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Daring Bakers, Caramel Cake and Soft Grand Marnier Caramels


I can hardly believe that the Daring Bakers are already two years old and that next month will be my own two year anniversary with the group. I can hardly believe that it went from Lisa emailing me with "hey there are four of us making biscotti, are you interested?" to "hey should we have a name?" to a full blown multi national group of bakers of all ages and all levels. We may all see the challenges differently but it does not matter as long there is a good dose of butter, sugar, flour! I am learning so much about others, the way they approach recipes and ideas as well as their cultures. Cheers to two years Daring Bakers and to many more!

I love when things come full circle or half circle or when there is a little something somewhere, a little detail that makes sense to me or/and others. It did this month in the sweetest way (pun completely intended), when Dolores from Culinary Curiosity , along with Alex from Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food chose Shuna’s Caramel Cake as our November Challenge. When I first started reading food blogs, I tuned in to Shuna’s Eggbeater almost everyday. It took me forever and a day to leave a comment as every time I finished her last sentence I felt so inadequate posting a simple "Wonderful post". She has right the words to describe our industry, about being a chef, a woman, a human being wearing her heart upon her sleeve. I laugh, I cry, I shake my head "yes" and when she announced she was moving to London I was so thrilled for her…following what’s next and embracing all the unknowns that go with it.


So yes…making Shuna’s Caramel Cake on the Daring Bakers' two year anniversary was one of those little details that mean a lot to me…like paying it forward in some way. And if you have been reading this blog for a little while you know how much I like playing with hot sugar (…blue caramel plate anyone?). Yep, I liked the idea from the get go, especially with a frosting that starts with browned butter. The smell in the house was enough to make you want someone would bottle it up in a perfume! The cake was easy to make and we all (us and the neighbors) loved its texture, and at first the frosting was a little too sweet to me but I did add some fleur de sel which really enhanced its flavor on the second day. Ah! The pleasure of biting into little salt crystals at the same time as biting into that sweet caramel frosting…hmmhmmhmm.

Given that we were given a lot of leeway in the making of the cake, I went ahead and made 4 small cakes instead of one. Granted I love caramel and salt but I also love caramel and citrus so I did add some grated lemon zest to the cake batter and as previously mentionned some fleur de sel to the frosting. I thought I would not have time to make the extra recipe for caramels but I needed to stand and move around after Thanksgiving dinner last night and I went ahead and did Grand Marnier caramels (citrus again) that I wrapped in waxed paper and boxed up in little Christmas tins for gift giving (except half of them are already gone…oops!). From turkey low to sugar high, I think we have all the compenents of a perfect holiday season!
For the decoration, there was a bunch of kids eating with us so I kept it simple but did sneak in some "bubble caramel", a caramel technique that makes me giggle everytime I use it, (and the kids too) although be careful as you "play" with pouring hot sugar syrup over alcohol to create the bubble effect.

Thank you Lisa and Ivonne once more and our wonderful hostesses! Check out the rest of the Daring Bakers and their fantabulastic creations here.


Caramel Cake With Caramelized Butter Frosting, courtesy of Shuna:

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
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.}

Caramelized Butter Frosting:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
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.

Bubble Caramel:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
3 tablespoon (45 ml water)
1 tablespoon (15 gr) corn syrup
rubbing alcohol (I use a spray bottle)

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring them to a boil. Monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer and bring the mixture to 300F. While the caramel is reaching its desired temperature, take a sheet of parchment paper and crinkle it between your hands then flatten it out a bit. This will help with the forming of the bubbles. Spray rubbing alcohol on the parchement paper right before the caramel reach its temperature (don’t do it ahead of time or it will be dry when you are ready to pour). When the caramel is ready, slowly pour it over the parchment paper and watch the bubble form. You can lift the paper carefully to spread it around the surface if needed but watch out! I do this over a large sheetpan so all is required for clean up is hot water. Let cool completely before breaking into shards. This is more a deco than an edible piece of caramel given the alcohol used. I guess one could use a high percentage clear alcohol (maybe my uncle’s moonshine that cleans the bottoms of coffee cups!) but I haven’t tried it that way yet.

Homemade Grand Marnier Caramels

Grand Marnier Caramels, adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert.

Makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels
Note: the original recipe calls for Golden Syrup but I wanted to finish the corn syrup I had so I subsituted one invert sugar for another one without a problem.

1 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Grand Marnier extract. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

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Leacayoungart November 29, 2008 um 7:40 am

I would have never thought of putting caramel and citrus together. Looks yummy!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 7:51 am

Ils sont trop, trop mignons tes petits cakes…et les caramels aussi

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 7:51 am

Wonderful, Helen! As always!

zorra November 29, 2008 um 7:54 am

I did mini-cakes too, but mine look never so beautiful as yours. 😉

Marian November 29, 2008 um 8:20 am

¡¡excelente …magnífico ….¡¡

Garrett November 29, 2008 um 8:29 am

Magnificent as usual. It’s always great to see how gorgeous your dishes come out. It gives a lot of us something to aspire to =)

Y November 29, 2008 um 8:42 am

Great cakes, Helen! I love the idea of mini cakes. Really must get myself those small tins some time 🙂

Meeta K. Wolff November 29, 2008 um 8:50 am

Ha! I considered the caramel and lemon combo for just a second – in the end I decided to leave in 100% caramel. As always – your cakes are beauties!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 9:01 am

raaaaaaaaaah lovely 🙂
as always !
It’s always a pleasure to come here, thank you

The Cherub's Craft Blog November 29, 2008 um 9:02 am

Just divine Helen. Would like to know what temp you cooked your caramels too, they look nice and firm 🙂

Christy November 29, 2008 um 9:04 am

I agree with Y on the mini cakes. I need to get them soon so I can try a couple of variation for challenges like these.

Beautiful cake, and I love the packaging for the caramels!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums November 29, 2008 um 9:17 am

Such pretty cakes and perfect caramels! Wonderful, as always!



Karen Baking Soda November 29, 2008 um 9:21 am

Oh yes, pairing my favourite flavours resulting in Grand Marnier soft caramels.. swoon!!
Your cakes look adorable, yes again for the addition of tangy citrus!

Jessica November 29, 2008 um 9:46 am

Helen, your cakes look beautiful! I can’t wait to try making the caramels myself.

nikkita November 29, 2008 um 10:38 am

Wheee~ Helen! Im on a sugar rush tour thanks to this cake, and now just stopping by to say that your cakes are stunning!

Fee ist mein Name November 29, 2008 um 11:13 am

oh, i already have a tin in variable size, but i never thought of baking a mini-cake! maybe i should…

Cannelle Et Vanille November 29, 2008 um 11:21 am

You went all out making both recipes. B must have been in heaven, in caramel heaven! Looks gorgeous!

Lot-O-Choc November 29, 2008 um 12:09 pm

Ooh wow this looks so good! Your cake is beautiful and I bet the caramels were delicious, I didnt get to make them :(.

Connie November 29, 2008 um 12:16 pm

as always the cake turned out beautifully. that bubble caramel sounds so cool, it looks so cool too.

Marija November 29, 2008 um 12:19 pm

Such cute little cakes!

Sherry Trifle – Lovely Cats November 29, 2008 um 12:28 pm

Just gorgeous! Would really love to get the method for the Bubble caramel decoration.

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 12:45 pm

Gorgeous! as always :-).

I had the same thing in mind and used some orange zest for the caramel syrup!

LizNoVeggieGirl November 29, 2008 um 1:07 pm

Oh Helen, you always produce the BEST Daring Bakers Challenge desserts (and any & all desserts) – I'm awestruck!!

Mary November 29, 2008 um 1:11 pm

As always you make such beautiful desserts. I think the lemon zest addition was a brilliant idea.

Chris November 29, 2008 um 1:11 pm

Pretty! Smart girl bringing the parchmont paper up the sides. That your have helped my sticky issue! Your caramels? I would by that at a store!

Lets chat soon, my friend. I am going into Helen withdrawal. 🙂

Chris November 29, 2008 um 1:11 pm

Pretty! Smart girl bringing the parchmont paper up the sides. That your have helped my sticky issue! Your caramels? I would by that at a store!

Lets chat soon, my friend. I am going into Helen withdrawal. 🙂

Laura Rebecca November 29, 2008 um 1:14 pm

Breathtakingly beautiful, Helen!

Isabelle Lambert November 29, 2008 um 1:21 pm

vraiment très beaux tes petits gâteaux 🙂 tout est très appétissant !

