There was a birthday in the household this week. Miss now 6 has decided caramel is her favourite flavour. So a caramel cake was requested. Never made one before. She also requested that it be decorated to look like a white bird with pink eyes. I am glad she has a lot of confidence in my cake making abilities. But I managed to get out of failing at making a cake look like a bird by suggesting the girls decorate the cake themselves. Better than I could do it myself!
The cake is even more delightful to eat than it is to look at (impossible!). I based it on this recipe that I discovered through googling Caramel Cake Thermomix. Who knew what would result? A beautifully flavoured, not too sweet, soft cake that would be perfect for any occasion. Add a little more salt to the mix and you have the flavour of the last few years – salted caramel. It would be beautiful with some sliced fruit baked on top (or bottom if you want to call it an upside down cake). It would also be delicious with some vanilla ice cream.
Take some sugar, about 200g. The recipe says brown, I used rapadura, as I had some on hand and I find it does have a lovely toasty caramelly flavour. You could use raw sugar if you don’t have the others. Into the Thermomix bowl and grind to fine powder on Speed 9 for 15 seconds. Add 125g softened butter. If you forgot to get it out of the fridge in time, simply put the sugar out of the bowl, add the roughly chopped butter and soften on 50 degrees, for 40 seconds, Speed 4. Scrape the butter from the top of the blades and insert butterfly with a flick of the wrist. Return the sugar (if you have removed it), add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and cream together for 30-40 seconds. While you have the butter on hand, grease and line a smallish cake tin (I used an 18cm) and turn on the oven at 160 degrees.
With the Thermomix still spinning at Speed 4 crack 2 eggs over the lid and pour contents through the hole. Add a tablespoon of golden syrup (or treacle, as that is what I had to hand) while its all still whipping away. Try not to have it all going for much longer than 2 minutes during this process. Open the lid and weigh in 225g plain flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Add 125g milk. Close the lid and mix it all together (with butterfly still in place) until you can see the flour has blended through completely (about 15 seconds). Pour into prepared cake tin and bake until a wooden skewer comes out clean. My oven took about 45 minutes.
Let it cool completely in the tin and then ice according to taste. I just did a vanilla royal icing as white icing was requested. Yes, the vanilla turns it brown at first but you can add extra egg white and it will come back to white colouring. There is a caramel icing listed on the site where this recipe came from. Or choose any of the icings from the Everyday Cookbook – cream cheese, buttercream and of course, colour accordingly. The flavour is so light and delicious that it could perform very well as a teacake – no icing at all, perhaps a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Don’t ask what kind of cake I am doing for the actual party. I usually don’t publish photos of those, lest they be reposted under the heading Nailed It. Presentation ain’t my strong suit.
I was given this recipe by a great Thermomix loving family who have been very generous, sharing several family recipes with me. They call this one ginger crunch slice, but a key ingredient is something they introduced me to – naked ginger. It is dried, uncrystallised ginger. So, naturally the high school child in me insisted it be called Naked Ginger Slice.
Still sweet and intensely gingery naked ginger gives a lovely chewiness to this crunchy and gooey slice. This slice has grown on me since I made it first earlier in the week. I’ll be making it again very soon. And I will bring Grandma some too on my next visit, nursing home dining room rules be damned.
For the base, put a handful of pieces of naked ginger (around 6-8 pieces) in the Thermomix bowl with 100g raw sugar and chop for 3 seconds on Speed 8. Put the butterfly in and add 125g softened butter. Cream butter, sugar and ginger for 15 seconds on Speed 4. Add 200g of plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder and mix for 10 seconds on Speed 4. Remove butterfly and press mixture firmly into a greased slice tin until it looks slightly less crumbly. The texture appears weird, but it does work. Bake in 190 degree oven for around 15 minutes until golden brown all over. Cool in the tin while making the icing.
For the icing, blitz 90g raw sugar into icing sugar on Speed 9 for 10 seconds. Add 80g butter, 20g golden syrup and 2 tsp ground ginger. Heat for 5 minutes on 60 degrees, Speed 2. Pour icing over the still warm ginger crunch base. Cool in the fridge until icing is set (as I clearly did not in the picture) then slice.