Thursday, June 12, 2008

Baking Up A Burning Ring Of Fire

If one were not a creature or habit... If one didn't prefer round cakes... If one would pause to read the instructions, nay, if one would only pause to think, one would realize that a 13x9 cake mix would have difficulty fiting into a less than 2 inch tall 9 inch cake pan. That one, dear friends, would not be me.

Caramely batter bubbling over and oozing between oven rungs outline my pan on the bottom of the oven. So close to the heat sourse they quickly burn and smoke profusely. Every time I make this cake.

Much panic has been caused by this mistake. Perhaps next time I shall remember to remedy it. The day my sister got married, we dined on the Blue Birds rather famous turtle cake. The day being as it was (wishes for a blog to link to) I didn't get to fully appreciate it, but only remembered the bit I did try longingly. Cool and moist lightly flavored chocolate cake filled, with little pockets of cool slick caramel and... well thats most of what I rememberd. And it was fantastic. And I live 6 hours away or so. Realizing this I knew something had to be done.

Enter wonderful amazing food unmasking skills! Well I dont have those very well developed. I got as far as, "I bet devils food cake..." and "maybe they piped the caramel in?" and was out of ideas. Luckily I stumbled upona recipe in a Betty Crocker mini magazine/cookbook at the checkout. Chocolate turtle cake! And I was right about the devils food cake part!

Basically you whip up some nice caramel sauce about honey consistancy...

1 C sugar
1/4 C water (maybe a lil extra I'm not sure)
1 T corn syrup (because it helps prevent crystals and I'm afraid to mess it up)
1/2 - 1 C cream warmed (depends on the consistancy desired. For this I start at 3/4 C)
vanilla and 2 T butter (cuz why the heck not?!)

Sugar and water (and corn syrup) in a medium saucepan, stir till about dissolved. Let boil (no stirring) for about 7 minutes. About this time the bubbles start looking different than they have been before, and eventually it will start to brown. Swirl the pan to get an even color, I look for a medium amber. I burn it frequently though going to dark and then its all bitter.... Once you get it to the desired color remove it from heat and ad in the hot cream. It will bubble and sputter... and then I stir it with a wisk so it all turns into the right consistancy. I add more cream if its not as thin as I want (note it does thicken while it cools) and add the butter and vanilla and call it good.

Its great on brownies by the way. Warm with some cold thick cream for contrast.... But I digress. For a small round pan I like to use almost this whole recipe, the more the better. So for the actual 9x13 pan I think I'd double it... or make separate batches twice to be safe.

Now for the cake...

1 box -9x13 devils food cake mix with ingredients to prepare (eggs, oil, water)
Caramel sauce (lots and safe some for garnish)
1 C or so - pecans (toasted chopped and maybe some whole for garnish)

Make a 9x13 cake mix to the directions. (One day I will make my own scratch batter and try it out) Pour half of the batter into a prepared cake pan, (parchment and greased for easy removal) and bake for about 20 to 22 minutes. Take it out, pour on the caramel (save some for topping though), sprinkle on some toasted pecans(save some for topping here too) and pour on the rest of the batter. Bake for another 25 minutes. Let it cool for a bit, about 15-20 and then I invert it, drizzle on some extra carmel and top with pecans.

Tasty dang stuff. Caramel saturating the top half gooey and delicious.

Gotta Blog Gotta Blog Gotta Blog Right Now

Shwooo. I'm back. Maybe. For a little bit. And by back I mean that this is the first non required post I've actually completed in a few months. Where have I been you might wonder? A sudden onset of obsessive compulsive gardening for a couple months and then off to the land of lazy. Have a tasty garden a growing complete with heirloom tomatoes, squash and gourmet peppers, and the rest of the usuals. The currant bush planted and 6 wonderful blueberry bushes a starting out.

But I digress. For the last month I’ve just been lazy lazy lazy. Even my few good dinner forays have been neglected, (though photo evidence does exist...). Well today I change... some of this. I break my silence and bake some dinner! That was the plan anyway. Bout an hour to dinner it occurred to me that the dough I had rising was at least 3 hours away from the oven, let alone the 30 minute cooling time. So we had pizza, and here I am at one o’clock finishing the rolls.

Kaiser rolls that is. A wonderful hearty sandwich roll From Peter Reinheart's amazingly detailed and thorough book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I'm going to make some turkey burgers and wanted a bun that tempted the palate in place of the foamy bits they sell at the store.

And as the smoke billows from the oven and I fan the smoke alarm, praying it wont go off as everyone’s in bed, I'm pretty sure they (and the dang chocolate turtle cake that overflowed earlier (hence the smoke)) are/were totally worth it. Just look at em.