This started out as a simple vanilla cupcake with some caramel frosting. But I tend not to make things the same way twice. Over a few repetitions, my simple caramel frosted mini cupcake evolved into something covered filled with caramel, then brushed with caramel. Something with a secret inside surprise frosting. A full size cupcake with entirely too much caramel and entirely too much frosting. I went a bit crazy, really. Completely overboard.
And then it somehow became a cake. I haven’t done much in the way of cakes in a very long time. Not too long ago, a friend tried to commission a layer cake from me, and I had to say no. It’s just been so long that I don’t trust myself to do it anymore.
I’m not comfortable with that sort of discomfort. I don’t trust myself to do a full on full size cake. And I don’t have enough people to eat one in one place if I did. That’s when my mini cake pans happened. I drunkenly ordered a set of 3 inch springform pans at a company offsite. (It sounds awful, but you know what? Everyone else was involved in a round of ukulele karaoke, they were at least as drunk as I was, and they’d been stuck on the same verse of the same song for at least half an hour. At least I was productive!)
Here’s the thing I didn’t think about when assembling my mini layer cakes: The layers should probably be an awful lot thinner, or it’s gonna look pretty strange. I accidentally made ridiculous looking Dr. Seuss cake, more than twice as high as it was tall. Oops. Good thing I have some awesome friends willing to eat my weirder experiments.
I’m not going to provide a recipe or nutritional info for this one – I wing most of it. It used the same vanilla cake I use in a lot of things, with a bit of added cinnamon. Caramel buttercream is really just a half cup of caramel sauce and a pinch of salt beaten into whipped butter, before beating in sugar and more caramel in batches until it tastes right and the consistency feels right. How much did I use? I honestly have no idea unless I weigh the ingredients I started with beforehand.
After making the out of focus monster above, I calmed down a bit. The next batch was back to my usual mini size. Filled, topped with a reasonable size swirl, and drizzled with a small pattern instead of having a whole jar poured over the top. My insanity is temporarily alleviated.