Julie November 29, 2008 um 1:21 pm

Wow, this is a great succes! Your pictures are soooo beautiful and the cake is even more! Bravo!

BC November 29, 2008 um 1:43 pm

Gorgeous! I am in awe.

montague November 29, 2008 um 1:48 pm

i adore the contrast of soft, creamy and crispy! lovely!

PAM November 29, 2008 um 1:52 pm

Beautiful post, cake, & caramels. You are such an inspiration. Love the bubble caramel too.

Engineer Baker November 29, 2008 um 1:52 pm

Grand Marnier caramels sound fantastic, and I love the bubble caramel. I definitely need to try that sometime.

RecipeGirl November 29, 2008 um 1:59 pm

Simply perfection. I too enjoy that browned butter smell in my home. Browned butter is good in anything!

Leslie November 29, 2008 um 2:15 pm


NKP November 29, 2008 um 2:21 pm

Beautiful little cakes, I was interested to see how you lined the mini springforms, I will try it that way sometime.
Your confections are always so inspiring.

Gretchen Noelle November 29, 2008 um 2:22 pm

As always, lovely job on this challenge.

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 2:47 pm

Such beautiful little cakes… just lovely. 🙂

Renee November 29, 2008 um 3:17 pm

I am always in awe when I visit your blog. Whether it is a Daring Bakers challenge or one of your own gifts to us. Thank you for your inspiration.

Lis November 29, 2008 um 3:25 pm

Cutest lil cakes ever 🙂

You know.. that lil spoon and that tin look awfully familiar!

How much did that spoon cost? BAHAHAHAHAAAA!

Love you!

Dewi November 29, 2008 um 3:37 pm

Superb idea as always…
I love Alice as well, I’ll try the Grand Marnier Caramel recipe.

Deeba PAB November 29, 2008 um 3:37 pm

Wonderful in every little way…giggled through the caramel Helen, & loved reading the post. Looking forward to your second anniv post…good for you girls.

Aparna Balasubramanian November 29, 2008 um 3:43 pm

As usual, your caramel cake and the decorations are gorgeous. I was just planning to ask how you managed to get bubbles into your caramel when I just saw the post.

Dragon November 29, 2008 um 3:47 pm

Your cake and sugar work are stunning! I love the grand marnier twist with the caramels. Great job!

Laurie November 29, 2008 um 3:51 pm

Your work is beautiful! I’m inspired to make this cake again and be a copycat 😉

Lori November 29, 2008 um 4:03 pm

Hmmmmm, Grand Marnier Caramels, yum. How can you go wrong?

Helene November 29, 2008 um 4:03 pm

Sheryl: the instructions for te bubble caramel are at the bottom of the cake recipe.

raquel November 29, 2008 um 4:05 pm

Beautiful! I wish I could be even half as creative.

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 4:10 pm

Once again I am blown away by your creativity and pictures! The bubble caramel is sooooo cool!!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 4:24 pm

Oh my, your cakes are so beautiful! I wish mine looked as stunning as yours – amazing job!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 4:24 pm

As always, your pictures are gorgeous. And I LOVE the idea of Grand Marnier in the caramels. As I just commented on Ivonne’s blog, I didn’t make the caramels but now I want to, especially with the gorgeous photos you guys are putting up. Now I think I want to add Grand Marnier to mine. 😉

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 4:26 pm

Tartlette – your work is always so inspiring and beautiful. I can’t wait to try the bubble caramel…and those grand marnier caramels sound divine. Gorgeous, gorgeous job 🙂

Sara November 29, 2008 um 4:27 pm

Your cake looks beautiful, I love the bubble caramel!

Lesley November 29, 2008 um 4:36 pm

tout ce que tu fais est de la magique…brava ma chere!!!

Sweet Treats by Dani November 29, 2008 um 4:41 pm

stunning pics, as always…..

Maria November 29, 2008 um 4:44 pm

Beautiful cake and I love the caramels in the tin! Super cute!

kayenne November 29, 2008 um 4:46 pm

would vodka work to make the bubble caramel edible? i’ve save the same recipe from shuna awhile ago, but have yet to make the cake. i do have the caramel syrup already done and kept in the pantry. hehe

kat November 29, 2008 um 4:53 pm

Your cakes look beautiful & I love your bubble candy

The Italian Dish November 29, 2008 um 4:58 pm

Once again, you blow me away! So beautiful, so well done, so much thought going into this.

