I posted a picture of the completed cake on the BAKED facebook page and listed the things I thought I could have done better (I was still recovering from the pasta debacle): The cake batter was too light meaning I didn’t burn the sugar enough, the frosting was runny, and the shards on the top of the cake resembled those glass pieces roofs have in Southern California to keep the birds away. I felt a little better about it when their facebook moderator said it looked great – didn’t answer my question about the amount of rum the recipe called for, but it did make me feel like I hadn’t totally flubbed it up. Thankfully, regardless of how it looked, it tasted very good and has already been shared with two sets of grandparents.
My favorite part of making it was creating the shards for the top – and getting to use my new cake platter that I got for Christmas. I think it would make any flop look amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, the cake tastes wonderful. Like all the recipes in Baked Explorations, it is a twist on something you have probably made before – a normal bundt cake. The addition of the coconut milk adds richness and moisture, the rum in the frosting is just plain good, and the shards give it a kind of other-wordly appeal.
Burnt Sugar: In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar until it reach a dark amber color, stirring constantly. Once the right color has been reached, remove from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream, adding it in a slow drizzle so that the sugar doesn’t clump. Put the pan back on medium heat and cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring to smooth things out. Pour the caramel into a 2 cup measuring cup (heat proof) and add in coconut milk until you have 1 1/4 cups of liquid. Stir in the lemon juice, divide the liquid in half and set aside. Half will be used for the cake and half for the frosting.
Cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, thoroughly incorporating and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each egg is added. Pour in the vanilla, mix for a short time, and then grab your flour and 1 of the portions of the burnt liquid. In three additions, alternately mixing in the flour and the burnt liquid, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour the batter into a bundt pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. (My cake took almost an hour to bake)
Once a toothpick comes out clean, cool the cake IN THE PAN on a cooling rack until completely cool. Run a knife around the edges, invert onto a cooling rack, and pray that it comes out cleanly.
Frosting: Using a food processor or a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, rum, and remaining burnt liquid. From my experience, I would start with only 1 t of the rum and then add in more as you see fit. I followed the instructions perfectly and my frosting was very drizzly.
Burnt sugar shards: in a medium saucepan over high heat, cook the sugar and 1 t water until the sugar is a dark amber color. Immediately pour onto a silpat lined baking sheet. The sugar will flow out over the pan and harden really quickly. Once it is cool, pick it up and break it into shards.
Assembly: Pour or frost the cake with the frosting and place the shards on the top. I actually put a little pressure on them and used the cake as a base so they would stand up. Slice and serve!
Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake
adapted from Baked Explorations
Burnt Sugar Liquid
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
enough coconut milk to make 1 1/4 cup liquid (3/4 cup)
1 1/2 T lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 of the burnt sugar liquid
Caramel Rum Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 T dark rum
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 of the burnt sugar liquid
Burnt Sugar Shards
1/2 cup sugar
1 t water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Burnt Sugar Liquid: Cook the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until a dark amber color, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly to help prevent clumping. Return to heat and stir until smooth – about 2 minutes. Remove from heat again and pour into a 2-cup measuring cup (like Pyrex) and then pour in enough coconut milk so that you have 1 1/4 cup liquid – it takes about 3/4 cup of coconut milk.
Bundt Cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, and salt) and set aside. Cut the butter into small cubes and using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy – about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs one by one, scraping down the sides after each egg is completely combined. Stir in the vanilla. In three separate additions, add in the flour and liquid alternatively, beginning and ending with flour. Give the batter one final stir with a spatula, making sure to get all of the flour off of the bottom of the bowl. Pour into a bundt pan prepared with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out completely clean. Place onto a cooling rack and allow it to cool in the pan.
Caramel Rum Frosting: In a food processor, mix all of the ingredients together at once, adding a little bit more liquid or powdered sugar (in 1/4 increments) until it is a consistency you like. (I would start with 1 t liquid and add as necessary.)
Burnt Sugar Shards: In a medium saucepan over high heat, mix together the sugar and 1 t water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar is a deep amber color. Pour immediately onto a silpat lined baking sheet. Allow it to cool and then break into shards.
Assembly: Place the cake onto a cake platter or serving plate and frost. Top with the caramel shards, slice and serve!