Monday, August 31, 2009
I need to take a minute to capture what has happened in the month of August. Pretty much a mixture of all feelings: sadness, relief, excitement, and curiosity. Of all, curiosity is the big word of August - it shows that I, as the rest of the residents in this universe, have interest in other human beings and desire to comprehend new behaviors or find new truths.
Relief marks the final moment when C came to clear his stuff from my residence and formally closed our chapter once and for all. Apparently it is necessary to take a note - for this thing was annoying and for a second shook my core understanding of him as a good person - before he left he was asking for another chance and upon my refusal he conveniently made threats out of frustration. Threats!
Sadness speaks for the curious bag, P. No matter how much changes he has convinced me to believe that he is now entirely a new person with new career, new house, new car, new personality, and new view of life. He simply failed to make me see one fundamental change: sincerity! It is maybe that fundamental and lies underneath the deep deep sea of conscience that no change can ever reach it. The very last of a few phone calls he made following the "curious bag" dinner was on the occasion to invite me for a family farewell dinner with his sister who was scheduled to leave for a happy new life in Germany the next morning. Was I assumingly flattered to be part of such warm intimate connection? No, the invitation call was made from his car during a rainy caught-up-in-traffic-jam situation.... about an hour before the dinner! And my rejection was simply natural because as anybody else in this busy universe, I had plan - no matter how trivial it was. It was simply unacceptable to expect someone to go for a family gathering that means meeting anyone and everyone in the family without a prior mental reservation. Period.
Excitement came along with the belief that “Life is always up and down”. T brought about an up and officially flushed the gloominess away. As short as the time we got to know each other is, I am telling myself to flow with it and breathe in any happiness I will experience along the way. New problems are bound to arise while I won’t know where this is going. Uncertainty is certain. Everything is too soon to put any meaning to it. So for now getting to know him is exciting.
And last, curiosity is the urge to finally get some answers to the things that have taken place and predict what will happen next (I could never stop my mind from making these predictions no matter how bad my predicting skill is…… as similar as saying.. I live therefore I predict :-))
Being curious for a long time, I took the step of baking Caramel Cake following Tartalette’s post. Went through every single step of it as closely as I possible can. My curiosity made this cake happen and left me to understand: the caramelized butter frosting is delicious but extremely sweet!
CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
Posted by Tartalette, a courtesy of Shuna of Eggbeater.
Makes a 9 inch cake.
1. Caramel Syrup
- Sugar > 2 cups
- Water > 1/2 cup
- Water - for "stopping" the caramelization process > 1 cup
- 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).
2. Caramel Cake
- Unsalted butter at room temperature > 10 tablespoons
- Granulated sugar > 1 1/4 cups
- Kosher salt > 1/2 teaspoon
- Caramel Syrup > 1/3 cup
- Eggs - at room temperature > 2
- Vanilla extract > a splash
- All purpose flour > 2 cups
- Baking powder > 1/2 teaspoon
- Milk - at room temperature > 1 cup
- 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.
3. Caramelized Butter Frosting
- Unsalted butter > 12 tablespoons
- Confectioner’s sugar - sift > 1 pound
- Heavy cream > 4-6 tablespoons
- Vanilla extract > 2 teaspoons
- Caramel syrup > 2-4 tablespoons
- 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.
- Cut caramel cake into 2 layers.
- Sandwich cake layers and cover the overall cake with caramelized butter frosting.
- Fit a plain nozzle into a piping bag, pipe out frosting into a desired pattern on the cake.
- Decorate with cherries, chocolate balls and sugar decoration.