Lauren November 29, 2008 um 5:00 pm

Oh, wow. That looks amazing. Love the cake, and the caramels! Beautiful job!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 5:01 pm

I’ve been looking forward to your post, Helen, and you haven’t disappointed! Your cakes are beautiful and I have major frosting envy—it’s so smooth! The cakes look like they’re wrapped in silk.

Eileen November 29, 2008 um 5:05 pm

Oh Helen, what lovely little cakes!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 5:10 pm

As always, it is just a delight to visit here and see you exquisite work!

Katerina November 29, 2008 um 5:10 pm

I like what you did with the caramel, I obviously need to find more joy playing with caramel.

Di November 29, 2008 um 5:16 pm

Wow, your cake is gorgeous! I love the bubbly decorations, too. I agree, the salt really made the frosting.

Helene November 29, 2008 um 5:18 pm

Kayenne: I wish I had the definitive answer but I have never made it with vodka. I would say that any clear alcohol with a high alcohol % would work but don’t take my word for it.

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 5:22 pm

The bubble caramel is a beautiful addition!

Diana November 29, 2008 um 5:25 pm

Your mini cakes turned out so beautiful! I love the bubble caramel too. So creative! The lemon does go really well with the cake, I used lemon apples and loved the extra zing.

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 5:28 pm

Wow, you said it: from turkey low to sugar high. What a wonderful season it is.

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 5:33 pm

Je vois que tu reprends vite tes habitudes folles de caramel! Tu n’aurais jamais du me donner l’adresse de ton site…maintenant je passe mon temps a me rappeler nos bons souvenirs de cuisine!

Judy November 29, 2008 um 5:41 pm

Gorgeous, gorgeous, as usual. I love the bubble caramel. Just rubbing alcohol? Not rum, or vodka, or ?

glamah16 November 29, 2008 um 5:41 pm

Ironically Tartelette that link to the Blue Caramel plate was the first post I ever read of yours , and food blog, and it was how I found the DB’s!Weird. Beautiful work.

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 5:57 pm

What a perfect looking cake! Your caramels sound wonderful!

Jen Yu November 29, 2008 um 6:13 pm

What fun you must be to cook with! The children probably had such a blast – to play and then eat 🙂 You make everything so perfectly pretty – seriously, you and Aran are my favorites to see each month. Congrats on 2 years, my friend. xxoo

Joeli November 29, 2008 um 6:28 pm

I am so jealous of your photos! And I can’t believe you’ve been doing this since the start. Congrats!

PheMom November 29, 2008 um 6:53 pm

Of course your cakes are so gorgeous! I love your caramel decorations too – so gorgeous! I didn’t get to mak the caramels yet, but yours look wonderful!

Nawal November 29, 2008 um 8:03 pm

Ces petits cakes sont irrésistibles : bravo !

Eat4Fun November 29, 2008 um 8:04 pm

Beautiful photos and beautiful looking cakes! You are truly an artist!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 8:12 pm

Esta divino, sencillamente genial y los caramelos son de comeme como la manzana de Alicia in de Wonderland…

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 8:13 pm

Gorgeous cakes and divine caramels. You always have such beautiful presentation. Truly inspiring.

jem November 29, 2008 um 8:57 pm

What size pan did you pour out the caramels into? I’ve tried making them before, always with great taste but I think I’m pouring them into too large of a pan. Thanks in advance, I love reading your blog–it always makes me hungry!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 9:00 pm

Beautiful!! great vignette of photographs favorite!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 9:00 pm

Beautiful!! great vignette of photographs favorite!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 9:20 pm

Wow, your frosting is so smooth, I hope it took you longer than 5 minutes to frost the cakes 😉 I had a lot of trouble getting it smooth.
They look just perfect, love the sugar decoration.

Andrea Meyers November 29, 2008 um 9:41 pm

I like how you did the mini cakes, and the thought of Grand Marnier in those caramels…oh my! Lovely job on the challenge.

Amy November 29, 2008 um 10:06 pm

Petite cakes…I will try this next time. What a wonderful way to experiment!

