Sunday, November 30, 2008

Heaven's fingers and my fourth Daring Bakers' challenge - caramel cake

Someone's idea of a snowman with an identity crisis? This was taken earlier this week at the lake park in Cham.

Fingers of God or rays from heaven -- call them what you will, there's no denying that shafts of sunlight breaking through clouds and slipping between trees are one of Nature's quiet wonders.

Here are two pictures were taken by my other half on Zugerberg (Mount Zug), several kilometers from where we live, a couple of weeks ago. By now, there's some week-old snow on the ground in the lowlands but the mountains seen from afar seem to be freshly dusted with white every few days or so.

OK, who took a bite out of my cupcake?!

As for my fourth Daring Bakers' challenge, it was an exercise in reducing amounts of sugar. My other half does not like his cakes very sweet and frosting doesn't rock his boat. Me? I will tell you innocently I don't like very sweet things either, but then I happily finished the leftover browned butter frosting on crackers and such over the following couple of days.

Making the caramel itself was a scary thing. The sugar and water were heated till they turned amber (very hot!), and then cold water was added to stop the caramelization process. (That's when it spits and sputters.) So, following someone's tip, I placed a piece of foil with a hole in the centre over the caramel pot and poured in the cold water. That prevented me from jumping back.

CREDITS: This month’s challenge was courtesy of the author Shuna Fish Lydon’s recipe ( … he-recipe/)

Hosts this month are Dolores (, Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo: and Jenny of Foray into Food ( Thank you!


Kak Teh said...

Argus, the shots are so beautiful!! and the cupcakes!

When you post an entry at this time of the day, it is inevitable that I will be the first to comment and see what's cooking in your oven.

Me, am waiting for the nasi lemak to be ready. I have already done the sambal tumis udang and am so going to enjoy it.

Argus Lou said...

Dear Kak Teh, glad you liked looking at the pics. Was teaching two nice teenaged boys how to bake bread, muffins and bars today.
Your nasi lemak sounds wonderful!
My other half cooked delicious potato-parsley-salmon patties for dinner this evening.

Gretchen Noelle said...

I love that you admit you ate the frosting on crackers over the next few days! Great looking cupcakes!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Gretchen. That's why I had to spend half an hour more on a treadmill brisk-walking a mere spoonful of it away.

Life for Beginners said...

The fingers of God indeed... That's just an unbelievable sight! I'm heading up to UK next May --- maybe I'll get lucky and get a view of this from Bath or Edinburgh. :)

P.S. For some reason, the vision of you teaching two teenaged boys how to bake bread, muffins and bars was very heartwarming. :D

fatboybakes said...

aiyo, i havent done mine yet. as in, havent even baked the darn thing to post!

fatboybakes said...

as to LFB's comment, snigger, for some reason, mrs robinson (anne bancroft again) sprang to mind.

Argus Lou said...

Kenny, I'm sure the fingers of heaven will reach you in England. ;-) If not, then the long arm of the law.
The boys are about the same age as my nephew and were chatty and nice.

FBB, are you skipping this DB challenge then? The fear of scalding caramel still haunting your hands?
My ex-colleague Melody had the same wrist-slap-deserving thought. Were you a precocious teenager?

Just me...Naz said...

you did it again! :)

Argus Lou said...

Did what?! Did what?!!
Naz, you're funny.

Claire said...

Those pictures of the sunlight are GORGEOUS!!! Your cupcakes look great...adjusting the amount of icing on them for your personal tastes is great. Good job!

Queen Of The House said...

I swear I can get fat just looking at the yummy cupcakes! My oven, alas, had not even been warmed for weeks already.

Argus Lou said...

Claire, thanks! Glad you liked my other half's photographs.

Queen of the House, cold weather is a great time to heat up that oven. Bake some muffins, cookies or a simple loaf of bread - smells good!

My Food Safari said...

Argus, looks like u like in a beautiful place. Your cupcakes have a lighter texture than mine. Looks so much more inviting.

Argus Lou said...

MFSafari, yes, the environs here are quite beautiful and soothing. There's much rain (and sometimes snow) and so the cows and sheep get lots of fresh grass and hay (local meat is dearer than imported).
As for the cake, perhaps the amount of sugar had something to do with influencing the texture, you think?

nikkita said...

Oh gosh I love LOVE love your photos and I'm so envious of where you are :) And heyyy why do those cupcakes look so much moistier (moister??) than mine! love them! ^_^

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, Nikita. Thought your caramel cake looked very caramelly and moist, not to mention the lovingly spatula-ed icing and polka dots of caramel syrup. :)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Heaven's fingers are so inpiring...makes me wanna take my DSLR out to Taman Negara (or the nearest hutan....what ar? Bukit Cerakah ar?) and wait for a magical shot like yours!

Excuse this noob, but cupcake with less will affect the texture, won't it?

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Lyrical. Yes, Bukit Cerakah or that one in Taman Tun where folk go for walks every evening. Does the air have to be dusty or misty for the sun rays to 'show'?
Likely. Different folk got different texture for their caramel cakes - some said it was dense, some said fluffy; some made big cakes, some made cupcakes; some said dry, some said moist. The original recipe had like three million grammes of sugar.

Tunku Halim said...

I particularly love the 2nd photo. The sunlight, the woods ... ah, I can almost breath the air!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

3,000,000 grams! That sweet, eh? So what did you cut it down to? 1,500,000 grams? :-P

Yeah, I think dust/mist/floating stuff in the air helps in creating God's fingers. We have plenty of those here.

Argus Lou said...

Thanks, TH. Your neck of the woods has lots of these too, I bet.

LL, I cut it down to 3/4 cup and it was still too sweet. Can't imagine what the original recipe tasted like. (Exaggeration is my middle name. Argus Exaggeratus Asparagus.)

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)