Wilbert's Bakery Caramel Cake

Wilbert’s Bakery Caramel Cake

Recipe from Barbara and Gordon King, owners of the former Wilbert’s Bakery at N. 37th St. and W. Villard Ave.
Recreating this recipe Barbara King found The only problem she had with the caramel cake was that she no longer had the caramel flavoring they had used at the bakery and had to find a substitute.

“The combination of a rather weak caramel flavoring and molasses seemed to do the trick, and the resulting cake tasted just like what we made at the bakery.”

2 Cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
1 Tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 Cups cake flour
2 eggs
1/2 pound raisins, ground (see note)
1 Teaspoon caramel flavoring (see note)
1/8 Cup dark molasses
3 Cups buttermilkCaramel buttercream (see recipe)

To make cake:

With electric mixer, beat sugar and shortening in a large bowl. In separate, medium bowl, combine baking soda, salt and cake flour.
Mix well. To the creamed mixture add eggs and beat well until mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ground raisin mixture, caramel flavoring and molasses. To this mixture, alternately add flour mixture with buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Use about a third of the flour and half of the milk each time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pans: You can use
two 9-inch or three 8-inch cake pans that are well greased and floured. Pans should have sides that are at least 2 inches high. Divide batter evenly between pans, then rap each filled pan sharply on the countertop several times and swirl batter with the tip of a knife, so the batter settles and evens itself out.

Bake all layers at once in preheated oven 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. If cake or cakes on bottom rack start browning too fast, switch with those on the top. When done, remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks. Cakes should be flat, not domed in the center. When cool, remove from pans and ice between layers of cake with buttercream frosting. Use remaining frosting to cover cake.

Makes 12 servings.

Notes: Soak raisins in 1 cup warm water 10 minutes, then grind raisins with water either in a food grinder, food processor or blender. Do not drain off water.

The caramel flavoring used in this recipe is available at Cook’s Cake Decorating and Candy Supplies in West Allis.

Caramel buttercream:
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons meringue powder (see note)
6 cups powdered sugar (divided)
3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caramel flavoring (see note)
1 tablespoon dark molasses
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons warm water (as needed)

In mixing bowl, combine water and meringue powder. Whip at high speed until peaks form. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, beat well, and then add remaining sugar alternately with shortening. Add salt, caramel flavoring, molasses and corn syrup. Add warm water last, after you can gauge the stiffness of the buttercream. If it is too stiff to spread, add the 2 tablespoons of warm water to start, and add a little more at a time until it softens.

Note: Meringue powder is available at Cook’s, Michael’s or Wal-Mart. Caramel flavoring is available at Cook’s Cake Decorating and Candy Supplies; maple flavoring can be substituted.

This cake was the best when Mr. Pirolo made it for Wilbert’s Bakery. He created it so nobody made it like him.