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 10:11 pm

Your mini-cakes look totally delectable, and I love the idea of adding grand marnier to the caramels to cut through the sweetness a bit.
And I miss our chats too! Lis told me she might have some time for a chat soon, and work has slowed down a bit for me, so maybe next week if we all find the time?

Anonymous November 29, 2008 um 10:34 pm

A very happy two year DB anniversary to you, Helene, and a warm hug, too. Such beautiful cakes, the photos so exquisite. I’m sighing with it all. You’re amazing. Not too much spatualting on this one, was there? 😉

Judy@nofearentertaining November 29, 2008 um 10:43 pm

Beautiful cakes and I love the Grand Marnier Caramels! Why didn’t I think of that??? LOL!

vibi November 29, 2008 um 10:48 pm

I’m so bummed… everytime I come here, I end up being the quazillioneth to leave you a comment.
Nevertheless… I’m always floored by what you achieve. Granted the cake was pretty easy to make, but you’ve managed to make it look like a Murano handblown bird was sitting on its creamy buttery nest… way too beautiful to eat, but absolutely pure pleasure to admire!

Irene November 29, 2008 um 10:52 pm

So beautiful! These little cakes are works of art, Helen!

Fit Chick November 29, 2008 um 11:55 pm

As always your photos are beautiful and well as your cake.

Clumbsy Cookie November 29, 2008 um 11:59 pm

Your little cakes are so adorable Helen, and your caramels look so perfect. Did you make them on a tube or something?

Jodie November 30, 2008 um 12:00 am

Gorgeous as always!!

Alpineberry Mary November 30, 2008 um 12:04 am

Those mini cakes are too cute for words!

raj November 30, 2008 um 12:17 am

i LOVE this! it looks SO amazing!

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 12:18 am

May I say that both your blog and the DB are aging gracefully?

Nice shots – i think that you and I are among the few who made both recipes.

creampuff November 30, 2008 um 12:20 am

I’m coming to your house to steal that cake and those caramels … seriously.

Ruth November 30, 2008 um 12:34 am

Magnificent as always. Your cakes and caramels look delicious

Helene November 30, 2008 um 1:00 am

homedotmade: I used a 8inch square and when cooked the caramels to 260F. Once cooled I cut long ropes that I rolled on a lightly oiled cutting board to give them a cleaner look.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti November 30, 2008 um 1:04 am

WOW! Both your cake and caramels look so professionally made. Just beautful! I may try the caramels after seeing yours.

Thanks for commenting on my effort — so nice to meet you!

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 1:07 am

Your photos are amazing, and I bet your cakes taste the same. Thanks so much for posting the adapted Grand Marnier Caramels recipe. I was looking for one last thing to fill up my Christmas gift tins – the caramels are perfect.

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 1:08 am

Your mini-cakes look wonderful and I love the way you wrapped the caramels.

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 1:56 am

OMGoodness- caramels are my absolute favorite candy. I am so going to try these soon. My mom loves them also, so I will make her a tin for Xmas. Enchanting photos.

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 2:20 am

Great tips for creating that bubble effect. I always learn something new whenever I visit your blog and come away inspired.

Shari November 30, 2008 um 2:46 am

I love the idea of "bubble" sugar. I’ll have to try that–you’re so inspiring. And the blue caramel! Wow. Thanks for linking to your older post. Grand Marnier in the caramels – yum. They have been the sleeper hit of the DB this month at my house! Beautiful!

Zoe Francois November 30, 2008 um 2:59 am

It is sophisticated and fun. I can’t wait to play with the bubble sugar!

Camille November 30, 2008 um 3:43 am

Lovely cakes and beautiful photos! The grand marnier caramels…a perfect gift for the hostess or music teacher. I’m keeping that in mind.

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 3:47 am

Gorgeous! Oh my gosh… I love this.

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 3:56 am

Good lord this looks amazing! I’m in awe of the bubbled sugar! Wish I had time to think of that. Great work.

Irene November 30, 2008 um 4:39 am

<3 the bubble caramel. I'm going to try that soon.

Shaheen November 30, 2008 um 5:08 am

Helene, first of all, thank you for your good wishes. I appreciate it so much. 🙂

And my oh my, like always you astonish me with your beautiful to creations. It’s always a pleasure to visit your blog!

