Sunday, January 27, 2013

Caramelized Sugar Cake, Regular or Gluten Free

The other day I was making cupcakes to decorate with Super Bowl contestant logos. I wanted to make a cake I hadn't made in ages, called Caramelized Sugar Cake. It is a scrumptious recipe, for sure. I made part of the recipe into cupcakes, and the rest I poured into an 8-inch cake pan and made one layer. I cut the layer in half and iced it prettily. It was as delicious as I remembered. The cake requires first taking the time to caramelize the sugar, then add boiling water and cook it down to a syrup. A little tedious, but no big deal really. 

Caramelized Sugar Cake

Caramelized Sugar Cake
Caramelized Sugar Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing
Makes one (2-layer) cake, or one (13 x 9) pan

½ cup shortening
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2½ cups cake flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
3 tablespoons Caramelized Sugar Syrup (recipe below)

Cream shortening and sugar till light. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture alternatively with the water, beating smooth after each addition. Add the sugar syrup and beat thoroughly for 4 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer.

Bake in 2 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup boiling water

Melt (caramelize) the sugar in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly. When a deep golden brown, remove from heat and SLOWLY add the boiling water. It will splutter alarmingly - keep your distance. Back on heat, stir constantly until all dissolved. Recuce to about ½ cup. Cool. This is enough syrup for both this cake and some left to make a caramel flavored frosting.

NOTES: This recipe can be made substituting your favorite gluten-free flour mixture for the wheat flour. Add 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum and one extra egg yolk to the recipe.

These days though, most times I make a cake I am also curious how it would turn out if gluten-free? I am not gluten-intolerant (that I know of), but have friends who are, and I am always on the lookout for recipes that turn out well if made with gluten-free flours. I do use xanthan gum in the recipes, though I am now hearing that some have difficulty with that ingredient, also. If so, I will say this cake comes out great with the xanthan gum added, so if you have a substitute that has worked for you, go for it and make that substitution.

Today I got up with the intent of trying this recipe with a gluten free flour mix. I have used Namaste Flour blend for other cakes before, with perfect results. Today I had my own mix on hand: 

GF All-Purpose Flour
Caramelized Sugar Cake, gluten-free flour

6 cups of brown rice flour
2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch

Combine thoroughly in a tightly sealed container.

I felt the batter seemed just a little bit too loose, so I added in an extra egg yolk. The cake came out great. More fluffy of texture than the one made with all purpose flour a few days ago, but equally delicious. I don't believe anyone who didn't know, would ever guess this cake was gluten free.

I made a coconut pecan filling to put between the layers, and used up the rest of the icing from the other day as the topping. This is incredibly good cake made either way, so I really encourage you all to give it a try.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.