It's a long story, but I'll skip to the punch line: for various reasons, I found myself ordering a "world-famous" 7-layer caramel cake from Caroline's Cakes last week. Yes, don't ask. The important part is that a huge, 13-pound frozen cake arrived at my door, and I had to taste-test it. Sometimes life is hard.
First things first: Plop the sucker on the counter for 2-3 hours to let it thaw. And prepare your apartment to be filled, slowly but surely, with an intoxicating caramel aroma that grows ever stronger as the caramel esters become airborne and float along your apartment's air currents toward your nose (or something). Seriously: your kitchen, and if you're a Manhattan-dweller the rest of your small apartment as well, will smell buttery and sugary and positively delightful. Resist the urge to drop everything you're doing and plunge face-first into the cake.
When the time was right, I unwrapped the thawed cake and cut myself a slice. It cut cleanly and prettily, revealing seven thin layers of yellow cake smothered in caramel frosting. I didn't exactly have high hopes for this confection, despite the delicious smell, but I took a bite, and ohh, it was scrumptious. The cake itself wasn't spectacular; it's pretty standard vanilla/yellow cake with a bit of a dry and spongy texture, probably due to the freezing. But that really doesn't matter, because the frosting was outrageous. It's ever-so-slightly grainy, like a good fudge, and it tastes like the best melt-in-your-mouth caramel you've ever had. Not overly buttery or sugary, it strikes the perfect balance and comes together in a sweet, sweet bear hug for your tongue.
Suffice it to say I was pretty blown away. And the best part is that, at least in theory, you can refreeze and rethaw this cake as many times as you want for up to 6 months. I'm skeptical about that, but I was skeptical about whether this cake would be edible in the first place, and I'm thoroughly converted on that front. So maybe I have 19/20ths of an enormous cake slowly refreezing in my freezer. We'll see how that goes.
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