Sara and I have dabbled in posts about our dads before (like here, here, and here), but, in light of Father’s Day being this coming Sunday, we thought we’d dedicate a whole week to recipes that remind us of our dads. Oh, by the way, Dad, happy Father’s Day! I’m a little behind on my shopping… :)
It seems like no matter what other kinds of cake my dad may like, if it’s a birthday or any kind of special celebration just for him, he wants a caramel cake. The thing is that it’s not really a caramel cake–it’s a yellow cake with penuche “icing”–and I put that in quotation marks because the icing is really just a layer of caramel candy similar in texture to fudge. Sounds evil, right? Fudge-coated cake? Yeah, it is. More about that evil icing in a minute…
So I’ve kind of decided that when it comes to yellow and white cakes, I am completely at peace with doctoring up cake mixes. In fact…I kind of think they taste better than just about any homemade yellow or white cakes I’ve ever had. I know that will cause some of you to gasp in disbelief and maybe unsubscribe from our blog because of the un-foodiness of that statement, but it’s the truth, and if that truth also makes my life a little less complicated, I am ALL for it.
So for this cake, I start off with a Duncan Hines yellow cake mix (not an advertisement, I totally swear up and down by Duncan Hines cake mixes only) and doctor it up with sour cream, eggs, oil, butter flavoring, almond extract, and vanilla.
Now…in virtually any picture you see of a caramel cake, it will be a round layer cake. Up until I made the cake for these pictures, I’ve always made the cake in a 9×13″ pan because the candy frosting is so dense and heavy that it is difficult to ice the cake while a) not wrecking it and b) the frosting looking like a hot mess. Foolishly thinking myself a better cake decorator than I actually am, I decided to attempt the round cake. Suffice it to say there is a reason that I have carefully selected one side of the cake to photograph. In fact, my husband very cautiously asked me if I was going to put pictures of that cake on the blog. Yes, once we sliced the cake, the pieces looked very impressive and yes, that one side was so pretty sitting on the cake stand, but let me just tell you that for your own sanity, I strongly encourage you to suck up your pride and just make the cake in the 9×13 pan. So what do we not do?
That stuff on the left side is dark brown sugar (that was actually for emphasis, not just to be cute here; light brown sugar doesn’t have enough of a bite to cut the sweetness of the frosting). Everything else in the picture can only bring happiness–butter, whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. After you’ve made your icing, you spread it over your cake and then add some chopped, toasted pecans. I know nuts in and on cake is a fairly controversial topic, right up there with government-run health care and whether Jon or Kate Gosselin is at fault for the public falling-apart of their marriage, and normally, I’m not a huge nut fan. But I really, really, really recommend them on this cake. That that for what it’s worth.