“Let them eat cake.”
Marie Antoinette
With the holidays upon us, the wonderful & rapidly expanding group of Daring Bakers, after 2 months of going savoury, have brought sugar back to the party…& HOW!! This months challenge is a signature Caramel Cake courtesy Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater. Our hosts this month are Dolores @ Culinary Cusiosity, Alex, ie Brownie of the duo @ Blondie & Brownie , & Jenny of Foray into Food.
There was an additional ‘optional‘ challenge too, guaranteed to keep us on a constant sugar high…Alice Medrich’s Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels, with LOTS of variation. I did just the caramel cake, & that was sweet enough for the moment. Having said that, I love Alice Medrich’s recipes & plan on trying those caramels one day! For the time being, I am peeling sugar high kids who are bouncing off walls & ceilings…HIGH!!!
CARAMEL you are so sweet… …caramel in German is Karamel…caramel in Spanish is caramelo…& caramel in Swedish is kola!

It was a bit of an uphill drive to get to the challenge this time. So far I’ve just missed 1 challenge, the Opera Cake one, & this was almost also given a pass. I have Dharm @ Dad, Baker & Chef (add humourist, writer, entertainer, 007 on a mission…& much more), my DB mentor, to thank entirely. He completed the challenge is record time & mailed me the same evening, encouraging me to have a go at the challenge . Am glad you did Dharm, coz I’d made up my mind to skip it. Thanks too for the sweet sugar advice….despite my knocking off a sizeable amount of sugar, the cake & frosting was still quite sweet.
You see, we were off to Sydney, & there the daughter fell it, was hospitalised etc, & by the time we got back, it was back to doctors, blood tests…& laundry!! Ho hum…cannot escape the mundanities of life. No pile of ironing though, ha ha Nic, coz that’s taken care of by a guy who comes & takes a daily bunch to iron out. He returns a neat bundle every evening & I can’t complain!! So this morning (27th Nov), much too late by my standards, I hit the kitchen counter with the butter, only to find, part 1 was to make a caramel. Even though I began quite skeptically, I was mighty pleased with the syrup I MADE!! What fun…& it tasted great too. Cake made…I put it away. Enough work for today. Will brown the butter tomorrow because the whole of today has gone following TV footage about the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai. Heart-breaking & full of horror in every way, I dedicate this post to the innocent people who lost their lives to the senseless violence & deadly madness in Mumbai. The toll as of now 156 & counting; among them 4 top chefs at the Taj. RIP…hopefully peace will prevail one day.
Recipe Source: Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater, as published on Bay Area Bites
(My changes in brackets alongside in italics)
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F
Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
Sift flour and baking powder.
Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}
Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.
Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.CARAMEL SYRUP
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}
Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin. CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted (1/2 pound; 200gms)
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.
Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light
I topped the frosting on the cake with shards of coloured melted sugar. I remember seeing something this on a blog post, I think at Tartlettes on a Cashew Cake. Searched Helen’s blog high & low but couldn’t find the post. With the little memory I have remaining, I got to these shards made in a couple of attempts. I just put some sugar granules on a foil (greased) lined cookie sheet, in a medium oven, & watched closely till the sugar melted. Quickly dropped a few drops of food colour, swirled it & let is harden. Then I broke bits off & stuck them into the icing. For the edges, I used some hardened shards of caramel (which became too thick the first time around).
Do stop by HERE & check out all the holiday sweetness being served by other Daring Bakers around the world.Thank you for hosting the challenge Dolores, Alex & Jenny. I really enjoyed it.

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


  1. Aparna says:

    Your cake looks good, as usual. The coloured caramel decorations are lovely. I remeber seeing them somewhere too.
    Hope your daughter is better now, Deeba.
    Yes, the situation in Mumbai has been horrifying, and its not yet over.

  2. anudivya says:

    The sugar shards are so pretty! I made them once with just plain sugar. This is so much prettier.

