Caramel Cake: Behind the scenes

My last post was more about the feels inspired by the Back in the Day Bakery’s Caramel Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting than the actual process of making it, which itself was a doozy. An involved and kinda painful but ohhh so fun doozy. Also, attempting to make a cake from scratch, by yourself, and documenting it with a camera and note taking, by yourself, adds a whole new degree of difficulty and danger.

The recipe comes from the Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love cook book by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day. You can order the book here and you can find the recipe here.ย  But you should just do yourself a favor, and order the book. It’s full of happiness.

And without further ado, here are some behind the scenes shots!

When your butter looks like this, you're going to need a scale.
When your butter looks like this, you’re going to need a scale.
YES
YES
Sifting things! Sifting was my favorite thing to do when I was kid, and surprise, it's my favorite thing to do as an adult. I heart tools.
Sifting things! Sifting was my favorite thing to do when I was kid, and surprise, it’s my favorite thing to do as an adult. I heart tools.

DSCF1614Haha, the caramel. I read the recipe over and over, wondering how I’d get caramel just from melting sugar. After a few minutes on the stove, I was still pushing sugar around. And then, out of nowhere, it started to melt into a clear liquid.

Making caramel!
Making caramel!

And the more sugar I added, the darker the liquid got. By George, it became caramel.

Caramel!
Caramel!

It was a slow, careful process, as I had to stir it constantly, add a little bit more sugar each time, and not take my eyes off of it. I felt like a scientist.

So much f*$%ing patience.
A very serious scientist. Who cooks with sunglasses as a headband.

After all the sugar melted, I followed the recipe and took it off the heat, and immediately, but slowly, added the cream. And I thought the caramel was going to explode! It instantly reared up, all the caramel seized and it smelled like someone had a wet dairy fart in the kitchen. Something tells me that my definition of “room temperature” cream and science’s definition of “room temperature” cream are different.

Ugh, dairy bomb.
Ugh, dairy bomb.

I’d have a picture of the 40 minutes me stirring/whisking/swearing at the caramel, trying to get it to melt back down, but I decided to spare the internet. This where I burned my fingers, made a huge mess, and started to wonder if it was too late to just buy an ice cream cake.

DSCF1633
Also not pictured, an hour later removing all the burners so I can scrape caramel sauce off the stove top. Sweet.
I think I put myself at a disadvantage when I bought a $20 mixer. Apparently "5 speeds" means "2 speeds: off and SUPER EXTRA FAST"
I think I put myself at a disadvantage when I bought a $20 mixer. Apparently “5 speeds” means “2 speeds: off and SUPER EXTRA FAST”
The cake batter was so thick and creamy. I kinda wanted to curl up inside the pan and eat my way out. Instead, I ate about 3 spoons full. /no shame
The cake batter was so thick and creamy. I kinda wanted to curl up inside the pan and eat my way out. Instead, I ate about 3 spoons full. /no shame
I forgot to buy a wire rack. So I had to buy a cheap roasting pan for its rack. Ah well. Now we can roast chicken!
I forgot to buy a wire rack. So my only option was buy a cheap roasting pan for its rack. Ah well. Now we can roast chicken!

Around 9 PM, I realized both cake pans wouldn’t fit into the oven at the same time. I thought,
“I’ll just bake one at a time.”
“but that will take too long.”
“I can bake one on top of the other!”
“But then one layer will bake faster than the other.”
“But they’ll be done! And I can go to bed!”
“Sold.”

So I baked both layers at the same time, and the layer on the bottom rack, as predicted, baked faster. And maybe too much.

Whoops...
Whoops…

But the other layer turned out great!

Better! And you can spot the caramel that didn't fully melt...
Better! And you can spot the caramel that didn’t fully melt…

The funny part is, I ended up talking to my mom for about an hour while the cakes baked. It took about 25 minutes to cook each layer, so I could have just baked them one at a time, and I would have stayed up the same amount of time. Ah well. My entire life is a rush to get to bed.

The next day, I started the frosting.

Brown sugar and butter will soon be frosting!
Brown sugar and butter will soon be frosting!
DSCF1655
Guess what happened immediately after this photo! If you answered, “Powder sugar bomb because Audrey forgot to fold it into the sauce before she turned the mixer on” you are correct. Your prize: come clean my kitchen.
And then we had frosting!
And then we had frosting! It was yum.
yes plz
My first cake stand! A vintage looking aluminum Jamie Oliver stand that I found on sale for $18. Jamie Oliver is Australia’s Racheal Ray. I can’t escape him.
This looks like a sandwich. And I want to eat it as is.
This looks like a sandwich. And I want to eat it as is.
Crumb layer--best advice ever. You put a layer of frosting on to catch all the loose bits, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then frost it again. The second layer of frosting goes on smoother and looks great.
Crumb layer–best advice ever. You put a layer of frosting on to catch all the loose bits, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and then frost it again. The second layer of frosting goes on smoother and looks great.
While the crumb layer chilled in the fridge, I made the bunting. I cut out triangles of paper, wrote on it with white out, and taped all the triangles to string, because the string was too thick for the small triangles. But it worked like a charm.
While the crumb layer chilled in the fridge, I made the bunting. I cut out triangles of paper, wrote on it with white out, and taped all the triangles to string, because the string was too thick for the small triangles. But it worked like a charm.
finished!
finished!
yuummmm
yuummmm

I just realized that I forgot to sprinkle the cake with flaky sea salt. Sheeew. At least there was sea salt in the frosting.

So there you have it! Baking fun with the almost competent baker.

Give it a whirl!

2 thoughts on “Caramel Cake: Behind the scenes

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