V-dizzy Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 9:37am

So I am trying to make caramel cream cheese filling and buttercream to supplement an apple-flavored cake (recipes are all from martha stewart's cake decorating book). The apple cake came out great, but I can't make the caramel part of the filling to save my life.

I tried 3 times with 4 1/2 c sugar and 2/3 c water. The first time I followed the recipe exactly - combining water and sugar and cooking over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved and washing down the sides with a pastry brush. I then brought it to a boil without stirring, let it boil and boil, and it never turned any sort of amber color, it just turned into a crystallized mess.

Try #2 i stirred it hardly at all (I thought i could have been over-stirring in the beginning the first time) and the same thing happened.

Try #3 I did the entire process at a medium-low heat, i was super careful in washing down the sides of the pot and in making sure all the sugar was dissolved before it boiled, and it still crystallized on me...I even tried to scoop out the sugar crystals i saw forming on the surface, but no luck there either.

Sigh. Any suggestions?

30 replies
terrig007 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 11:25am

I have the same problem myself. Maybe we can both find out.

Mike1394 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 12:57pm

I don't understand the med-low heat. Turn it up as high as it will go to keep the flames inside the pot. Everything else is perfect.

Mike

Deb_ Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 1:14pm

Are you using a candy thermometer? Just boiling and boiling it isn't telling you that it's reaching the correct temp. It takes a while. Try making it using a candy thermometer.

Loucinda Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 1:59pm

A really easy way to make caramel is to take a can of sweetened condensed milk - open the can, dump it in a small heavy saucepan and cook it, make sure to keep stirring it (it will scortch easy) - when it is close to what you want take it off the stove - it will thicken some when cooled. Since doing it this way, I have never made caramel the old way again.

V-dizzy Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 2:22pm

thanks for the replies - I did use a candy thermometer the last time, it got to 275 before it went bad...

And i don't have any flames inside my pot? I didn't know you were supposed to - how does this work??

And would sweetened condensed milk be fine to use in filling/buttercream? would you have to refrigerate it? (sorry I'm naive I've never used it for anything before)

Loucinda Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 2:43pm

Yes, you can use the sweetened condensed milk (cooked to caramel) just fine. (it is all the ingredients used to make REAL caramels - which are not refrigerated either) It is the only way I make caramel filling now. YUMMY.

djs328 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 2:55pm

Loucinda - do you add the caramel to anything before using it as a filling, or just 'as is' slather all the yummy goodness between those layers? icon_wink.gif

2SchnauzerLady Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 3:07pm

Loucinda: do you cook the milk on med or med high, what temp do you use?

Mike1394 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 3:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by V-dizzy

thanks for the replies - I did use a candy thermometer the last time, it got to 275 before it went bad...

And i don't have any flames inside my pot? I didn't know you were supposed to - how does this work??

And would sweetened condensed milk be fine to use in filling/buttercream? would you have to refrigerate it? (sorry I'm naive I've never used it for anything before)




Just keep the flames to the bottom of the pot. Don't turn it up so high where the flames start up the sides.
Yeah you need more heat.
Mike

Loucinda Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 3:15pm

I ususally just slather the yummy caramel on there! (you can mix it with a buttercream, just don't cook it as long so it will incorporate easier)

I use medium - low heat, and remember to STIR constantly. It takes a while to get it where I want it - I never have timed it, but it is like 10 minutes or so on med.-low heat. You can tell when it is getting thicker and a nice rich caramel color.

djs328 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 3:18pm

THANKS, Loucinda, so much....
hungry now... icon_wink.gif Gonna go get on the elliptical - I think I just gained 5 lbs reading this thread and thinking about it! LOL!!!

Loucinda Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 3:40pm

You're welcome! icon_smile.gif It may take longer than the 10 minutes, (like I said I have never timed it!) You will be able to tell when it is right by the color and consistency. It is to die for yummy!! icon_wink.gif

Peridot Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 4:38pm

Loucinda,

That's all you use if the sweetened cnodensed milk? You don't add anything else. How much caramel do you get when it is finished cooking - 1 cup?

Do you let it cook completely before using as a filling? Do you do more than one can at a time? Can you keep leftovers and reuse? If you stored in the refrig do you need to warm it up before using again?

Sorry for all of the questions but if this is as good as you say - then I need to try it. Sounds soooooo good!

Thanks

itsacake Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 5:16pm

If you add a small amount of corn syrup to your sugar and water, it helps keep the sugar from crystallizing.

We used the following percentages:
100 percent sugar
30 percent water
10 percent corn syrup

Cook until it is the color you want, Stir and wash down crystals before it boils, but not after, though you can gently swirl the pan.

