Let's be honest, I love cake. I make cakes for everyone in my family for their birthdays, I've made cakes for baby showers, and I've even made a wedding cake. There's something so fun about creating the perfect combination of cake, frosting, and either filling or topping that makes me super happy.
So when I received a copy of Cake Magic! by Caroline Wright I was super excited. It's basically a choose your own adventure cookbook filled with cakes, syrups, and frosting. Caroline Wright takes a basic cake mix and then adds additional ingredients to form the base for 8 different cakes. There's even a gluten free option! It's so awesome and I'm excited that you can win a copy of this cookbook too! Check out the end of my post for details on winning a copy of Cake Magic! by Caroline Wright.
So after choosing a cake you move on to the syrups section where there are 10 different syrups. Finally you go to the frosting section where there are 9 different frosting types. It's awesome to be able to choose one cake, one syrup, and one frosting and make so many different cakes! Plus there are variations for each recipe which allows you to make even more creative cakes. I love the idea of choosing your own cake along with the color photos that are included in this inventive cookbook.
Since the book is called Cake Magic! I decided to do a little magic of my own just in time for the beginning of the school year. I'm pretty famous in my county for being the teacher that brings sweets to school on a regular basis and I wanted to start the year off with something special. The Dream Cake caught my eye immediately.
What is a Dream Cake? The Dream Cake starts with coconut cake. The thing I like about this coconut cake is that it is made with coconut milk and coconut extract. Most of the coconut cakes I make have coconut flakes in them which changes the texture of the cake. This cake has an amazing crumb and tastes lightly of coconut. Plus there are chocolate chips added to batter for even more flavor.
After the cake was made I started on both the syrup and the frosting. The sweet cream syrup has just 4 ingredients and takes just minutes to make. The salted caramel frosting took a little longer because I made the salted caramel from scratch. The caramel is made with a technique I've never used before where the sugar is heated and melted until it has a caramel color before the other ingredients are added. I have to admit I learned something new and it tasted amazing! I could have eaten the salted caramel with a spoon if I didn't need it for my frosting.
The frosting is a basic buttercream with the salted caramel in it. It is so delicious. I will tell you, that salted caramel frosting is magic by itself! Put it on the delectable Coconut Chocolate Chip Cake and it may be the best cake I've ever made.
The cake itself was easy to assemble. I simple cut each of the two layers in half and then soaked them with the syrup then layered the cakes with the frosting. It's a simple cake and I sprinkled it was chocolate chips to finish it off. I like how simple and understated it looks on the outside because as soon as you cut into it you see the wow factor.
I'm not sure I can describe how amazing this cake is. Imagine layers of lightly flavored coconut cake studded with chocolate chips and tasting like sweet cream. Then imagine Salted Caramel Frosting in between each layer and all over the cake. It's a sweet cake that's bursting with flavor and I like the way the chocolate tames the sweetness a bit and the salted caramel adds a hint of salt. This was definitely a magical way to start off my school year. This Dream Cake is certainly a dream come true and I can't wait to make more cakes from Cake Magic!
For the Cake:
(Makes one 8- or 9-inch Two Layer Cake)
-Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pans
-All-purpose flour, for dusting the pans
-4 cups dry Cake Magic! Cake Mix (see below), whisked well before measuring
-¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt)
-⅔ cup melted and cooled unsalted butter or vegetable oil
-¾ cup full-fat coconut milk
-2 teaspoons pure coconut extract
-4 large eggs, at room temperature
For the Sweet Cream Syrup:
(Makes 1 cup)
-½ cup sugar
- ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
-Pinch of salt
-½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Salted Caramel Frosting:
(Makes 4 cups)
-1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup Salted Caramel (see ingredients below), plus extra for swirling, if desired
-½ teaspoon kosher salt
-4 cups (one 16-ounce box confectioners’ sugar)
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
(Makes 1 cup)
-½ cup sugar
-½ teaspoon kosher salt
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
-½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and side of the pan(s). Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess. (If making cupcakes, use liners instead of greasing and coating the tins.)
2. Place the cake mix in a large bowl. Stir in the yogurt, butter, coconut milk, coconut extract, and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Stir 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips into the batter. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
3. Bake until the layers are golden brown and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 35 to 40 minutes (40 to 50 minutes for a Bundt, 25 to 30 minutes for a 13 by 9-inch cake, and 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes). (At this point, coat the layers with syrup as directed and let them cool completely in the pans.)
4. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the sugar, cream, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and set aside to cool. Use the syrup warm or let it stand, covered, until it reaches room temperature.
5. After removing the cake layers from the oven, pierce them (still in the pans) at 1-inch intervals with a skewer or paring knife. Pour or brush the syrup over the layers, dividing it evenly. Set the layers aside, in the pans, on a wire rack to cool completely. (The syrup will soak into the cakes.)
6. When the cakes are cool and no longer wet to the touch, 1 to 2 hours, make the frosting: Combine the butter, caramel, salt, and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
a) For the Salted Caramel:
1. Combine the sugar and salt in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium to
medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the caramel is deep amber and smells of toasted nuts but has not begun to smoke, 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Tilt the pan away from you and stir in the butter and vanilla. Add the heavy cream in a thin stream (the caramel will swell, bubble, and possibly splatter, so be careful and don’t rush). Stir until the cream is incorporated, about 1 minute.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool completely before using (it will thicken significantly as it cools).
7. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of one of the cake layers to loosen it. (Turn the layers out of their pans 1 by 1, as you frost them.) Place the layer on a cake plate with strips of waxed, or parchment, paper underneath; these will catch any drips and keep your cake plate clean. Spread the layer with about a third of the frosting on top.
8. Frost the rest. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of the remaining cake layer. Invert it onto the frosted layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting.
Cake Magic! Cake Mix
(Makes 4 cups)
-2½ cups all-purpose flour
-1½ cups sugar
-¾ teaspoon baking soda
-¾ teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon table salt (see Note)
1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine. Whisk the mix again before measuring.
NOTE: It’s important to use table salt in the cake mix; other types will eventually settle out of the mix.
This post is sponsored by Workman Publishing Company in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.