My desire is for my kids to have great memories of growing up in our house. When they get older, I want them to remember having wonderful homemade food, especially during holidays. Truth is, I want them to say nobody can cook like my mom! The problem is it is difficult to have time to do a lot of cooking and baking for one holiday meal.
My very favorite cake is an old fashioned caramel cake. Actually, it is not about the cake at all for me. It is all about the icing!! No soft fluffy icing on a caramel cake. The texture has to be slightly hard to the touch. The kind of icing that breaks when you stick your fork in it. Basically, the kind of caramel cake only our grandmothers and great aunts can make. I always say what are we going to do when that generation is gone. Who is going to make the caramel cake and the dressing?
I learned to make a cake like this several years ago and it pretty much takes me all day. The cake is easy but the icing is difficult. You have to have two pots of sugar cooking at once. One pot cooks at least twenty minutes. You have to use a candy thermometer and then beat it for twenty minutes and then it is hit or miss that it will turn out. Many times I have scraped off icing and started over because it hardens to fast. But when it works, it is heaven on a cake stand.
I got a free cake mix couponing last week. My son wanted caramel cake for his birthday cake, so I thought I would see if I could find a recipe using a cake mix on the Internet. This recipe was from food network. I made the cake with my caramel icing and the cake was wonderful. Everyone raved and raved over it. Three grandmothers here and they all said, “We can tell that this cake was made from scratch. We know Sherry would never use a mix.” I said it was made from scratch because I think that all the work that went into the icing counts as being from scratch. My family agreed that it was as good as my homemade recipe.
Since the cake was so easy and good, I thought I would try to find an easier icing with the same texture. I used the recipe that was on the same site as the cake recipe. It turned out to be pretty darn close without all the work. I will never use my old recipe again.
Add the confectioners sugar and the vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is smooth.
Quick, spread on cake while it is thin and warm. Here is a tip. If I am spreading icing between layers, I will make another recipe for the outside so that I will not be rushed.
Pour the icing in the center. You may have to move it to the sides with a cake knife. Place the top layer on top. I make a new batch here.
Pour icing in the center of the cake. It will start running off the sides. You probably will not have to smooth the top at all.
Take your cake knife and go around the sides, working quickly. It should be getting harder now. As it is running down the sides, keep turning and smoothing. It will not be perfectly smooth.