Tuesday, March 19, 2013

caramel chocolate chip cake




Yesterday it snowed here in Northern Virginia.  As usual, the meteorologists didn't get it right, it was supposed to be rain.  We went the entire winter with no measurable snow, and now we've had two storms in March.  The best thing about March snow storms?  They are gone the following day.  You can enjoy the immense beauty a new fallen snow brings, knowing it will melt so quickly that you never have to go through those dirty snow changes, the colder winter months possess.

Born and raised in Saratoga Springs, New York, and spending my first year of marriage in Syracuse, and then six years in Vermont, I am totally used to huge snow storms.  We've even had several whopper snow storms in Virginia since moving here in the early eighties.  It always amuses me how people panic over the mention of snow now. You go to the grocery store, and the shelves are bare.  Toilet paper gone?  Why?  Does snow cause one to have to use the bathroom more?






When I was growing up, my sister, brothers and I spent hours out in the snow...usually building snow forts and tunnels in the huge snow banks on the sides of the neighborhood streets.  When we would come inside at the end of the day, we couldn't wait to see what my mother had baked.  For some reason on snow days, it was usually a cake.  Never fancy, but always delicious, with a warm, cozy feeling.  With rosy, cold cheeks, numb fingers and toes, the smell of the cake entering the house, made you forget the shivering chills remaining from a long day of working on our unique snow homes.

My Caramel Chocolate Chip Cake is reminiscent of those memorable days.  Today is National Chocolate Caramel Day in the foodie world, and caramel is also the ingredient paired with chocolate for my March Chocolate Party Baking Group theme, hosted by my friend Roxana of Roxana's Home Baking.  What an ideal day to post this delicious, southern favorite!  This is my contribution; however, be sure to view all the other wonderful entries by clicking the link at the bottom of my post.






The divine, rich caramel frosting, develops  an incredible thin, crystalline crust - still boasting a creamy, silkiness next to the lovely yellow cake.  The addition of buttermilk gives the cake a tangy deliciousness which balances perfectly with the usual "too much sweetness" of a caramel cake.  The moist, tender crumb of the cake is still not too fragile, so stands up well to the thick frosting.  One word of caution - you must work quickly icing the cake, since the frosting begins to form its crystalline layer in about five minutes.  Mini chocolate chips add the final touch to each scrumptious bite of this Caramel Chocolate Chip Cake.  I decided to give the cake a little twist by using two rectangle biscotti pans, rather than the normal round cake pans.  I loved the cake loaf outcome!

Until next time...mangia!  xox

Carol



Yesterday's unexpected beautiful blanket of snow at the entrance to my neighborhood.



Caramel Chocolate Chip Cake
Serves 10 - 12

Ingredients:

for the cake:
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
1 cup mini chocolate chips {a handful additional for garnish, optional}

for the frosting:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Create the Cake:

1.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour (or use non-stick baking spray) two 9" round cake pans or two 12" x 5-1/4" rectangle biscotti pans, just like the ones found here.  Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in large measuring cup.  Put flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into bowl of electric stand mixer and whisk ingredients together with a hand whisk.  With paddle attachment, beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, until only pea-sized pieces remain.  Pour in half of buttermilk mixture and beat over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Slowly add remaining buttermilk mixture to bowl and beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds.  On low speed, mix in the one cup of mini chocolate chips.

2.  Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until golden, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks.  Cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Create the Caramel Frosting:

1.  Heat 8 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and salt in large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, 4 to 8 minutes.  Whisk in cream and cook until ring of bubbles reappears, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat, and whisk in vanilla.

2.  Transfer hot frosting mixture to bowl of stand mixer and, with electric mixer on low speed, gradually mix in confectioners sugar until incorporated.  Increase speed to medium and beat until frosting is pale brown and just warm, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Assemble the Caramel Chocolate Chip Cake:

1.  Place 1 cake round/rectangle on serving plate.  Spread 3/4 cup frosting over cake, then top with second cake. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.  Garnish with additional mini chocolate chips, if desired.