  3. Beautiful post. Continue to focus on the plentiful.

  4. Curry Leaf says:


  5. Wow this cake is fantastic with the sweet decoration !

  6. noble pig says:

    The colored sugar is over the top, so, so beautiful…and the cake is to die for, wow.

  7. MeetaK says:

    Bakers extraordinaire. If you could not pull this off then no one could! Looks great Deeba!

  8. Beatiful cake and I love the way you had decorated it with the the caramel sugar.

  9. A sweet masterpiece! I always admire your decoration skills. I don’t have them.

  10. marion says:

    great great great job ! especially the topping ! you’re an artist :)
    I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do in december 😉

  11. Shaheen @ Ambrosia says:

    You’t weren’t the only one doing some last minute baking. I just made them this morning. They we so easy to make. Good thin was that I had prepared the syrup a few days ago.

  12. Deeba thankyou but no , i’m not geting married ( I already am married) Its about a book that has been published ( it came out yesterday) and is on line for sale . We’re a group of friends who belong to a forum (” LA ROSA GIALLA”), including myself who gave our recipes with photos and not only to put in this book. Its taken 4 months of hard work to put together this book and finaly yesterday it came out!

  13. Marija says:

    Deeba, caramel decorations are amazing! Pure art! Beautiful cake and photos too.

  14. Turned out wonderful deeba and great job on the decorations!

  15. arundati says:

    lovely cake deeba….the coloured sugar caramel decorations are beautiful….am going to try them out too soon! thanks for the help today…am done with the challenge…posting soon!!

  16. HoneyB says:

    Beautiful cake! Circumstances made my making this cake impossible this month. It looks so delicious that I believe when I can I need to try it!

  17. DEESHA says:

    looks sooper delicious

  18. Sunshinemom says:

    Lovely cake! Multicolored caramel looks beautiful.

  19. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Glad you did not end up skipping this one – your cake looks great!

  20. Cynthia says:

    It is the shards of coloured melted sugar that draws me in.

  21. Yasmeen says:

    Gorgeous cake,I admire your creativity with the toppings:)

  22. Dhanggit says:

    its good to be back!! Feels great to arrive on the right time, i wouldnt miss on earth this caramel cake of yours!! love the shots of the caramel! kisses :-)

  23. meeso says:

    Gorgeous cake, I love the topping!

  24. Bellini Valli says:

    Many things Deeba. Your cake looks amazing firstly!!!! I am in awe how you finished the challenge with all of lifes challenges thrown in your way. I hope your daughter is fully recovered by now:D I am also saddened by the news from India. We hear in Canada about Canadians killed and Canadians held hostage but I know there are many countries involved in this tragedy but especially India.My heart goes out to everyone. When will it stop!!!!

  25. Medhaa says:

    cake looks lovely, I love your decorations.

  26. Proud Italian Cook says:

    Deeba, first off, what a scary ordeal with your daughter! Sounds like her recovery is going well though, thank goodness! Secondly, the news in India is so sad. Innocent people! Such cowards the terrorists are! There are some local Americans who are arriving safely as I write this after 48 hours of hidding out in their hotel room, and sadly, their were so many that were less fortunate.
    And finally, how could YOU ever doubt yourself baking anything???
    Everything you bake shows just how “passionate” you are!!!
    p.s. Can you see my photo’s yet? I have no clue why that would happen!

  27. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    Beautiful cake, Deeba. I hope your daughter is OK. My thoughts too are with the victims of the senseless tragedy in Mumbai.

  28. Best wishes to your daughter – your cake is beautiful, I love the colored sugar decorations!

  29. I love the picures of your whisk with the caramel drippings stuck on.

  30. nikkita says:

    Wow your photography is so comforting..that rustic, homey feel is so inviting! I’d like a slice of that cake as well thank you 😀

  31. culinography says:

    OMG what a fantastically beautiful cake! Lovely! And gorgeous photos!

