RECIPE: Caramel Walnut Cake (Happy 81st Birthday, Grampa)

The days and hours were counting down until my Grampa’s birthday dinner, and I was wracking my brain for the perfect cake recipe to celebrate with. I searched through many of my favourite baking blogs, failing to find any recipes that Grampa would be thrilled with. He doesn’t like cheesecakes and tends to lean more towards the sugary-sweet flavours over chocolate or fruits. After finally asking my Grandma, she suggested something maple or caramel. Suddenly, the perfect recipe shed light into my unhopeful and failing hunt.

I came across this recipe for Double Caramel Cake through Pinterest (of course). The recipe comes from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody where she titles it “The Cake That Broke My Will”. I strayed from the original frosting recipe a teeny-weeny bit, so my version is more like fudge on top of a cake. I ain’t complaining. It is fairly sweet but definitely worth every bite. I also added in a few nuts–walnuts to be exact–for a little bit of crunch. Before I begin, I just want to put a little disclaimer out there: I am in no way a skilled cake decorator. No matter how hard I try, my cakes are always hideous. Please look past the fact that this cake looks ridiculous and just trust the fact that it tastes fantastic.

So, ready to make something deliciously sweet?

Caramel Cake

Melt the 1/3 cup of sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to stir it until it turns an amber colour. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the 1/4 cup of boiling water. It will become syrupy. Allow it to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two matching pans. Beat the softened butter and additional sugar together until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 4 tablespoons of the syrup mixture, mixing well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another separate container, combine the milk and the vanilla. Alternately add the flour and the milk mixtures to the wet mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 25-35 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven). The cakes will be done when the centres are fully puffed up, the edges are browned, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 10-15 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Fudge Frosting

Cut the rounded top off of one of the cakes (this will be the bottom layer). In a medium saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, but continue to stir constantly. Continue boiling until it reaches a “soft ball” state. You will know it reaches this state by dropping a drop of the syrup into a cup of cold water. If it holds it’s shape fairly well and can be removed from the water, it has reached a “soft ball” state. Remove the syrup from heat and stir in the butter. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Beat in the vanilla extract and beat for 2-3 minutes as the syrup thickens. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined. Immediately spread some of the frosting on the bottom layer, sprinkle with nuts (if desired) and place the second layer on top. Quickly frost the top of the cake and sprinkle with additional nuts. Voila!

The cake is really rich, but it is worth trying. The actual cake part is moist and just has a faint flavour of caramel, where as the frosting adds that extra punch of flavour and sweetness. The original frosting recipe makes more of a caramel glaze, which I imagine would taste fantastic as well. Make it the same way but omit the icing sugar.

To leave off, I thought I would just share an instagram photo of the birthday celebration. I hope you are all having a wonderful week. It’s Wednesday–hump day–which means we’re half way there. Blessings!

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2 thoughts on “RECIPE: Caramel Walnut Cake (Happy 81st Birthday, Grampa)

  1. This looks absolutely divine! I’m smiling!

  2. Mmm . . . and beautiful photos! :)

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