Caramel is good. Who doesn't like it? Especially salted or with good chocolate, you can't beat a good hunk of caramel. But caramel in a cake...and in its frosting...well, too much of a good thing suddenly becomes not so good anymore. That's how I feel about the Daring Bakers Challenge for November: caramel cake. A bite of this cake was good, a few bites made me wonder about when my next dental appointment was, and a piece of it made me feel pretty uneasy for the next 24 hours. Yes, I should have stopped. But I soooo wanted to like it and so I kept forcing it down.
It has to be hard to choose a recipe for the Daring Bakers group. This month this daunting task went to: Dolores, Alex, and Jenny. A huge thank you to them for doing what so many of us have never had to do. Here you have a group of well over 1,000 people around the world, all with varying abilities and tastes, and as with everything in life you simply can't please everyone. I give kudos to all those who do all the research necessary to choose a recipe for the Daring Baker's group.
Usually I'm rather challenged and pretty excited about the monthly challenges. But this cake just didn't do it for me, and I'm sure that this is just a personal opinion. The cake prep itself was very straight-forward, as was the icing. The real challenge in this cake was in making the caramel, so that's good that bakers who had never made their own caramel got a chance to do so. The cake just turned out so very sweet, even with the addition of a huge amount of fleur de sel in the icing, it was still almost inedibly sweet. I brought it to dinner for a friend's birthday, and suffice it to say that this dessert-loving group ate very little of their servings and then declined taking home the leftovers. This was not a good sign! I think the cake would have been better either unfrosted, or with a cream cheese frosting. Something to cut the sweet factor waaaay down.
So, making this cake was a good experience in caramel, but I don't think I would make it again. My always reliable taste-testers were unimpressed, and there are simply too many other great cakes out there and too little time!
The recipe can be found on the Web site of Shuna Fish Lydon, who created it.