Recipe adapted from Anne Byrn's The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free
For all the times I spread chocolate frosting over a yellow cake there are those rare exceptions when I thin, no, not chocolate this time. Why not caramel? And then I wondered why don't I make caramel cake more often. You, too, should make caramel cake often with a gluten-free cake mix and my simple but luscious frosting.
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pan
1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten–free cake mix*
2 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract or maple flavoring
Half recipe Quick Caramel Frosting (see below)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil spray and set the pan aside.
Place the cake mix, brown sugar, cream cheese, oil, eggs, water, vanilla, and almond extract or maple flavoring in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping the sides down again if needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula and place the pan in the oven.
Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 48 to 52 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely, 20 minutes
Meanwhile, prepare the Quick Caramel Frosting.
Ladle the warm frosting over the cooled cake in the pan and smooth the top with a metal spatula. Let the frosting set 20 minutes before slicing and serving the cake.
Half Recipe Quick Caramel Frosting
This smaller recipe will glaze the top of a Bundt cake, frost an 8-inch square cake, or frost twelve to fourteen cupcakes. And it's still delicious.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk, plus another tablespoon if needed
1 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the butter and brown sugars in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, and bring the mixture back to a boil then remove the pan from the heat. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until the frosting is smooth. It should be smooth enough to spread
Ladle the frosting over the cake while it is still warm. It will set as it cools. If using for cupcakes and the icing hardens too much, place the saucepan back over low heat and stir in 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of milk.
Keep it Fresh: Store the cake in the pan, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to three days. Freeze the unfrosted cake, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to one month. Let the cake thaw overnight on the kitchen counter before frosting.
Icing: Use whole milk if possible in this recipe because it makes a smoother, richer frosting. The 2 percent milk works okay but don't use fat-free milk
Dairy–Free Version: Substitute 4 ounces (half of an 8-ounce package) of a dairy–free cream cheese, such as Better Than Cream Cheese made by Tofutti, in place of the 8 ounces of whipped cream cheese. When making the caramel frosting, use margarine instead of butter and soy milk instead of the regular milk.
*Miss Roben’s, 1-2-3 Gluten-Free Cake Mix, Hodgson Mill, and King Arthur Gluten-Free are several available kosher gluten-free cake mixes.