Recipe Source {with slight change}:  America's Test Kitchen

Carol's note:

The addition of the mini chocolate chips is optional.  The cake is just as lovely on its own.




Follow on Bloglovin

56 comments:

  1. I love carmel so I am sure to love this cake. To be honest when I saw the picture on fb my first thought was " I wish she had posted a picture of the cake cut". Well , once again you did not disapoint! The cake is beautiful. Your story delightful especially since I grew up near you & could actually see you playing outside on those cold winter days! Loved seeing the picture of the snow covered entrance to your neighborhood. Like you , Louisville has not had any real snow. Not yet anyway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Fran! I'm sure you and Cassie joined us many times...tunneling through those huge piles. What fun memories! Yes, I did have a cut picture, and the cut piece disappeared very quickly after the photos were taken! BTW, this was a great yellow cake recipe, different from the ones I had previously given you to try. It was excellent! xox

      Delete
  2. Biscotti pans? Well, that´s one pan I don´t have. But I love rectangular cakes and pies, they are more sophisticated. This cake is a perfect combination Carol! It reminds me of the chocolate chip toll house cake I baked when I was a teenager. And the frosting, just wonderful! I never lived in a place that snowed, and the only times I saw it frequently was when I visited my brother in DC. I have never even had Christmas with snow I think, always summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree, Paula! I also love the ease of slicing a loaf cake. You will have to pick up a couple biscotti pans, you will be surprised how much you'll use them, and not for biscotti. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! BTW, I bought a white wine from Argentina at Whole Foods over the weekend, and immediately thought of you! :}

      Delete
  3. What a gorgeous cake! The snow missed us in Bethesda, thankfully. It's beautiful but I'm ready for spring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm ready for spring, too, Jen! This wishy-washy weather lately can't make up its mind...and as you know, the weather forecasts in DC usually get it wrong...especially with snow or accumulation. Thanks so much for stopping by, and your kind comment. AND, a huge congratulations on your cookbook. I can't wait for its release!

      Delete
  4. Carol, I can practically smell the caramel-y (penuche-like!) frosting all the way from here! How did you manage that? :D This is cake is fabulous - I'll have to get my hands on a biscotti pan, soon!

    Gotta love these late-winter storms! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! It's magic, Val! Thank you so much for your comment! The only good thing about these late winter storms, is they don't last! :} Have a great week, Val!

      Delete
  5. Seriously I NEED a slice of this cake. You already know what a huge fan of caramel I am but the chocolate chip cake is just genius and a perfect compliment. Yep I need a slice of this cake and soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a feeling you would like this cake, Jocelyn!! Thank you so much for your kind words! I wanted to add the chocolate chips for the chocolate party, and wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was like the cake was meant for them!

      Delete
  6. Oh that frosting....I'm dying for a spoon to taste it :). What a beautiful cake!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura, it seriously is incredible...I'm coming up with other ways to use it. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. Always love seeing you stop by!!!

      Delete
  7. Yes, the frosting looks so good!!!!
    The snow looks so pretty and cozy (just perfect for baking ) ;-) We've been having warm weather but looks like a little rain is headed our way, not nearly as lovely as your snow..but we still have some more cool weather while we head into Spring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Patty!! The snow really was pretty, then today it was in the 50's, and it was like yesterday never existed! :} Loving your salad posted tonight...it looks delicious!!

      Delete
  8. Meteorologist is a job I wish I had! They get paid for being wrong all the time! We had a surprise snow storm last week. We didn't even know about it. It started snowing at dinner time and snowed all night and into the next day...how did they not see that??
    Snow is beautiful though and I love living in Colorado and enjoying our seasons.
    This cake would be SO perfect for a snowy day!

    Nazneen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning, Nazneen! Thanks for your comment! You are so right! And yes, it is beautiful! Living in Colorado, I'm sure you are used to snow like I was growing up, only you get a nice powdery snow which is great for skiing! Have a great week!

