Monday, September 12, 2011

Toffee Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake With Caramel Glaze and Sea Salt: Sticky hands

I bought Husband one of those Living Social massage coupons a while back, and as it turns out, he won't be able to use it before the expiration.  This frustrates me because I thought for sure he would love the massage experience but it turned out that he just didn't have an hour to set aside to go.  So now, I have this extra massage  gift certificate.

Logic would say that I should just use the massage for myself and not even worry about it, except I DO NOT like massages.  I'd like to repeat that for all of the people who missed it the first time.  I do not like massages.  Not even a little bit.  I might like a brief rub on the neck, but even that isn't really what I like because what I want more than anything is simply this, NOT to be touched.

From the moment I wake up, to the moment I manage to corral the kids into bed, I am being touched.  They want to hug me, touch me, ask for hugs and kisses, sit on me, rub their feet on me, wipe their sticky hands on my pants and for the most part, can't keep their HANDS off of ME!  Add Husband and his desire to hold me, touch me and have physical contact with me (of the non-dirty kind...ahem) means that in a day, there are just too many people on my body.

What I'd like in reality, more than a massage, is a room, where I can sit, read a book and NOT be touched.  Not once.  I'd like there to be no human contact for an hour, and that, I am sure would be more relaxing than a massage.  As it is, I have to use this gift certificate up and I tried to get my friend to take it and she refused.  I'm still working on another friend to take it, and hopefully I'll manage to convince SOMEONE to take this massage...someone who enjoys being touched.

Sometimes, I do find that making something in the kitchen is a way to afford a few touch-free moments for myself, especially when making caramel.  It isn't hard, this caramel making, but it does require a bit of diligence and precision and the result is this fantastically beautiful glaze to pour over your cake and just enjoy. I'll defer to this great post about caramel that I found on Dave Lebovitz's site.  (He has beautiful photographs to take you through the process and I couldn't capture the same quality of photos.)  The most important thing about making caramel is making sure that you don't burn the sugar when you melt it, and if you are successful in that, really the rest is very very easy.  And the results are very very delicious.  And it's so good, you won't mind the sticky hands trying to massage more stress into your life.
Toffee Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce and Sea Salt
Makes 10-inch bundt cake, serving 12 to 14

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds removed (empty vanilla bean used for the syrup)
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup toffee chips (like Heath or Skor)

1 cup sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (½ stick of butter)

Sea salt (I used fleur de sel)

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour inside of 10 inch bundt pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using either a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 to 40 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla bean. At low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream. (Add a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour.)

Scoop half of batter in pan. Sprinkle ¼ cup of toffee chips over the surface of the batter. Scoop remaining batter on top and smooth out.

Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto another rack. Place the cake, on the rack, over a baking sheet.

While cake is baking, make caramel. Have both butter and cream, measured and ready to go. In a heavy bottom sauce pan (bigger is better - go for a 2 or 3 quart saucepan) add sugar and heat over medium high heat. The sugar will begin to melt and caramelize. As this happens, slowly drag sugar to the center of the pan and swirl the pan around so as to not burn the sugar. Allow all the sugar crystals to melt, using patience and diligence to watch and check the caramel. As soon as the sugar is all melted and is dark amber in color (Dave Leibovitz says like the color of a dirty copper penny) add butter all at once and whisk vigorously incorporating it into the sugar syrup. After butter is all melted remove from heat. Add cream and whisk until the caramel is a delicious mixture, all uniform in texture. Transfer caramel to a jar.

Once cake has cooled for an hour, pour caramel over the entire surface of the cake. Using a spoon, spoon caramel over hard to “pour” areas, covering as much of the surface of the cake as possible. (I used up about ½ of my caramel sauce.) Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Serve and watch for sticky fingers.

Printable recipe

Let me be alone with this cake

The bundt pan I love

The vanilla bean I love


Anonymous said...

Ahhhh! Yesssssssssss! Will make ASAP!

Mary said...

I'm not alone! I thought I was the only one in the world who didn't like massages...totally with you on this one. =) Good luck getting rid of that certificate...and this cake looks DELISH.

katchimo said...

Lol I'll take those tickets. JK. I do love massages though. But mostly I sit in a jacuzzi and finish my hour or so of relaxation in a Sauna. Sauna's are the bessssstttt

Joy said...

Your bundt cakes always look so good.

EP said...

Could I use vanilla paste instead of vanilla bean?

Joanne Choi said...

EP - go ahead and use vanilla paste!

the sexual said...

Pretty helpful material, thanks so much for the article.

Jodie said...

I've always used water with the sugar when making caramel. Just wanted to double check that this wasn't a typo/missing ingredient. I ended up using 1/2 cup water and it turned out great.

cathy said...

i don't see where u use the vanilla bean in the syrup or am i just missing it

Anonymous said...

Can you use just vanilla? I don't have any vanilla bean and wanna make ASAP>>>

Send gifts to pakistan said...

Thanks for sharing information!!!!!!!!!

Send gifts to pakistan said...

Thanks for sharing information!!!!!!!!!

Laurie said...

Awesome recipe, truly. I made it this weekend and got 2nd prize in a competitive annual bake-off at work. No mean feat! I used a light sour cream instead of regular. The cake texture is magical and perfect, the flavor of the cake with the sauce is exquisite. I blogged my adventures here.

Laurie said...

I just made this again for New Year's Eve. Huge hit. It just gets more delicious.

Patricia Trimble said...

I have never had a massage either because I don't want one. Ever probably. LOVE the recipe tho. Bundt cakes are my favorite cakes to make.

Kwiltmaker said...

I hate massages, too! My husband says I'm weird, but if I need to relax, put me in a room alone with a good book and NOOO kids/hubby/dogs/cats, and I'll be right as rain in no time! I also love to cook for relaxation, so this cake is next on my list! Sounds scrumptious.

Susan Tilney said...

This cake is amazing and delicious and awesome. OH MY!! And the fleur de sel is a PERFECT foil for all that wonderfully sweet caramel sauce. Moist and delicious; a fabulous recipe! THANK YOU!

Orchideanouk said...

Oh my! I just made the cake. The cake split exactly where the toffee was!!!!

Lisalahmann said...

I just made this cake over a very rainy weekend and it is outstanding! I look forward to sharing it with a group. I felt very professional after making the caramel :). I did not have a vanilla bean but used good quality vanilla and also used salted butter because that was all I had (I omitted the salt addition to the flour). Thank you for the tutorial on caramel, I will not be afraid of making it from scratch anymore!

GodFamilyFood said...

Made the cake and loved it! I was wondering if you or anyone else knew if you could make the caramel sauce into caramel chews by adding a half a cup more sugar? I don't like using corn syrup and I've tried recipes that use honey and have not liked them. The caramel sauce was amazing and would love to achieve the same flavor but in a candy chew. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I made this cake last night for my mothers birthday. I did not get to taste it yet. but the Caramel is out of this world!!!!!

mobo said...

How/where do I use the empty vanilla bean?

Anonymous said...

Regarding where to use the vanilla bean- it is used in the cake batter.

"Using either a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 to 40 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla bean"

Sarah said...

Valueable information. Thanks for sharing.


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