If you start with 4 1/2 cups sugar, that is 900 grams as your 100 percent. Then 30 percent would be 270 grams of water or 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons. ( I'm sure just one cup would be fine )Then you'd use 90 grams of corn syrup- just over 1/4 cup. (So much easier to use metric weights!)

If you don't have corn syrup, but have a lemon, a bit of lemon juice will also inhibit crystallization.

We used to make dulce de leche by cooking sweetened condensed milk submerged in the unopened can for a few hours which is pretty much the same thing Loucinda makes (but she more sanely doesn't have the potential drama of an exploding can) and it is above fabulous, but not at all the same thing as the caramelized sugar you are asking about.

JodieF Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 5:48pm

My caramel recipe is really good....and pretty easy....and now I want some!

icon_biggrin.gif

http://cakecentral.com/recipes/6851/thick-caramel-sauce-or-filling

Jodie

Loucinda Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 6:02pm

Peridot - That is the only ingredient. You can do mulitple cans at one time, just make sure you stir constantly! It makes about 1 cup when done. Yes, you can put it in the frig - but it will get stiff. You will need to warm it some to get it to where you can spread it. It is just so easy, that is all I use when I need a caramel filling now. No measuring at all.

I have heard ( but NOT TRIED) that they have it already in a can made into caramel in the Latino sections of some grocery stores. La Leche?? I have seen it at super walmart, but again, have not bought it to see how it tastes.

Trish43 Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 6:29pm

when you cook the sugar and water mixture together before adding all the sugar reserve about 2tbsp of sugar to lightly brown in another small pot. After your sugar and water starts to boil add the melted suagar to your icing mixture and you will have a caramel color continue to cook per your recipe. i use sugar and can milk and let comes to boil than i melt the 2Tbsp sugar until brown and i add to boiling sugar and milk.

Deb_ Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 6:39pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by JodieF

My caramel recipe is really good....and pretty easy....and now I want some!

icon_biggrin.gif

http://cakecentral.com/recipes/6851/thick-caramel-sauce-or-filling

Jodie




I second that Jodie. I LOVE your recipe it's so easy and the caramel is delicious and creamy.

It's bad to have around though if you're dieting.....it calls me from the back of my fridge. icon_razz.gif

JodieF Posted 26 Jan 2010 , 10:19pm

icon_biggrin.gif Deb.....I know! There are many times I think....HALF the recipe....waste 1/2 a can of sweetened condensed milk...you don't NEED extra caramel sitting around!
But, I've never done it!!!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif It's SO good right off a spoon!

Jodie

V-dizzy Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 2:33am

Thanks so much for all the replies! So many caramel recipes - i'm excited. I'm also determined to get the recipe I started with to work (yes I'm stubborn) so hopefully the higher heat helps!

Loucinda Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 1:26pm

V-dizzy - good luck with your recipe, I apologize for getting your thread a little off course! Let us know how it turns out!

V-dizzy Posted 27 Jan 2010 , 4:16pm

Ok well to update I managed to make me some caramel! I went with the suggestion of itsacake and added a little more water and some corn syrup, since that was the closest to my original recipe... And it turned out such a pretty color icon_smile.gif

And Loucinda I'm glad the thread went a little off course, as it was interesting -- and I'm definitely going to try the condensed milk caramel sometime. And the other recipe that sounded amazing by JodieF. Thanks again everyone!

costumeczar Posted 30 Jan 2010 , 8:41pm

I have to add that it isn't surprising that a Martha Stewart recipe didn't work. She has a reputation for that. icon_rolleyes.gif

sweetooth94 Posted 2 Feb 2010 , 2:29pm

I also make caramel with sweetened condensed milk. Our Home Ec teacher taught us this in high school and have never forgot it (cause it's so yummy)! icon_biggrin.gif

JustToEatCake Posted 3 Feb 2010 , 1:08am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peridot

Loucinda,

That's all you use if the sweetened cnodensed milk? You don't add anything else. How much caramel do you get when it is finished cooking - 1 cup?

Do you let it cook completely before using as a filling? Do you do more than one can at a time? Can you keep leftovers and reuse? If you stored in the refrig do you need to warm it up before using again?

Sorry for all of the questions but if this is as good as you say - then I need to try it. Sounds soooooo good!

Thanks



I do it this way, it's same result but much faster. Take your can/s of sweetened condensed milk (eagle brand), remove the paper wrappers, place in a pressure cooker (yes I was scared the first time I did this but it's fine really). COVER the can/s with water...they MUST be covered (leave the lids intact). Put the lid on and when the top starts to rock, cook it for 20 minutes, turn it off, let it cool down totally and viola! It's the most delicious thick caramel. If you do more than one can you have two spares..

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