      Delete
  9. So beautiful! When I was small, Tokyo used to get a lot more snow than now and I used to play with snow and have such a fun memory of it. My California born kids only get to touch snow when we take them to snow area after 4 hours of drive (if no traffic!). I love your beautiful cake. It's a perfect for chocolate caramel day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nami! So happy you stopped by! The blogging world is so great for comments like yours! I love hearing about all the different areas of the US and world and what others have encountered through their lives! Thank you for your sweet comment!

      Delete
  10. Saw this on one of the food sites..TS or maybe tasteologie? It's gorgeous, Carol!

    Storms and people hoarding food, supplies, etc...well I grew up in Mpls, Mn and then Chicago and moved to the Carolinas and the amt of hoarding that happens at the announcement of a storm coming was just crazy! Here in San Diego, if it rains, one-quarter inch there are 25 accidents. Each part of the country has their own issues...lol

    I love the buttermilk in this, the CARAMEL, the loaf pan look. So pretty! Pinning!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Averie, you crack me up! It was FG. lol It's a riot how they hoard. I buy this double fiber bread for my egg white sandwiches in the morning, and boy, was I ticked to see it gone! ;} Thanks so much for your kind words, and for pinning!

      Delete
  11. Ooooo it's amazing, fatestic, deliciose!!!! so that I've no english words at all! exuse me but: Бооооооооооооооооже, это просто супер-мега-афигительное блюдо!!!!! Оно такое красивое, нежное..ааа!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elen, you can write your sweet comment in any language you are comfortable with! Thanks so much!!!

      Delete
  12. Thanks for making my day. It made me wander back to those days I miss so much. My cakes weren't pretty, but came from the heart. With four little ones it was difficult to do anything fancy. I do more now that you've all grown up and flew the nest. We had about 10-inches of snow yesterday with more promised today. Great snow fort days if you want to visit. I'll make a special dessert, I promise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, thanks, Mom! The only problem, I'd have a hard time driving up there if you have that much snow! ;} Warmer weather is right around the corner! Be sure Dad is careful with his snow blower! xox

      Delete
  13. We got a foot of snow yesterday on top of what was already on the ground. Although pretty, I'm looking forward to warm days and daffodils. In the meantime, baking your delicious sounding cake will warm my kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen! I heard New Hampshire was getting walloped with more snow! I know exactly what you're going through, but adored winters in Vermont! I actually worked over the border in New Hampshire at the time...just love that area of our country. Thanks for stopping by, and leaving your sweet comment about the cake!

      Delete
  14. I recently found your blog via Pinterst, and I think it is lovely. While I enjoy reading the blogs written by young mothers, it is very nice to read one written by a mother and Nonny. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely comment, Kelli! You seriously just made my day! Thank you so much!! By the way, I love your name - I have a daughter named Kelly (she spells hers with a y)!

      Delete
  15. Hi, I found your lovely cake on TasteSpotting and was immediately drawn to it. If only someone could bake this for me and have a piece ready for me to eat as soon as I get home late tonight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dorie! So happy you found a cup of mascarpone! I still have the remainder in my freezer - it freezes beautifully, so if you only lived near DC, I could have a slice ready for you! ;} Thank you so much for your sweet comment!!

      Delete
  16. Stopping by from the Chocolate Party...Your heavenly looking frosting and cake look as if they are from an Italian bake shop...You were obviously a very attentive to your grandmother's instruction =) Love your photo of the gazebo covered in snow, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Kim!! I was very attentive to my grandmother's cooking...she was the best! I only wish now that I took notes, but who knew at that age? :} Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  17. Adore the rectangle cake and what sweet memories of cake on a snow day! Now that I think about it, I've baked a cake ahead of snow storms this winter on more than one occasion. It's comforting, I think...and so nice to have cake to share with your family around the table when all is quiet and there's no where we need to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning! You couldn't have said it any better, Monica!! Sharing a cake, or any food around a table with family and friends is the best, and really comforting on a snowy day! Thanks so much for your kind words, and for stopping by!!!

