Despite my best intentions, that “day off” on Thanksgiving never actually happened. Instead, I found myself baking frantically all afternoon, rushing to complete this month’s Daring Baker Challenge before it was too late. Shuna Fish Lydon’s caramel cake was an excellent choice by Dolores, Jenny, and Alex, but putting it off until the very last moment was just asking for trouble. Sure, the first attempt was edible, but it sure as hell wasn’t pretty, and most disappointingly, was inexcusably bland. Unwilling to give up and serve this boring, amateurish cake, it was back into the kitchen for me!
Keeping things simple and veganizing the cake by using EnerG to replace the egg, there was no time for fancy ingredients or iffy procedures. Adding a pinch of five spice powder to the batter this time in hopes of livening up the flavor, the situation started looking better by the minute. Into a long, thin jelly roll pan it went this time, baking in a record 15 minutes. It certainly wasn’t one of the more difficult recipes to begin with, but at this point it seemed like a done deal.
Naturally, there was only one thing I wanted to do with this jelly roll: Roll it! When that cake wrapped snugly around the layer of silky and sweet caramel frosting, making it out in one piece, the clouds suddenly seemed to lift. All it needed was a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and then to gild the lily, a few pieces of star-shaped caramel candy.
This was a whole different beast than the original cake- and thank goodness! Some claimed it reminded them of gingerbread, while others could only puzzle over that enciting spice. There were raves, and a chunk of it was taken away with the dinner guests. What a relief, and a what a wonderful way to celebrate one full year of being a Daring Baker!
Perhaps the early disappointment was lucky, because it led to a far more spectacular dessert in the end.