Sunday, 4 October 2015


I haven't had a post in what seems like ages. Life happens as you know and we have to deal with important things before anything else. As I have done in the past five years, I always write a celebratory post on the anniversary of this blog. I am thankful that my readers have stayed despite it all. I have made a special cake for this occasion, which, were it possible, I would have preferred to have shared with you all. Nevertheless, just thinking that you will be reading this is enough to make me smile.

Sugar sweetens the pot, literally and figuratively. A simple meal, a celebration, a sad occasion, ends well if punctuated by a dessert. Sugar works better than any drug or alcohol. This cure-all, feel-better, make-me-happy dust makes the world go round.

When I think of sugar, I don't think of grains. I think of caramel. I rarely use white sugar. I prefer the raw or golden sugar which has taste as well as sweetness. 

Caramel icing on rich, buttery cake layers puts sugar to good use. It is so rich and indulgent. It can't be anything but a Southern thing. The cake layers are so creamy, they taste almost like ice cream. 

I used Grandbaby Cakes recipe for Real Deal Southern Caramel Cake for the cake layers here.

I am not one to labor nor to wait so I made my own short cut caramel icing. It is ready in 15-20 minutes (rather than an hour). This creamy not-too-sweet icing hugs the cake so nicely. 

Ingredients for the cake:

1 cup (1-250 gm. block) of butter, softened
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 1/2 c. granulated sugar (I used golden granulated)
6 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
2 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour or (6 T. corn flour plus plain flour to make 3 c.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sour cream (I used non-fat Greek yoghurt)


Pre-heat oven to 350° F/180° C.

Line the bottoms and grease the sides of three 9" diameter layer pans.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, oil and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until incorporated after each addition.

Add in the vanilla extract and mix again.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

While mixing at low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients to the egg and butter mixture, a little at a time, alternating with the sour cream. Start and end with the flour mixture. Do not over mix.

Bake for 23-30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and leave to cool completely on racks.

Ingredients for the caramel icing:

1-397 gm. can of condensed milk
1-410 gm. tin plus 1 cup of evaporated milk
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
3 T of plain flour
3/4 c. (3/4 of a 250 gm. block) of butter
2 tsps. of vanilla extract


Mix the condensed milk, 1 tin of evaporated milk and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stir until combined.

Stir the plain flour into the remaining cup of evaporated milk and strain into the milk and brown sugar mixture. Mix very well. 

Put the saucepan on the cooker and cook the mixture on low heat while stirring on low heat for 15-20 minutes until thick. The mixture should cling to a spoon when scooped and stay on it after a few minutes of cooling. 

Lay a circle of greaseproof paper on its surface and leave to cool completely. Refrigerate.

To assemble:

Before starting to assemble the cake, brush off any loose crumbs from the cake layers using a pastry brush.

Put one cake layer on a serving dish.

Top with about 1 c. of caramel icing and spread evenly.

Top with the other cake layer.


Spread a thin coat of the icing on the top and sides of the cake as crumb coat. Poke 3 wooden skewers through the top of the cake to hold the layers together as the icing sets. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will make a neater finish to your cake as it seals all the crumbs in.

Put the rest of the icing on the cake and spread evenly on the top and sides. 

Refrigerate before serving.

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