      Delete
  18. I love your photography, Carol. It's beautiful!! I am going to scroll back up there and continue to stare...and drool.

    The meteorologist never gets it right. I want his job. Doesn't matter how many times they mess up, they still get to keep their job...that's what I call job security!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate! Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my photography...definitely needs improvement, but I continue to practice! ;} You got that right about meteorologists! Thanks for stopping by!!!

      Delete
  19. This recipe looks amazingly scrumptious! I know who I am going to bake it very soon. Thank you for a great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much, Yelena! I hope the person you bake it for enjoys it! It's quite delicious!!!

      Delete
  20. Wow, Carol! That cake looks simply divine. I wish I could dip my finger into that caramel frosting. And your photos are gorgeous. We haven't had much snow in Vancouver in over a decade. When I was a kid, it'd snow all winter long and I loved it. Now, it just rains all the time. If we get even an inch of snow, the city shuts down because we don't know how to handle it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nancy! So happy to see you stop by! Thanks so much for your kind words. You hit the nail on the head...cities that don't receive a lot of snow just don't know how to handle it! It then creates total chaos! Enjoy your day!!!

      Delete
  21. We've been having strange snowy weather lately too! It seems to snow every 2 or 3 days, then we'll get a day or two of sunny warm(er) weather, followed by more snow! This morning was sunny but now it's snowing, lol.

    This cake is really gorgeous. Wish I could dive into a slice with my coffee right now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is strange, Faith! We have no snow today, but with the wind chills, it's in the 20s. No warmth in sight! Glad to see other areas of the country are also experiencing this weird weather! Thanks so much for your comment! Always enjoy hearing from you!!!

      Delete
  22. Scrumptious is right!!! I love, love the caramel frosting. Not so fond of spring snow...we have some in the upcoming forecast :( But it is beautiful~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Friday, Liz! Thanks so much for your sweet comment, and for stopping by! We've got more snow forecasted for Sunday too! Lots of basketball to watch if we're snowed in! ;}

      Delete
  23. A slice of heaven! Caramel and chocolate? A marriage made in heaven! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Carol :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morning, Jen! So true - heavenly! Thank you, you have a wonderful weekend, as well, Jen!!!

      Delete
  24. YUM! This looks so incredibly delicious, almost looks like a caramel espresso cake. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good afternoon, Honey! That's a perfect description - the caramel frosting does have a light coffee color to it! Not bragging at all, but it is incredible! Thanks so much!!!

      Delete
  25. Such a different world we live in!! I haven't actually seen the snow in years, and my kids have only seen snow a couple times in their life. Liv, however, is headed your way! She's taking an East Coast trip over Spring Break (without me... mommy is nervous), and will visit DC, Philadelphia, NY and Boston. The weather looked chilly earlier in the week but seems to be clearing now. She is beyond excited.
    To attend to my empty nest, I just may make this cake and eat it all by myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kim! How wonderful that Liv is headed east for school break! She'll love all the cities she's visiting! The weather is supposed to start warming up by Sunday - 50s and 60s next week, so she should have nice weather...and the cherry blossoms may start to bloom in DC, that would be great for her to see! I know what you mean about nervous. My daughter, Kelly, went to Europe for a month with friends after college graduation. Even though she was older than Liv, (22 at the time,) I couldn't sleep the entire month! :} Thanks for stopping by!!!

      Delete
  26. Living in the Bay Area, we don't get snow and typically need to venture to Tahoe. I love that photo you shared. Anything with Caramel is a winner in my book. I need to come up with a dessert for a dinner party I am throwing on Saturday and this one might just do the trick!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning, Lisa! Thanks for your sweet comment! This would make a great dessert, and a tried and true America's Test Kitchen recipe! Funny thing about our snow, we didn't have any the entire winter, then had three storms in March. 70's coming here by the weekend - I'm ready! Have a great weekend!

      Delete

Hi! Thank you so much for stopping by a cup of mascarpone, and taking the time to leave a comment! I read, smile, and cherish each and every one of them! xox

Carol