  32. Goodness me, aren’t you a real artistic one. Very beautiful cake, Deeba. Love all of those sugar decoration!

  33. myfoodsafari says:

    Your cake is beautifully decorated. Does not look like a last minute cake at all.

  34. Your cake is stunning Deeba and love those caramel decorations on top. It was really sad to hear the news about the massacre in Mumbai. A Cypriot (with English passport) was also murdered. It’s so sad to hear such news.

  35. As always, you did a superb job of the challenge. I have to agree about the sweetness but really not a difficult challenge. Maybe I shouldn’t type that so loud.

    On another note, the whole world is in shock over the tragedy in Mombai. So senseless. We lost 2 Canadians so although on a much lesser scale, we’re mourning with you in this loss. I’m just not even sure what’s happened to our world.

  36. Cynthia says:

    those are some snazzy caramel shards! nice!

    and yes, what happened in mumbai is just tragic. we’ve lost one of our own too. i just wish pple will see that violence should not be used to solve a problem.

  37. Cakelaw says:

    Beautiful cake Deeba – I am glad that Dharm encouraged you to have a go. I saw the beautiful stained glass toffee on Helen’s blog too, and I printed it out to try when the occasion suits – it looks equally gorgeous here. Sorry to hear about your daughter – hope she is recovered now.

  38. i’d definitely go HIGH on this one considering how sensitive i am to sugar. i’d be bouncing off the walls, giggling like a mad fool and red as a lobster!!! :) love the coloured melted sugar and gosh, who can say ‘no’ to caramel. x

  39. Dana McCauley says:

    You certainly show off the wonderful photogenic qualities of caramel with your photos – great work!

  40. Gloria says:

    Deeba, This is ….AMAZING and beauty!!!! Look so nice.xxxHuggssGloria

    PD Im very sad about Bunbay situation.

  41. Lorraine E says:

    Deeba, your cake looks AMAZING! I love all of the photos of the cake and also the closeup of the whisk. The technicolour toffee looks spectacular. I better up my game after seeing this! :)

  42. my food affair says:

    what a trooper you are to make the cake with all that is going on! your cake came out beautifully, as expected! =P great job!

  43. Raaga says:

    It looks so pretty. I hope your daughter gets well real soon.

  44. Clumbsy Cookie says:

    Hope your daughter feels better now. Your cake is stunning, brautiful caramel decoration. Yes, let all hope for peace.

  45. Manggy says:

    You already know how I feel about the attacks… So much sadder that the death toll is climbing still.

    The cake is beautiful, Deeba… Congratulations on being successful in all the new techniques you tried. I hope you’ve caught up with chores, etc :)

  46. Astra Libris says:

    Your caramel cake is so exceptionally beautiful! I love the colors!!

  47. glamah16 says:

    Gorgeous! One day I have to try Tartlettes stained glass ttechnique. I now how to go to the store to replace my sugar supply.

  48. Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats says:

    Your cake is exquisite! Beautiful form and I love the colored sugar shards.

    On your dedication, I am grieving with you and all the suffering people in Mumbai. It is so tragic.

  49. CookiePie says:

    Beautiful cake!!

  50. your pictures are just lovely and your cake looks wonderful! the world can be a shocking place sometimes….

  51. I am in awe of the colored sugar. Seriously, so beautiful. I am also horrified at what happened in Mumbai. My heart goes out to the families of all the innocents who lost their lives in this senseless violence of some people’s perverted ideas of religion.

  52. Arfi Binsted says:

    The colored caramel is just beautiful. I bet the kids love it!

  53. Katie says:

    What a beautiful cake!

  54. Mike of Mike's Table says:

    That cake is a beauty and the caramel decorations on top are a great flourish.

    As for the tragedy in Mumbai, I couldn’t believe it myself. :-/

  55. This beautiful cake is the stuff legends are made of! Wow & wow! The tragedy in Mumbai is horrible & will need all of our compassion & sharing hearts & prayers in these next few weeks. So sad, such a beautiful tribute you have graciously given.

