This month’s inspiration came primarily from BAKED Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (been out since 2008 but new to me) with their recipes for a caramel cake (Burnt Sugar Bundt) and caramel-filled brownies (Sweet & Salty). For the last few years, every time I would go into Williams-Sonoma, I’d make it a point to flip through this book. I don’t know why it took me so long to buy it! I read the book, cover to cover, and happily and surprisingly found that these guys share my personal dessert philosophy as well as a unanimous estimation of the brownie. Brownies have long been my ultimate treat; I’ve even joked that I consider them vitamins due to their therapeutic properties 🙂
It was all about caramel this month; can’t get enough of it apparently! We used Halloween as our theme, which led to orange and black colors and a creepy watercolor effect for the treat sign and brownie picks.
Here’s the menu:
- Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake with Caramel Rum Buttercream
- Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Salted Caramel Brownies with Caramel Drizzle
Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake. The cookbook description for this cake was dead-on! Delicious flavor owed to the addition of coconut milk, a hefty amount of butter, and a neat technique where the sugar is melted (caramel) past the usual amber color. I had to part ways when it came to the frosting, however. I used all the same ingredients called for in the recipe – the same burnt sugar liquid used in the cake, rum, butter, and powdered sugar – just in different proportions. It comes down to the consistency that you prefer and in my case, I use much less butter but more powdered sugar.
The neatest part was that the authors show you how to elevate the cake with a striking but simple sugar decoration. You melt a half cup of granulated sugar over medium heat until it turns amber. Pour the melted sugar on a cookie sheet fitted with silicone mat. Allow to cool. Break into shards and arrange on your cake. AWESOME! Bottom line: this perfectly fall recipe is a keeper.
Pumpkin Bread. This bread, actually, it’s a pumpkin cake in loaf form, is AMAZING! We make it every year and get a ton of positive feedback. Moist, dense, lightly-spiced, and lightly-sweetened with a creamy topping – we can’t get enough of it. It’s easy to justify eating for breakfast, and did I mention, it’s on our menu for October!
Salted Caramel Brownies. Yes, yes, yes! Salty and sweet, dense and moist, these treats hit all the right notes! They are filled with dark chocolate, butter, and scratch-made salted caramel. The caramel recipe differs slightly from the standard with the addition of sour cream. This prevents the caramel from baking into brownie batter keeping them really gooey! For the order, we cut them into smaller pieces, stacked them, drizzled them with more salted caramel, and topped with an extra sprinkling of salt. If you’re as big of brownie fans as we are, you will love these gems which are also on our menu!
corrie @ Peachie’s Treats