add Water" until it was smooth, then poured it out into the little paper cups.

For some reason, even an experienced cook can botch a recipe in an oven that has no real hope of maintaining an accurate temperature. 

You see, there's a trick that was taught to me way back when.  When you want to know if a bread, cake or similar item is baked through, stick a toothpick in it.  Pound cake is a moist but dense texture.  I forgot that.  So I kept sticking that toothpick in, and seeing that come out with crumbs instead of "clean" I left it in there.  

The cupcakes eventually came out dry and strangely like a cookie.

The moisture of the caramel soaked into the crusty cupcakes and made it all chewy.  I'll have to remember that.  Really nice texture that partially made up for the slightly dry cakes.

The icing on the top of the cake was lumpy.  I could have waited for it to warm more, but I got anxious.

To ice something with caramel, it needs to be warm and smooth to get it the right semi-runny consistency like thick honey.  When it cools, it will tighten up and remain on top enough to serve as icing.  At least with the explosive caramel recipe it all came together like that.

I warmed the caramel in a bath of water.  Place the open can of caramel in a dry sauce pan, fill the pan up to near the top of the can, and bring the water to a simmer.   Stir until smooth.

I forgot that part.  When it cooled it was all the same texture and so good that the four that I made and iced were gone between two people in one sitting.


Moral of the story is to learn your recipe, but even if you make a mistake, you can sometimes "recover" from it.  Besides, I still have a half of a can of caramel in the refrigerator to enjoy.

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