I wanted to make a nice cake for my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, so I started flipping through my old cookbooks, of course, to find something that sounded good. What I found was Caramel Cream Cake, which you have to admit sounds AMAZING!! The book doesn’t show a picture of the finished cake, but you can picture it, can’t you? Delicate layers of tender cake separated by a creamy filling, and topped with mouth-watering caramel frosting…. Yum!! It was a no-brainer. I’d found the cake to make.
The recipe looks pretty straightforward, too. No odd ingredients, which is always a bonus. The cake went together quickly and easily, but without eggs, when it came out of the oven it was not as light and tender as some cakes, but was still quite nice, and smelled divine.
The filling was a sweet and a little bland. I’ve wondered if using brown sugar would have made it a bit more caramelly, but look at that icing! Basically just a brown sugar fudge spread over the cake! So clearly more caramel flavour won’t make much difference either way.
The frosting…. oh…. the frosting….. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve made fudge, though I’ve generally had success with it. I used a candy thermometer for increased accuracy, but it went wrong somewhere along the line. After a few minutes of beating, it started to seize and that was the end of my hopes for a lovely, spreadable icing and an attractive cake. I briefly considered re-boiling it and hoping better results second time round, but was running out of time, and I’m quite the optimist. It MIGHT still spread.
It didn’t. It ended up as a crumbly layer all over the cake, which I packed tightly to keep it in place. Not pretty, but still yummy. And yummy is the most important factor for a cake. Don’t let those baking show people tell you otherwise. I pondered my finished cake, which embarrassingly enough, isn’t the ugliest cake I’ve ever made. I needed something to hold all the fudgy crumbs in place, and what goes better with caramel than chocolate! I melted some chocolate with a wee bit of butter and a few drops of cream, and poured it over the cake and left it to set. Mmmmmm….
The end result didn’t look too bad! When dinner was over, my other half went to cut the cake with a cake server, but I quickly stopped him. We needed to use a proper knife so I could have pretty pictures of neat slices for my blog! I took a knife and applied light pressure to the top of my cake…. and a bit more pressure…..
Well, I did manage to get through the double layer of chocolate and caramel icing that had set near the consistency of cement, but it sure didn’t look pretty! The whole top cracked, and the resulting slices came out more as a pile of chunks than slices. But it sure did taste good. Rather too sweet for my taste, but still good. I’m not sure that I’d do it again, but I’m not sorry I made it.
While people universally made fun of my cake, it was agreed that it tasted good. If anyone manages to make the caramel frosting turn out, let me know, and I’d love to see pictures!
McClary’s Household Manual was published by The McClary Manufacturing Co in Ontario, Canada, in 1923. My copy is stamped with “Compliments of Humes Hardware, Oak River, Man(itoba)” on the front cover. And for those of you pondering the three weeks between Canadian Thanksgiving and now…. well…I’m good at procrastinating!