Elle November 30, 2008 um 5:17 am

Beautiful as always! This really was the perfect recipe for the 2nd anniversary of the Daring Bakers…and heres to another year and then some! The small cakes with the brittle decorations are just so charming…almost makes me want to bake this cake all over again.

Cynthia November 30, 2008 um 7:45 am

all i can say is YUM!!!! and i love those little christmas tins! 😀

Dolores November 30, 2008 um 8:58 am

Simply stunning.

I’ll confess that when we decided to go with the cake and leave the options for size/shape/decoration, I was dying to see what you’d do with it. I knew it would be breathtaking.

It’s an honor and a privilege to bake with you this month and every month. Thank you for sharing your expertise with all of us.

plutosangel November 30, 2008 um 1:24 pm

As usual, your post is just a visual treat. I love the caramel shape on top. Lovely looking cake 🙂

Mike of Mike's Table November 30, 2008 um 1:43 pm

I always look forward to your spin on the DB challenges each month as they are always a beautiful sight. I love the four mini-cake approach you took–they sound so delicious and look very refined!

Babeth November 30, 2008 um 2:54 pm

Tres tres cute 🙂

Sara November 30, 2008 um 3:21 pm

amazing as always!

Jo November 30, 2008 um 3:23 pm

I love your mini cake version and the decoration is absolutely beautiful.

Botacook November 30, 2008 um 3:24 pm

Whaouh, superbe, bravo!!

Jennywenny November 30, 2008 um 3:27 pm

As always, a beautiful cake. I’m seriously tempted to buy some mini cake pans now that I’ve seen that!

Couture Carrie November 30, 2008 um 5:33 pm

I loooove caramel!
What gorgeous photos!!


cindy* November 30, 2008 um 9:12 pm

i just got back from vacation and one of my first stops was here. lovely!

Bex November 30, 2008 um 10:10 pm

that cake looks fantastic!

Angelica November 30, 2008 um 10:40 pm

It’s funny, because I almost never comment on your posts since I feel I should say more than just "That looks wonderful" or something of the sorts. But I always read them, and have for almost two years. Yours was the first food blog I encountered, and I suppose it was also you that made me want to start one myself. Funny old thing, how people you’ll never know are affected by you.

La cuisine des 3 soeurs November 30, 2008 um 11:03 pm

Après avoir lu la recette chez Marion, je passe voir ta version et tes photos, toujours aussi belles. Tes caramels sont une véritable gourmandise.

Anonymous November 30, 2008 um 11:38 pm

Your creations are always so full of life! I love the idea of lemon zest in the cake, to brighten up the caramel – and the Grand Marnier caramels sound delicious!

Anonymous December 1, 2008 um 12:21 am

You just make the challenge so beautiful! I love the addition of citrus too!

Beachlover December 1, 2008 um 1:28 am

lovely caramel cake!! now you iniated me to buy the small spring form pan which I never thought of using it to bake for 3 of us.

Tammy December 1, 2008 um 1:55 am

perfectly divine as usual!

Olga December 1, 2008 um 2:45 am

Those are SUCH beautiful photos!!! I was too chicken for this month’s challenge 🙂

Cherie December 1, 2008 um 3:42 am

Another great one! What could be better than caramel?

Anonymous December 1, 2008 um 4:03 am

Now I knew you would do something spectacular with caramel decorations, but I’ve never even seen "bubble caramel" before! I’m definitely saving this recipe and trying it very soon. 🙂

Anonymous December 1, 2008 um 4:04 am

Sounds simple enough but it looks fantastic! Love the idea of adding fleur de sel (one of my favourite caramels as a few grains of it on top).

Peabody December 1, 2008 um 4:41 am

Screw the cake I want those caramels!

Anonymous December 1, 2008 um 6:03 am

You are amazing! The wedding cake is beautiful and I love your food photography!

karey m. December 1, 2008 um 7:27 am

i can’t even believe you…words and photos. each post more beautiful than the previous…

man. {i’m sitting here, shaking my head in wonder…and i seem to be at a desperate loss for words. hence, man. eek.}

xoxo. and thank you.

Dharm December 1, 2008 um 12:06 pm

Caramel and Grand Marnier – you are truly, truly a genius! Your cake looks just lovely but as I’ve said many times, thats what I come to expect my dear friend!

