Salted Caramel Sugar Loaf
Few things make me happier than salted caramel and chicken rice. Chicken rice, while very ubiquitous in Singapore, is something that I find very hard to make well. Salted caramel, that beautifully French combination that oscillates between savory and sweet? Not so much molecular gastronomy as adding salt to caramelised sugar and cream. Making something with salted caramel has been on my cards since I met one of my readers turned amazing friend, Sher Reen (miss you hon!), for coffee last year where we debated over who and who sold the best salted caramel cupcakes in Melbourne. That debate naturally turned into a web quest for the best salted caramel cupcakes recipe that we found and oohed over.
Still, I didn’t have an inclination to try the recipe out for myself. I may have become more enthusiastic about baking these past few months but I draw the line at cupcakes. They’re too much work for one lazy person and their nature as “perfectly portioned” treats (nobody stops at one, nobody!) makes them the best ill-disguised waistline trolls since donuts.
This salted caramel loaf takes the bitch out of making itty bitty cupcakes yet retains all of that luscious flavour. I was tempted to make a cupcake frosting for my loaf but went for the glaze instead since it’ll last longer and any remains would make an amazing spread over slices of toast. Also, frosting makes me do very bad things that I wouldn’t care to repeat post-sugar rehab. This recipe was based on a combination of two recipes: my matcha tea loaf recipe (no matcha and replaces the white sugar with the brown variant) and The Truffle Honey’s salted caramel bundt cake (the glaze).
Brown Sugar Loaf
1⁄2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature (or yoghurt if you’re out of sour cream)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Glaze
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 stick of butter
1/4 cup whipping cream* (Not really an accurate measurement since I kinda eyeballed this, the trick is not to add too much or you’ll end up with syrupy sauce instead of a glaze so be careful when adding the cream!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.
2. Butter a loaf pan. Line with a piece of parchment paper that covers bottom and long sides (leave some poking up from the pan to facilitate lifting the loaf out later). Butter the parchment paper.
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with sour cream. Add vanilla, and mix 1 minute.
4. Pour into loaf pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire cooking rack for a few minutes. Lift cake out by the parchment handles and allow to cool completely on rack.
For the caramel glaze:
1. Pour the sugar into a medium sized sauce pan and heat on the stove over medium-low heat, allowing the sugar to melt, whisking often. This will take forever. Just kidding – it’ll take about 5-7 minutes.
2. When the sugar becomes slightly sticky and golden brown in color, add the butter and whisk quickly and constantly. Once the butter and sugar are well combined, which will take about 5 minutes, remove this mixture from the heat.
3. Add the cream to the pot with the caramel and stir well until the caramel is thick and creamy. Pour the glaze into a bowl and set aside to cool a bit.
4. Pour the caramel glaze over the cake (the glaze can still be warm when you do this, but it shouldn’t be burning hot), and sprinkle with sea salt.
A cautionary tale for like-minded finger-dipping taste testers such as myself: Do not attempt to dip your finger into the caramelizing sugar! Even though it doesn’t look like it, trust my blistered forefinger that it is pretty damn askldjsakdlj hot.
Sorry you haven’t seen an entry from me in over a month, guys! There comes a few moments in a semester when assignments are timed to be submitted in the same week. It is a sly and terrible thing to do to university students but such is life. Happy Eid by the way!! I’m a little sad Ramadhan’s over but oh my gosh yes food, hello! Before I say goodbye, here’s some extra delicious reading material from the New York Times: How Caramel Developed a Taste For Salt. Don’t say this blog ain’t educational.