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Oct 8, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake with Caramel Rum Frosting

I looked forward with much anticipation to this week's Baked Sunday Morning recipe: Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake with Caramel Rum Frosting (from the 2nd Baked book, Baked Explorations). I even bought a new baking mold (not a bundt pan) and was excited to use it. I set out to make the cake a few days ago.

Next to my first few failed macaron attempts, I've never felt so discouraged after baking something. If ever there was a recipe to make me weep, it'd probably be this one (ok, maybe I'm being overly dramatic...).

burnt sugar, before the addition of coconut and lemon juice

This stoneware bowl (from Anthropologie) is beautiful. Functional as a container (for fruit, etc.) and as a baking pan. While not a bundt in the strictest sense, I thought it would work... as long as I modified the baking time. I knew that without a center tube, and for how deep it is, a longer time in the oven was required for the interior to cook through. Keeping that in mind, I kept the cake in the oven an extra 25 minutes and tested with a toothpick. It came out clean... or did it?

Unfortunately, below is what the cake looked like when I cut into it. Like the cake, my heart sank.

What could I have done to prevent this messy disaster? Bake longer? At a lower temp? Use the correct pan next time? 

As the cake cooled, the center part began to sink, drastically, much to my dismay. At least it was starting to look like a bundt cake, right? The "frosting" -- more like a glaze, it was so thin and grainy -- was poured on top and seemed to make things worse. I took a few photos of it anyway (header pic at the top), despite the ever-widening crater forming.

When I finally cut into the cake, "frosting" mixed with mushy batter spilled out. I suspect the addition of the frosting/glaze, a lot of which had pooled in the middle, caused the center to cave in, soaking the insides of the cake which were already wet. It wasn't a pretty sight. It was actually kind of gross. I should probably take down the picture...

when baking disaster strikes... and salvaging what is left

Everything sat in a pool of lovely frosting/batter for a few minutes before I decided not to chuck the whole thing into the garbage... oh but it had crossed my mind. I cut the cooked outer part of the cake all around and placed the good pieces on a plate. In my worried state, it totally slipped my mind to decorate the top of the intact cake with the caramel shards... so no picture of that (but I give you a photo of a piece of cake with a few shards).

I'm a little embarrassed to post but in the spirit of baking along with others, I feel like I have to share my experience. And despite the disappointing outcome, I ended up actually liking what was left of the cake. It's because of this that I'm determined to attempt the recipe again... using a bundt pan next time. The frosting is another story. I'll have to see how my fellow BSM bakers fared with it. Hope they had better luck in both cake and frosting departments!

A few notes:

- I added an extra 2/3 cups of powdered sugar to the frosting, and even refrigerated it for about 10-15 minutes. Still came out a runny, off consistency. As mentioned it was more of a glaze than a frosting. 

- I used a dark-colored saucepan to make the burnt sugar/caramel. I recommend not doing that as it makes it difficult to observe the color of the sugar as it cooks. Use a light-colored pan.

- Not sure if it made a difference but I used coconut cream (not coconut milk) as that's all that I had on hand. The woman at the store told my husband it would be fine to use. I decided to use just the liquid in the can but there was barely enough to make the required amount of burnt sugar liquid.