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His Grandma’s Caramel Cake

My Grandma’s Caramel Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

My Grandma’s Caramel Cake


For the cake:

4 cups cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

For the icing:

3/4 cup granulated sugar (for browning)

3 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 teaspoons flour

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk

2 sticks + 1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


For the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Butter two round 9×2 inch cake pans, line bottom with parchment paper and butter again.

3. Whisk flour baking powder, soda, and salt together and set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

5. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

6. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding another.

7. With mixer on low speed, mix in buttermilk until just combined.

8. Add flour mixture in three parts, mixing after each addition until just combined.

9. Do not over mix!

10. Pour batter in pans and drop the pans on the counter couple of times to remove bubbles.

11. Bake 35 – 40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

12. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes.

13. Remove from the pans and cool completely on racks.

For the icing:

1. Put 3/4 of sugar into cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat.

2. Let sugar melt and turn into an amber color.

3. While the sugar is melting, put 3 3/4 cups sugar, butter, flour, salt, evaporated milk into large sauce pan and bring to a boil.

4. Add melted/browned sugar and continue boiling until temperature reaches “soft ball” stage or 232 degrees.

5. Remove from heat and begin whisking.

6. Add vanilla and continue whisking until icing has cooled to a spreadable but not runny consistency.

To assemble:

1. Place bottom layer on a cake plate. ‘

2. Spread icing on top of bottom layer.

3. Place top layer on top of the iced bottom layer.

4. Spread icing on top layer and sides of cake.

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Coconut Layer Cake

Coconut Layer Cake


Why this recipe works: Too often, a coconut cake is just plain white cake with plain white frosting sprinkled with shredded coconut, lacking any real coconut flavor. Coconut cake should be perfumed inside and out with the cool, subtle, mysterious essence of coconut. Its layers of snowy white cake should be moist and tender, with a delicate, yielding crumb, and the icing a silky, gently sweetened coat covered with a deep drift of downy coconut.

For this type of cake, we found a traditional butter cake to be best. To infuse this cake with maximum coconut flavor, we relied on coconut extract and cream of coconut in the cake and the butter­cream icing. We also coated the cake with a generous amount of shredded coconut for more flavor and textural interest.

A triumvirate of coconut products puts maximum coconut flavor in this classic, tender cake.


Makes one 9-inch, 4-layer cake

Cream of coconut is often found in the soda and drink-mix aisle in the grocery store. One 15-ounce can is enough for both the cake and the buttercream; make sure to stir it well before using because it separates upon standing.

  • 1 large egg
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
  • 2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  •   pinch table salt
  • 1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks), each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1. For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour.
  • 2. Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.
  • 3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
  • 4. With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)
  • 5. Divide batter between cake pans and level with offset or rubber spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes (rotate cakes after about 20 minutes). Do not turn off oven.
  • 6. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes, then loosen cakes from sides of pans with paring knife, invert cakes onto racks and then re-invert; cool to room temperature.
  • 7. While cakes are cooling, spread shredded coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of golden brown and white, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.
  • 8. For the Buttercream: Combine whites, sugar, and salt in bowl of standing mixer; set bowl over saucepan containing 1 1/2-inches of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and registers about 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
  • 9. Transfer bowl to mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticky, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue to beat at medium-high speed until well-combined, about 1 minute.
  • 10. To Assemble the Cake: Follow illustrations in chart below. Cut into slices and serve. (Wrap leftover cake in plastic and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving.)

  • Assembling the Cake

    1. With a long serrated knife, cut both cakes in half horizontally so that each cake forms two layers.

  • 2. Put a dab of icing on a cardboard round cut just larger than the cake. Center one cake layer on the round.

  • 3. Place a large blob of icing in the center of the layer and spread it to the edges with an icing spatula.

  • 4. Hold the spatula at a 45-degree angle to the cake and drag it across the surface to level the icing. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining cake layers.

  • 5. To ice the sides of the cake, scoop up a large dab of icing with the tip of the spatula and spread it on the sides with short side-to-side strokes.

  • 6. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut. Then press the coconut into the sides, letting the excess fall back onto a baking sheet.


Americas Test Kitchen
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Mozzarella Gobi Koftas with Sweet Potato Raita

Mozzarella Gobi Koftas with Sweet Potato Raita

Recipe courtesy Bal Arneson

Total Time:

40 min

  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive Prep:
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: 4 to 6 koftas


  • 1 cup finely grated cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • Sweet Potato Raita, recipe follows
  • Sweet Potato Raita
  • 4-ounces sweet potato, cut into a small dice
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Pinch salt


In a medium-size bowl mix together the cauliflower, cheese, flour, yogurt, garam masala, and salt.

Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Roll the cauliflower mixture into balls about the size of golf balls and begin to place them in the heated oil. Fry on all sides, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve the koftas with the Sweet Potato Raita.

To make the raita:
Put sweet potatoes in a small saucepot and cover with water. Boil until tender, approximately 10 minutes and then drain and cool.

Put the sour cream and milk into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the onion, chives, garam masala, and salt and whisk well. Fold in the cooled sweet potatoes.

Cook’ s Note: Diced cucumbers can be substituted for the sweet potatoes.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes

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Crispy Sweet Potato Cakes

Crispy Sweet Potato Cakes

Total Time:

14 min

  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive Prep:
  • Cook: 4 min
  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 14 cakes


  • 2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil


Mash the sweet potatoes in a bowl and then add the chickpea flour, garam masala, ginger, salt, cilantro, and yogurt. Mix well and then form into small patties about 2-inches in diameter.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook the patties in batches so they have plenty of room to fry. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden and crispy and cooked through.

From Cooking Channel

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Gulab Jabun

Indian Doughnuts: Gulab Jabun

Recipe courtesy Bal Arneson

Total Time:

1 hr 0 min

  • Prep: 25 min
  • Inactive Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Yield: 12 doughnuts


  • Syrup
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 green cardamom pods
  • 8 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • Doughnuts
  • 3 cups dry milk powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil, for frying


For the syrup: Put the sugar, water, cardamom pods, cloves, and star anise in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is slightly thickened, about 25 minutes. Let the syrup cool slightly.

For the doughnuts: Mix the dry milk powder, all-purpose flour, and baking soda together in a large bowl and then slowly stir in the whipping cream until a loose dough is formed.

Oil your hands, and then divide and form the dough into balls about the size of golf balls. Heat the oil over very low heat in a high-sided saute pan and carefully begin to add the balls. Fry the doughnuts slowly until they are golden on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per doughnut. Be careful not to burn them. Put the doughnuts into the syrup and let them sit for at least 15 minutes. Remove the doughnuts from the syrup and serve warm or cold.


Cook’s Note: The end product should look like a mini golden brown doughnut.

From Cooking Channel

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Best Blueberry Muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins


Why this recipe works: Blueberry muffins should be packed with blueberry flavor and boast a moist crumb. But too often, the blueberry flavor is fleeting, thanks to the fact that the berries in the produce aisle have suffered from long-distance shipping. We wanted blueberry muffins that would taste great with blueberries of any origin, even the watery supermarket kind.

To intensify the blueberry in our muffins, we tried combining blueberry jam with fresh supermarket blueberries. The muffins baked up with a pretty blue filling, but tasters thought the jam made them too sweet. To solve this, we made our own fresh, low-sugar berry jam by simmering fresh blueberries on the stovetop with a bit of sugar. Adding our cooled homemade jam to the batter along with fresh, uncooked berries gave us the best of both worlds: intense blueberry flavor and the liquid burst that only fresh berries could provide.

As for the muffin base, we found that the quick-bread method—whisking together eggs and sugar before adding milk and melted butter, and then gently folding in the dry ingredients—produced a hearty, substantial crumb that could support a generous amount of fruit. We found that an equal amount of butter and oil gave us just the right combination of buttery flavor and moist, tender texture. To make the muffins even richer, we swapped the whole milk for buttermilk. Finally, for a nice crunch, we sprinkled lemon-scented sugar on top of the batter just before baking.

The best guarantee of a great blueberry muffin is to start with great blueberries. We wanted a recipe that would work even with the watery supermarket kind.


Makes 12 muffins

If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.

Lemon-Sugar Topping
  • 1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over
  • 1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.
  • 2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 11/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)
  • 4. Following photos below, use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.
  • 5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

  • When More Isn’t Better

    To boost berry flavor in a muffin, simply adding more blueberries isn’t the answer. With too many in the mix, the berries sink to the bottom, weighing the muffin down.



  • Making Muffins with Blueberry Flavor Through and Through

    Cook half of fresh blueberries into thick jam to concentrate their flavor and eliminate excess moisture.

    Stir 1 cup of fresh blueberries into batter to provide juicy bursts in every bite.

    Scoop batter into muffin pans, completely filling cups.

    Place 1 teaspoon of cooled berry jam in center of each batter-filled cup, pushing it below surface.

    Using chopstick or skewer, swirl jam to spread berry flavor throughout.

From Americas Test Kitchen 

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Strawberry Poke Cake

Strawberry Poke Cake

This is a recipe from Cooks Country. I have substituted the gelatin that they used in their recipe for agar-agar powder. Use extra strawberries to intensify the flavor as agar-agar is flavorless.