  56. Navita says:

    I am so dissaponited Deeba…u stopped over at Hong Kong and didn’t meet me…would’ve loved to meet u in person !! (even if we don’t know each other for long) :-(
    Btw lovely embellishments on the cake.
    And yes hows your daughter doing now?

  57. Navita says:

    Hey Deeba, m one of ur followers now! :)

  58. Purnima says:

    Deeba, sorry am here pretty late..still numb frm the news relayed frm my city! How tragic n what the victims underwent through, not knowing whether they wd come out alive, looking at blood soaked bodies, fire, no food in rooms! Peace be to their souls…rightfully dedicated post!
    Loved what u did with sugar n color, its a stained glass type beauty! The cake n icing soooo perfect! Glamorous as usual!!
    Hope ur gal is fit n fine now!

  59. morgana says:

    What a beautiful cake! I love how it looks. The coloured caramel is really original.

  60. Great Job my friend! Hope all is well with you especially with the situation in Mumbai. Its terrible how everyone everywhere is fighting. Why cant we just all be friends….

  61. Your cake is stunning! Gorgeous photos, as usual. :) I hope your daughter is feeling better!

  62. NOT SO VANILLA says:

    your cake looks SOOOOO good. I love the colour aspect!!!!!

  63. Natalie... says:

    Wow your caramel cake looks divine, such an excellent job. So light and fluffy!

  64. Happy cook says:

    Beautiful and delicious and always.
    I love that decorations.

  65. Rosie says:

    Absolutely stunning Deeba!! Your piping is gorgeous and I adore the shards on the cake.

    Rosie x

  66. Maria says:

    Love your cake!

  67. Bunny says:

    Your caramel cake is BEAUTIFUL!! I love your topper!

  68. Nina Timm says:

    This post looks like hard work to me!!! Amazing end result though! I like the multi-colored caramel!

  69. Sandra Avital says:

    Your cake is gorgeous and the caramel shards are so beautiful! Great job!

  70. Sandra Avital says:

    Your cake is gorgeous and the caramel shards are so beautiful! Great job!

  71. joanna says:

    your cake is so lovely!!! i love the colorful sugar on top. it really gives the cake an edge.

  72. Alexa says:

    Beautiful job on the DB challenge–It looks gorgeous!

  73. inland empire restaurant and food reviews says:

    Looks and sounds delicious!!!

  74. Chandani says:

    You have such an amazing blog..just stumbled upon it today and I can’t stop looking at all the different cakes, cookies, etc you have made:) stunning work!!!

  75. Ruth E says:

    What a beautiful cake!!! I love that you decorated with colour.

  76. Núria says:

    Deeba you are brilliant!!! I absolutely love those colored caramel sticks 😀 😀 :D. Your presentation is so beautiful and there’s not a single picture I don’t like!!! Great job!

  77. Dolores says:

    I hope you’ve pulled your sugared up children off the ceiling by now. :) I’m glad Dharm coached you through our challenge — I LOVE your artistic caramel-dripped-whisk photographs. Thanks for baking with us in November.

  78. Mark by Chocolate says:

    Marie never said that and though yes she did play peasant at Versailles, she wasn’t that self centered. Anyway, one of us was on a sugar high, as I read your blog post and it may be both of us. 😉

    You can thread your caramel even thinner over the cake. I do this great plated dessert with a sugar basket. Same diff. Nice pictures.

  79. Nachiketa says:

    This looks wonderful…..
    Made this cake, finally got the post out of my workshop….

    Made it twice, the first time round with a creamy caramel icing…. Caramel for the Carmella ~ Dipali’s Anniversary @ The Log Hut

    Next time with the butter frosting…. Ahhhhh… Pure SIN it was…. totally yummy…. Nikhil N Moms Surprise Birthday Party

    Next time will try the cool decoration you’ve done….

    The Variable – Nachiketa

  80. hey deeba u r just great person:)hats off to u

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