Sunday, August 13, 2006

Burnt Sugar Cake and Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

After I saw Beth’s (of zen foodism) post about homemade vanilla ice cream, I decided to dig out my Cuisinart ice cream maker and do some experiementing. First up was a variation of Cuisinart’s recipe for Simple Vanilla Ice Cream. One of my favorite cakes growing up was one called Burnt Sugar Cake, a recipe handed down through my mother’s family. You start by burning (caramelizing) some sugar. I thought that maybe that flavor would be good in ice cream.

To caramelize sugar: Place the called-for amount of sugar in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Without stirring, heat the sugar until it’s turned dark and liquid. Remove from heat, and add 13 to 1/2 cup of water. Stir. A large amount of the sugar will immediately harden, but you need to stir for about 5 minutes until most of it has dissovled back into the water. The rest of the hardened sugar is stuck to your spoon, and will dissolve if you leave it in the water for another half hour to an hour. You then have a cooled syrup for use in your cake or ice cream recipe.

The cake is a definite sugar high, and the best part of it is the frosting. It’s like candy–fudge, really, since it hardens once you get it on the cake. My brothers and sisters and I always eat the cake part first, leaving an “M”-shaped bunch of frosting to enjoy at the end.

Burnt Sugar Cake
A Morlan/Floyd Family Recipe

3/4 c sugar
1/2 hot water
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c shortening
3 eggs
2 1/2 c flour
3 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 c milk

Caramelize 3/4 sugar by browning it slowly in heavy skillet. Add hot water slowly, stirring until clear. Cool.
Cream 1 1/2 c sugar and shortening. Add eggs. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar mixture alternately with vanilla and milk. Add caramelized sugar mixture. Bake in greased layer pans at 350˚ till tests done.

Burnt Sugar Frosting: Caramelize 3/4 c sugar; add 1/2 c hot water. Add 1 stick butter, 3/4 c milk, 1 t vanilla, and 2 c sugar. Cook over medium heat until sotf ball stage. Remove from heat. Beat until dull; quickly frost cake.

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

1 1/8 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 c whole milk
3 c heavy cream
1 1/2 T pure vanilla extract

Caramelize sugar by browning it slowly in heavy skillet. Add 1/2 c hot water slowly, stirring until clear. Cool. Stick spoon with the rest of the hardened sugar in it in a cup filled with some of the milk. Let stand about a half hour or so, until hardened sugar has dissolved into the milk. In a medium bowl, combine milk and caramelized sugar/water mixture. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Turn ice cream machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. Transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer for 2 hours before serving.

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