The Great British Bake off is over and I am missing the baking delights every week. Having baked along with the series I adored the direction and themes to work within each week. Now I am going to attempt every single Bake Off challenge in order.
When I voiced an issue with not having some direction in bakes, a friend suggested going back to series one and do all the challenges. I loved this idea – as each season has gone on the challenges have become more and more difficult so it will be a great way to slowly build up my skills.
So back to season 1 episode 1 and it is all about cakes! The first challenge was all about creating a signature cake – for me that has to be my caramel cake. I’m a super taster so I have always been fussy with food but my mum’s cakes were always incredible! She taught me how to bake a simple but delicious cake growing up that she uses as the basis for all her amazing cakes.
I love caramel but as someone who doesn’t like chocolate, I would always get frustrated in finding caramel things without chocolate. Using my mum’s cake recipe and a tin of caramel I was able to create an amazing cake topped with smashed toffee and toffee sauce.
Years on and I still love to try making this in some shape or form. I must admit that this version is the best ever – it looked, smelled and tasted incredible. The best thing is that this is an all in one cake mix recipe – that means that you throw all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl – so it is really easy to make.
The cake and buttercream icing might be easy but making the caramel shard topping did prove more difficult and resulted in a second degree burn on my right hand. If you try to make caramel do be careful – I managed to burn my finger after forgetting I’d left a spoon filled with molten sugar on the side. Caramel can be amazing and scary to make so I suggest trying a caramel sauce (where you add in cream) before experimenting with shaping raw molten sugar. You can find out how to make an amazing caramel sauce that I used in my carmelitas recipe.
To make this cake you will need the following:
- 200g self raising flour
- 275g unsalted butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 tin of 397g caramel (or 1 portion of caramel sauce)
- 150g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp of milk
- 200g granulated sugar
- 50g water
Before you start, preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Next you will need to make the cake mix – in a bowl put 200g of flour, 200g unsalted butter, 200g caster sugar, 1 tbsp of golden syrup, and 2 eggs. Mix it up until you get a really nice even texture. Add half the caramel sauce to the cake mix until the colour is consistent throughout.
Now I am lucky that I have a really nice silicon cake tin so I don’t really have to do any prep but if you use a metal one you will need to butter and line your tin to make sure you can remove your cake once baked.
Once your tin is ready pour in your cake mix; make sure it is evenly spread and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Check your cake by putting a knife into the cake; if it comes out with residue stuck to it, put your cake back in the oven otherwise take it out.
While you let your cake cool you can make the buttercream icing and caramel shard topping. Start with the buttercream by mixing 75g of butter, 1 tbsp of milk and 150g of icing sugar until thoroughly mixed together. At this point add 1/4 of the caramel sauce and mix again till it is the same colour throughout.
To make the caramel shards I first prep everything – you won’t have enough time if you try to once you start melting the sugar. You basically need to be able to put the molten caramel onto something that you can easily take it off – I have a silicon sheet that I used for this as well as wrapping up a wooden rolling pin in cling film.
Mix 200g of granulated sugar with 50ml of water so that there is no visible sugar remaining. Put the sugar water on a medium heat letting it bubble and slowly turn amber. I have found that using a pan with a white colour inside makes it much easier as you can see what colour the sugar is compared to my normal Teflon coated pans. Occasionally I would swish the pan to make sure that all of the sugar was being heated but do not stir once on the heat.
As the mixture become amber you can start to make your shapes. This was the first time that I tried using caramel like this so I tried using silicon molds, flicking sugar back and forth over a rolling pin or hand drawing shapes. Do be careful – this is the point that I badly burned my finger – molten sugar stays extremely hot for a long time and metal tools that you use can become hot over time so have plenty of each type handy.
By the time time you have managed to do all of this, the cake should be cool enough to finish. Cut the cake evenly in half. On the bottom half evenly spread the last 1/4 of caramel sauce and on the top half spread half the buttercream; then carefully place the top half of the cake on to the bottom half.
Use the remaining buttercream to coat the top of the cake evenly – if the cake is still hot the buttercream icing will slowly melt and drop off so make sure it is fully cooled. Decorate your cake with your caramel shards and shapes then serve.
This for me has been a great start to this challenge and I can’t wait now to try my hand at the rest of the challenges. Some of the later challenges might be a bit scary but it will be a great way to push my skills as I dive into the world of baking.
So what did you think about my caramel cake? Will you try making it? What would your signature cake be? Have you made caramel before? I would love to hear from you so make sure that you leave a comment below!