Strawberry Poke Cake

Strawberry poke cake was invented by Kraft Kitchens in 1969 as a way to increase Jell-O sales. Most corporate recipes are quickly forgotten, but this cake became extremely popular thanks to its festive look and easy assembly. But when we made the recipe in our test kitchen, we encountered two problems: dull strawberry flavor and soggy boxed-mix cake.

Test Kitchen Discoveries

  • For a sturdier cake that would hold up to hot agar-agar, we opted to make our own from scratch. The test kitchen’s white cake recipe worked perfectly, giving us the sturdy crumb we wanted.
  • To improve the strawberry flavor of the Jell-O, we combined it with the juice from cooked strawberries. We made a homemade “jam” from the berry solids and spread the mixture on top of the cake for an extra layer of flavor.

Perfecting the Poke

Finding the right poking device wasn’t as simple as you might think. Toothpicks were too small, while straws, handles of wooden spoons, pencils, and fingers were too big. A wooden skewer finally did the trick. But just poking didn’t create a large enough hole for the liquid to seep into. In order to create deep lines of red color against the white crumb, we had to poke and then twist the skewer to really separate the crumb.

My Notes

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Strawberry Poke Cake

Serves 12

The top of the cake will look slightly overbaked—this keeps the crumb from becoming too soggy after the agar-agar is poured on top.

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened, plus extra for preparing pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for preparing pan
4 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 cup whole milk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
6 large egg whites 
1 3/4 cups sugar 
Syrup and Topping
4 cups frozen strawberries 
6 tablespoons sugar 
2 tablespoons orange juice 
1/2 cup water 
2 tablespoons agar-agar powder 
2 cups heavy cream 

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk milk, vanilla, and egg whites in large measuring cup.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, in two batches, beating after each addition until combined, about 30 seconds each time. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir. Scrape into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan, at least 1 hour. Once cool, cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

3. For the syrup and topping: Heat 3 cups strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, juice, and water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook until liquid is deep red and strawberries are softened, about 10 minutes. Strain liquid into bowl, reserving solids, then whisk agar-agar into liquid. Let cool to room temperature, at least 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, poke about 50 holes in top of cooled cake (see photos). Slowly pour cooled liquid evenly over top of cake. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until agar-agar is set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

5. Pulse reserved strained strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, and remaining strawberries in food processor until mixture resembles strawberry jam. Spread strawberry mixture evenly over cake. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream with remaining sugar to soft peaks. Spread cream over strawberries. Cut cake into squares and serve.


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Sock-It-To-Me Cake

For this glazed, nutty cinnamon coffee cake, could we nix the yellow cake mix but keep the ease, please? Here’s what we discovered:

Test Kitchen Discoveries

  • We replaced milk with sour cream in the cake, which yielded a moister crumb.
  • Instead of the vegetable oil of the original back-of-the-Duncan-Hines-box recipe, we used more flavorful melted butter in the cake batter.
  • For the ripple of streusel in the cake, we toasted pecans, then ground them in the food processor with flour, cinnamon, and sugar. Melted butter added richness and moisture.
  • We also used the food processor to speed up our cake batter and to give the cake a finer crumb.
  • For a finishing touch, we made a simple glaze of vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, and milk to drizzle over the cake.


Sock-It-To-Me Cake without a Food Processor

The food processor gives the cake a finer crumb, but if you don’t have one, you can make the streusel and batter by hand. For the streusel, finely chop the pecans, and then combine them in a small bowl with the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter until evenly incorporated. For the cake, combine the dry ingredients as directed in the recipe. Whisk the sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla separately in a large bowl, and then slowly pour in the butter until the mixture is emulsified. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, whisking until just combined. Continue with filling the prepared pan and baking, as directed.

Sock-It-To-Me Cake

Serves 12

This cake can also be baked in a 12-cup nonstick tube pan. Using baking spray (a combination of vegetable oil and flour) is the best way to ensure a perfect release from the pan.

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
3/4 cup pecans , toasted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 cups granulated sugar 
4 large eggs , room temperature
1 cup sour cream , room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
16 tablespoons unsalted butter  (2 sticks), melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar 
1 1/2 tablespoons milk , whole or low-fat
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1. MAKE STREUSEL Process flour, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in food processor until finely ground. Transfer streusel to bowl and wipe out food processor.

2. MAKE BATTER Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. In food processor, blend sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute. With machine running, slowly pour in butter until incorporated, then add flour mixture and pulse until just combined.

3. LAYER AND BAKE Pour half of batter into prepared pan and top with streusel mixture. Cover with remaining batter, using rubber spatula to smooth surface. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool cake in pan 20 minutes.

4. GLAZE While cake is cooling, whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla in bowl until smooth. Turn out cake onto rack set inside rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over warm cake. Cool completely, at least 2 hours. Serve. (Cake can be stored at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap, for 2 days.)

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