Suzana December 1, 2008 um 12:21 pm

Your cakes (or anything you do) is what I meant when I say 'perfect in a perfect way'. You’re the perfection I can only wish for! 😉

Ramya Kiran December 1, 2008 um 1:36 pm

Lovely!! Must say, your photographs can win the hearts of many..
Great work! 🙂

raining sheep December 1, 2008 um 2:37 pm

I absolutely love chewy caramels. My mouth is watering just looking at them and that cake … oh my…it looks scrumptious. My sister and I are actually getting together this year to do some baking. That will be so much fun.

Jeanine – The Baking Beauties December 1, 2008 um 3:07 pm

Wow! Is there really anything else to say?? Everything you do is absolutely fantastic! I can’t wait to try the grand marnier in the caramels though. YUM! 🙂

Jen December 1, 2008 um 3:33 pm

Thanks for posting about this history of Daring Bakers– it’s great to be part of such a big group now but also really nice to hear about how it started.

Great job on the challenge as always.

Mallory Elise December 1, 2008 um 3:53 pm

whoa this is a lot of comments–and you’re not even giving anything away! you’ve reached that celebrity point of popularity!

my little sister was sitting next to me when i opened this page and she looked at the cake and said "is that a candy fish on the top! why is everyone obsessed with fish like you!" i have no idea why she thought that looked like a fish–but the mini-size of that slice of cake is adorable. it’s perfect…i think i am going to ask santa claus for a spring form pan for christmas 😛

Sandra Le Petrin December 1, 2008 um 4:25 pm

your mini-cakes are so adorable, so elegant and the bubble caramel is a nice touch!
But you really made my day with your grand marnier caramels!! I used Cointreau in the frosting, next time, i’ll add it to the caramels! Thanks for the idea, Helen, as always inspiring!

carolina @ patagonia gifts December 1, 2008 um 4:51 pm

Oh dear, those caramel deliciousness are simply celestial!
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too, darling! xoxo,

Anonymous December 1, 2008 um 4:56 pm

I definitely want to make the Grand M. Caramels but can’t buy corn syrup where I live. Is it possible to use your Caramel Syrup here instead?

Your blog and recipes are fantastic! I love popping in here for baking inspiration.

Anonymous December 1, 2008 um 5:09 pm

Ca serait bien que tu vienne a Noel et que tu refasse ca…avec les caramels…of course!

Katie December 1, 2008 um 7:01 pm

Your cake looks great, and I love your take on the caramels.

My Sweet & Saucy December 1, 2008 um 7:53 pm

LIke always you turn out a fabulous post for the daring baker’s challenge! Love it!

Cakespy December 1, 2008 um 8:01 pm

This is not "a" cake…it’s "the" cake! Stunning, gorgeous, and it sounds so delicious!

Unknown December 1, 2008 um 8:31 pm

I am diving headlong into all this carmelness!


MyKitchenInHalfCups December 1, 2008 um 10:01 pm

I knew it would be lovely Helen and it is gorgeous! Two years is nothing short of stunning as well. It’s really been a ride.

Has anybody else said how that caramel looks like a turkey? I know I’m crazy but it does to me.

I really loved this cake.

Beth December 1, 2008 um 10:43 pm

Beautiful little caramels. They remind me of Tootsie Rolls!

Anonymous December 2, 2008 um 12:26 am

What a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Fab photos and wonderous caramel. As always excellent work. Happy holidays to you and your kin.

Half Baked December 2, 2008 um 1:05 am

As always absolutely exquiste! Your caramels sound divine! Great gift giving idea!

Sheltie Girl December 2, 2008 um 2:30 am

You did a fabulous job on your caramels cakes! I’m always inspired by your baking and attention to detail.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Anonymous December 2, 2008 um 6:12 am

Gorgeous and perfect, Helen. I can’t even look at my mess after seeing your cake! LOVE the bubble sugar 🙂

Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire December 2, 2008 um 7:42 am

Sympa ces petits gâteaux avec leur glaçage parfait

Sunshinemom December 2, 2008 um 9:14 am

Thanks Helen for your thoughts! I am glad your parents did not come to Mumbai as part of their tour!! We got back to normal pattern the day after itself – I do not know whether it is due to resilience/indignation but we had to carry on! I guess that is the way anyone else would react too:)

My daughter loved your cake, and the bubble caramel which is new to me! Those tins look very cute! Are they really cake tins or what?

