Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Revelatory Caramel Cake

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

A classic caramel cake is one of those sugary sweet Southern delicacies that I've read about for years but never actually tasted since they rarely make appearances north of the Mason-Dixon. I had an itch to find out what this caramel cake was all about, especially with "revelatory" in the recipe title.

Adapted by D.C. chef Ann Cashion, this Revelatory Caramel Cake from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook is just as incredible to bake as it is to behold. The white cake layers are egg white based, similar in flavor to an angel food cake but with a much denser crumb. Once baked and cooled, it can be iced and filled any which way you please.

But being a caramel cake, this one is really all about the icing. It's actually more of a candy coating. The icing is made by slowly cooking sugar, corn syrup, and milk until deeply caramelized. Butter and vanilla are added after and the icing is cooled and then whipped for about 15 minutes in a stand mixer. You're left with a deep brown, super sticky caramel that's slowly drizzled over the cake, coating it with a glossy, tacky caramel glaze. It's a drippy process, sure to make a big mess of your counter with globs of caramel everywhere, but it's worth it.

When the caramel coating has a chance to cool it coats the cake in a crazy thick layer of candy, keeping the cake within super moist and a candy bar caramel chewiness to every bite.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook to give away this week.

Adapted from The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook by John T. Edge and Sara Roahen. Copyright © 2010. Published by University of Georgia Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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