LOTS of questions here, I hope someone can help!!
So I've read amazing things about JodieF's thick caramel filling and I made it last night to use on two different cakes this weekend. I cooked it on as low a temp as possible to keep it from burning and stirred constantly but I still had little black flakes floating up throughout the cooking process--I'm assuming that's not supposed to happen? Then when it cooled the butter separated partially and there were little pools of it on the top which later solidified--is this normal?
The caramel still tastes good and I didn't have time to make more before going to my MIL's for Thanksgiving today so I used it anyway--but it kept oozing out from the middle. And yes, I let it sit and stacked stuff on top--but it wasn't just slightly bulging out, it was really just OOZING--and when I eventually had to frost the cake anyway it didn't stop. This stuff is so dense that I'm not sure how to make a strong enough dam to hold it in, especially since I was using RLB's neoclassic buttercream, not American BC. How does one make a dam when you're using a light buttercream?
So now I have a cake to make for Thanksgiving at my mom's tomorrow and it's also going to be her birthday. I was going to use the same filling but I don't know what to do??? Again I'm not going to be using an American BC, but a cream cheese frosting, again from RLB so probably fairly light and silky again. Suggestions?
No, I would have to agree that little black things floating through your caramel while making is not good. Did you have anyone else taste it too? If it really does not have a burnt taste to it I would strain it to get those black flecks out and then make a dam with a stiffer version of what you are going to ice your cake with. A stiff buttercream dam is going to keep your caramel in if you don't put too much in the center of your dam. I would just put in enough that you are not coming to the top of your dam with the caramel. Now, if it is truly a stiff buttercream I would put it about 1/4 inch inside your cake layer and fill. Use like a #2A to make your dam. HOpefully this will help. Make what ever buttercream that you are going to use and take some out before thinning it to frost the cake with. If your buttercream is not ever stiff I would consider making a small amount of Wilton's class buttercream to make the dam with. you can always use the same flavorings that you are using with your other buttercream instead of what wilton uses. Just keep the amounts pretty close to the same. Best wishes. Hope it turns out great.
Thanks, Jules500. I did have my DH taste it and he says it doesn't taste burnt (hopefully he's not just being nice!) but the caramel is way, way too thick to strain. So I'm just going to have little black flecks in the filling...can't do anything about that now but was hoping to figure out how to avoid the same outcome in the future. The neoclassic buttercream by RLB is made without PS; just egg yolks, a syrup you make on the stove with corn syrup and sugar, and butter. So I'm not sure how to thicken it. At this point I guess making a Wilton BC is my best bet but I was wondering how other people who use this type of BC regularly (and IMBC, SMBC, etc.) make dams for their fillings, especially thick fillings? Thanks for your help, guess I'm off to make some good ol' Wilton class buttercream!
I make this recipe all the time and I always recommend it to others.
So a few questions....what sort of pan did you use?
Was it a heavy bottomed saucepan?
(I never use a Teflon/non-stick coated pan)
Did you use a candy thermometer?
The first time I tried the recipe I realized my candy thermometer wasn't working correctly. It wouldn't read over 120 degrees, so I "eyeballed" the caramel to when I thought it was finished. Well, it wasn't and it separated just as yours is.
If you did use a thermometer and it read "soft ball", I would try calibrating it to see if it really is reading accurately.
The finished caramel should be very thick and chewy...exactly like the center of a chocolate covered caramel that you may buy from someplace like Godiva. It shouldn't be runny at all.
In fact when I fill my turtle cake, I usually have to heat the caramel in my microwave for about 20 seconds, stir and than fill the cake because once this stuff sets...it's pretty solid.
I bet yours didn't cook to the proper temperature, for whatever reason.
The black flecks would bother me. I have no idea where those could have come from. The only thing I can think of is that if you used a non-stick pan, maybe the coating is flaking off???
Don't give up on this recipe, it really is very good but it needs to be cooked to the recommended temperature for it to be thick enough to fill a cake or make candy with.
Thanks for your input, cakestyles!
I was using a heavy bottom stainless steel pan with a copper core--no Teflon. I haven't calibrated my thermometer but I should probably do that. I was, however, using two thermometers, one digital and one...not digital. (What's a non-digital thermometer called, anyway?) They both read the same thing. And I did the cold water test and it did come together in a soft ball. It actually is quite thick and I do have to heat it to spread it but somehow over time it manages to keep spreading. Very weird. And when I heat it to spread it I try to stir in the excess butter but it's still pooled on top of my layer of filling. *sigh* Guess I'll keep trying. Oh, what do you use for a dam with this stuff? Anything?
I make it all the time as well and I agee with Cakestyles. If it was that runny, it probably needed to be cooked longer. And I have never had black flakes in it.
I use whatever type of bc I happen to be using on the cake to dam, which would be either IMBC or an all butter American bc.
I've not had an issue with it breaking through the dam. What temperature did you cook it to?
When I made the caramel, I used a heavy cast-aluminum saucepan. Mine was my mother's--I don't know if you can still buy them. I also used a calibrated candy thermometer. I think I did have a few seconds when I wasn't stirring and I got some dark brown flakes in the caramel, from the bottom of the pan, I assume. When the caramel was done, I just put it through a fine seive and no brown flakes. It was perfect and I used Indydebi's buttercream to make the dam, as that was what I was using on the cake.
After my sister, my niece, and I had a piece of the cake, we each grabbed a spoon and finished off the left-over caramel!
Cooked it to exactly 238F. And it wasn't runny, it's thick and chewy. Like the middle of a Turtle. But somehow it takes on a life of it's own and tries to escape from the cake anyway. Kinda weird that way. Tastes good anyway!