Anonymous December 2, 2008 um 4:53 pm

Ahhh, another triumphant post. I just love how you do things. Well done.

Alexa December 2, 2008 um 4:59 pm

You always make the DB challenge look so elegant and easy… Lovely presentation! Your caramels look charming.

Jenny December 2, 2008 um 6:31 pm

Mini’s just always look like they would taste better!

Cookie baker Lynn December 2, 2008 um 8:18 pm

So beautiful, Helen. You never fail to delight me with your artistic creations.

Melissa de la Fuente December 2, 2008 um 10:13 pm I would give anything to sample your beautiful creations! Yum-yum-yummy! 🙂

Anonymous December 2, 2008 um 10:30 pm

You rock my socks off, Helen! Your blog is always so unbelievably beautiful, but THIS is the stuff dreams are made of.

Thank you for being so unbelievably good at what you do, and for sharing it with us!


~ Paula

Anonymous December 2, 2008 um 11:21 pm

I haven’t read all of the other comments so this may have already been asked… Do you need to add the Grand Marnier to the caramels? Could you substitute or leave it out all together?

Anonymous December 3, 2008 um 10:33 am

O MY GOODNESS! these look fantastic. you’re always so artistic, tartelette. it’s admirable 😉 xx

Elizabeth December 3, 2008 um 7:06 pm

Those caramels sound lovely. I have only just discovered golden syrup, and now I’m inspired to try it in the place of corn syrup in my next batch of caramels.

Helene December 3, 2008 um 8:47 pm

Natasha: you can substitute the Grand Marnier by another liqueur or use vanilla extract or even strong coffee or nothing.

Ivy December 3, 2008 um 11:07 pm

I love Grand Marinier!
Your creation is beautiful and I love the bubble caramel garnish.

Brilynn December 4, 2008 um 6:25 am

I’m glad to hear you can substitute corn syrup in the caramel recipe. I’ve been wanting to give it a try but can’t get golden syrup around here. Thanks!

TeaLady December 5, 2008 um 1:47 am

WOW!! Beautiful cake. Love the way you made little ones in little springform pans. Great idea. The top piece is great.

Namratha December 5, 2008 um 10:59 pm

WOW! Absolutely beautiful, very well done!

Deborah December 6, 2008 um 5:53 pm

Simply stunning – like always!!

Carrie December 8, 2008 um 1:00 am

only you could make a cake look sexy!

La Cuisine d'Helene December 12, 2008 um 5:58 pm

This is the best looking cake I have seen so far. You would win a prize if it was me.

Jaime December 14, 2008 um 3:37 am

your mini caramel cakes are so perfectly decorated. i think you are to me what shuna is to you 🙂

Anonymous December 18, 2008 um 3:51 pm

Looking at your cakes just inspire me to bake again! I definitely will try out this recipe this weekend. One question, if you don’t mind: I currently don’t own a candy thermometer but want to try out the caramel bubble without it – should I be looking for a certain characteristic in the caramel while it’s cooking, i.e. color, size of the bubbles, etc.?

Thanks again and thanks so much for sharing!

Helene December 18, 2008 um 5:05 pm

Anonymous: the bubbles only appear when the caramel comes in contact with the alcohol so my best suggestion is to take your caramel off the stove as soon as it starts getting a golden color. It might require a couple of tries but it should work.

Anonymous December 22, 2008 um 4:01 pm

Helen – Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question.

I tried your caramel bubble affect this weekend and loved it. A few asked for your web site and I was so more than happy to share. You’re such a great spirit to all of us!

Thanks for sharing and for your wonderful post!

Have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family!

Kahalaomapuana August 5, 2011 um 9:46 am

I absolutely LOVED the cake and frosting! I've never tasted anything like it, I'm definitely showing your recipes to all of my baking friends! My frosting came out a little soupy, but I know I added too much heavy cream. Still super duper delicious though! Thanks again for the recipes. 😀

Unknown November 14, 2012 um 6:53 am

These look amazing. I am interested in trying the caramels and would like to know how you got them into a cylindrical shape.
BY the way- I just ordered your book and am really looking forward to reading it! Thanks!

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