I have had this dark honey cake pinned for years. It was one of my first pins and I have been thinking about making it for so long, I think that I had built it up in my mind into something magical. I remembered that there was a homemade caramel sauce and whipping cream with it and having these added components is what stopped me from making it sooner. It just sounded…complicated. Luckily it wasn’t at all. The cake came together quickly and I made the caramel sauce, but I have to admit that I planned on saying that you could just buy a caramel sauce at the store. Yeah, I was very wrong on that count. Don’t even think about not making this caramel sauce. It is the stuff that dreams are made of. In fact I wrote a poem about it.
Ode to Salted Caramel Sauce
Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways
I love thee in the morning with yogurt, oatmeal and pancakes
I love thee in the noon day with grahams, apples and ice cream shakes
I love thee all throughout the day when I only wield a spoon
I loved thee until thou wast gone; I hope you return soon.
So I guess you can tell that I fell kind of hard for the caramel sauce. I was amazed at how much I loved this sauce. I’m normally more of a chocolate girl. I like caramel, but if I’m given the choice between a caramel or a hot fudge sundae, the hot fudge will win every time. My love of this caramel sauce took me completely by surprise and soon I was dipping all kinds of things in the caramel (see poem), but then I decided to stop wasting calories on the vehicle and just grab a spoon and satisfy the craving that way. (could someone please tell me why I’m constantly needing to diet?) 😉
What I learned after making this a few times is that you want to whisk the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves and then turn up the heat and leave it alone. How long you let it brown will determine how dark your caramel sauce is. The one pictured above was just barely brown. Other batches I let go about a minute longer and they were much darker. All of them were good. 🙂 The key thing that I learned, is that you cannot add all of the cream at once. The sugar will seize up and you’ll have hard sugar chunks stuck to your whisk (tasty, but no bueno). You have to temper the sugar by adding the cream a quarter cup a time, stirring constantly. Keep that in mind and you should be golden.
The cake (get the recipe here) had a mild flavor and it went well with the caramel sauce. The flavors worked well together and neither was overpowering. The dark part of it was cocoa, but it wasn’t super chocolately. I liked the honey used as the sugar in the cake and it wasn’t as dense as I would have thought. I thought that using shortening in cake was different but it worked fine. I think that it would also be good with a hot fudge sauce, but then you wouldn’t have reason to make the salted caramel sauce, and you really need to make the caramel sauce.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream, adding only a quarter cup at a time and thoroughly whisking before adding the next. The mixture will bubble and steam. Stir in the butter and salt. Allow to cool. Store in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
It’s officially the middle of summer and I don’t know how it is in your neck of the woods, but here in Arizona it is HOT! It’s the kind of hot that makes you only want to eat light foods that won’t weigh you down and lucky for you I have the perfect dessert for just such a day: Lemon Fluff.
Lemon Fluff has been a favorite of mine since I was little. I remember my mom making it until I was around 5 or 6 and then not having it for years. It turns out around that time my mom helped make a dinner for our church and her part was to make 15 pans of Lemon Fluff. After that my mother didn’t want to make it again. When I was coming home from college one year my mother asked what I’d like for her to make while I was home and this dessert immediately came to mind. It has now become a staple for me every time that I go home (I took this picture when I was at home this summer. Don’t you just love my mom’s china?) and it’s one of my favorite things to have in the heat of the summer.
Lemon Fluff is just what is sounds like, light, airy and so good I could sit down and eat an entire 9×13 pan in one sitting with no problem at all.
It has a graham cracker crust on the bottom that is the perfect compliment to the mousse like lemon mixture on the top.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when making this dessert. First is to get the evaporated milk into the refrigerator ahead of time so that it has time to chill. The second thing is to make sure that you don’t let the jello set. This is what I’ve messed up on the most. It still tastes good but ideally you don’t want chunks of jello in the whipped lemon mixture
This is perfect for serving at a small intimate affair and it’s great for a crowd. Just don’t be surprised when people ask for seconds, thirds ,and fourths, because it’s that good.
Place evaporated milk in the refrigerator to chill (I like to do this the night before). Crush graham crackers into crumbs. Mix crumbs, butter and 1/3 C sugar together and press evenly into a 9x13 pan and put into the refrigerator to chill. Dissolve jello, 3/4 C sugar, and lemon juice in boiling water. Chill jello until almost set (be careful not to let it set all the way!). Whip chilled milk with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the jello mixture and whip together. Pour over the crust and let chill a minimum of 2 hours.
When I was somewhere around five, I remember my mother making a Hot Fudge Cake. It was a cake that had boiling water poured over the top before it was cooked and then magically that water seeped under the cake while cooking and made a layer of hot fudge. I believe that she served it with milk. I don’t think that she ever made it again. I always secretly hoped that one day she would decide to pull out that recipe and treat us to that hot fudge goodness once more, but it never happened. I found out when I grew older that my father doesn’t like chocolate cake (how I never noticed this fact growing up, I don’t know) and so that’s why my mother never made it again. One time when I was home from college I asked my mother about the recipe and she gave me a bizarre look like “I can’t believe you remember that” and looked for it but didn’t find it. So, I continued through life, though not as happily as if I had this recipe in my arsenal. 😉
Lightly grease your slow cooker. To make the cake, mix together the sugar, flour,
cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in milk, melted butter and vanilla until well combined. (The batter will be very thick) Spread the batter over the bottom of your slow cooker.
Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa, and chocolate chips. Pour evenly over the cake batter.
Carefully pour the boiling water over the top, making sure to not make divots in any one place of the cake. Do not stir! The water should be sitting on top of the batter.
Put the lid on and cook on high for 1 hour, (the outside edges should start to look "cakey,") then turn heat to low and cook for a further 2-2.5 hours.
Turn off the heat, serve immediately or remove the lid and let sit for 20-30 mins. (It will thicken as it cools, so it's personal preference on how soon you want to eat it.) You can also put the slow cooker on low until you are ready to serve it. Serve cake warm with ice cream or milk.