This month’s Daring Baker Challenge was submitted by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity (where you will find the recipes) and features a cake by Shuna from Eggbeater. The challenge is a fabulous study in caramel! The rich, moist cake is flavored with caramel syrup and then topped with a brown butter frosting that also gets its flare from the syrup. In the end I added a bit of dark chocolate ganache, which is a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the cake. I decorated the top of my sweet caramel cupcakes with giant roses, which I’ll show you how to make!
I baked the batter in cupcake papers and got about 28 in all, they took about 15 minutes to bake. After they came out of the oven and cooled I cut a small portion from the top using a paring knife.
I filled the holes with bittersweet chocolate ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate (72%), finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon rum (or vanilla)
Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until simmering. Place the chocolate in a medium size bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Make sure all the chocolate is covered and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Gently stir the chocolate mixture until perfectly smooth, not lumps. Add the butter and stir until melted and smooth. Add the creme fraiche and rum and stir. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the ganache is set up at room temperature you can pipe it into the cupcakes using a piping bag and round tip. It makes for a nice surprise in the center of your cupcake!
Now we can pipe the roses using the caramelized butter frosting from the challenge (recipe available at Culinary Curiosity) or any other buttercream or frosting.
You will need:
A Large Rose nail (the thing that looks like a giant thumb tack)
The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum has a nice description of the piping out an icing rose.
Your icing needs to be quite stiff to pull this off. If you icing is too soft, the rose will not hold its shape. You may need to add more powdered sugar to the icing to get the right consistency. Start by piping a large blob of icing in the center of the nail. You need to make sure that you build this blob up quite a bit so that you have room to work down from the top of it.
Now you will create the rose bud at the center of the flower. Hold the base of the nail in your left hand and the bag of icing at a 45° angle. The wide end of the rose tip will be facing down. Touch the tip to the top of your mound and as you squeeze the icing out rotate your nail counter clockwise. You will create a ribbon of icing and you will move the tip to the bottom of the mound. See above picture.
To create the petals you will start just where the bud and the mound meet. Again holding the bag at a 45° angle, you will squeeze the bag as you twist the nail counter clockwise. This time you only want to go nearly half way around the bud. Repeat on the other side.
To create the rest of the petals start in the middle of the last piped petal and repeat, but this time 5 petals all the way around your rose until you have it as full as you like.
Once your rose is piped to your liking, take your kitchen shears and cut the rose off the nail, right at the base. You will not want to completely shut the scissors, but leave them open enough to support the rose as you carry it to the cupcake. See how my scissors are still slightly open in above picture. Then I just lift off.
Carefull place the rose onto the cake or cupcake.