For the Fourth of July, I decided that I couldn't just bake some brownies (even if they were Supernatural Brownies) for a dessert, I needed to also offer something non-chocolate. Totally not my specialty - in fact, I know of very few desserts that I like that are not chocolate-y. Anyway, I dug out several cookbooks, and ultimately found a recipe for Buttermilk Caramel Cake that sounded appealing and not too difficult, a big plus. The cake turned out so awesome that my dog stole a few bites of it even, while we weren't looking. When we discovered that, we called the vet to make sure that it wasn't going to hurt him, so other than being ridiculously hyper from a sugar rush, Dog survived just fine. Phew. So, without any further adieu, here's the recipe!
Buttermilk Caramel Cake
from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. For the Cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Crease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the vanilla.
3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk. Beat in the remaining flour until just incorporated.
4. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it's thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
5. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, about 2 hours. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake and flip the cake out onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, then flip the cake right side up on to a serving platter.
6. For the frosting: Bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is foamy, 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the milk, return the mixture to a brief boil, then remove from the heat. Stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla with a wooden spoon and beat the frosting until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Spread the warm frosting evenly over the surface of the cooled cake and let set, about 25 minutes, before serving.
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