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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Corn starch to the rescue

My daughters have a special dessert that their brother enjoys. And as he was coming over for dinner, they said they would make this dessert. It's a yellow cake, with fudge frosting, and caramel sauce over the slices. Decadent, right?

Anyway, something went wrong with the caramel sauce. One daughter tried to fix it late Monday night. She finally went to bed and I found it like this, in the morning. The chunks are lumps of butter.

I told her I'd do something with it during the day, while she was in class. When heated, the lumps of butter melted, but a layer of butter would form on the top of the sauce when it cooled. My thought was that I needed a binder to hold the butter in the sauce. I cooked their sauce with a little cornstarch and allowed to cool.

After cooling, some of the butter did rise to the top. However, as what I had just made was basically a very sweet, thin pudding, I thought I could now mix in the butter that was on top of the rest of the sauce, using a mixer. And it worked beautifully. (see top photo) The pudding-like caramel sauce was cooled enough that the butter was held in the sauce, and could be poured over slices of cake.

Now who wants a slice? Incidentally, egg, flour, and arrowroot are also binders. All require cooking in a liquid to bind ingredients together.


  1. Mmm, I'll be right over!

    I found a potato starch on discount at the store recently. That is a cornstarch-like thickener also.

    That was really nice of the sisters to make their brother a cake!

    Interesting, that kids keep coming to mom to help them out of their troubles! Still working through my kiddo's troubles.


  2. My father's favorite cake was yellow cake with fudge-like icing. It was very rich and delicious. I can't imagine adding caramel sauce to that. That must be wonderful.

  3. I'll have a slice, thank you. That sounds delicious!

  4. I can feel your daughter's frustration! The one time I tried making caramel sauce, it ended up way too runny. She's so lucky to have a problem-solving mom like you to go to!

  5. Caramel can be trickier than other toppings, I think. I made a caramel from scratch one year for caramel apples, and it didn't stay on the apples, just puddled on the tray. So, Kris -- yours, my daughters' and mine have all had difficulties. Maybe that makes a case for buying caramels/caramel sauce.

    Alice, I sure hope your youngest's troubles can be resolved soon. Mom's really take on their kids' problems. It's heartbreaking to watch them struggle and suffer. For me, my heart wants me to jump in and fix things for them. And I do, with some things, if it's like a cooking thing. Others, I just have to stay on the sidelines and cheer them on (and worry privately).

    Cake at 3 PM, then? I'll set out the tea, too.

    1. I decided to always buy caramel sauce instead of making it, after my experience. I've noticed on the British Baking Show that caramel seems to stump many people.

      Wouldn't it be fun if we could all get together for tea and cake?

  6. Oh, that's great that you were able to fix it, Lili. It looks good too!

  7. Yum I want a slice! I still asked my Mom cooking questions even in my 50's She used to have a restaurant and knew a lot about making food ������ Oh I miss those calls ☎


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