A brown sugar cinnamon layer cake with sweet cinnamon buttercream frosting covered in caramel sauce and topped with stroopwafels.
In the beginning of 2020, I saw an advertisement on social media for a local baking competition. I signed up for the competition because I thought it would be fun and honestly because I would get to try other local treats from home-bakers. I had planned to make this stroopwafel cake, but unfortunately the competition was cancelled due to Covid.
What are Stroopwafels?
Stroopwafels were originally made in Gouda, Netherlands in the 1800s. The Dutch word “stroopwafel” means “syrup waffle” which makes sense as it is made with two thin waffles filled with a sticky caramel filling. They were designed to fit on top of a hot cup of coffee or tea so that the cookie would soften and you could enjoy it with your morning beverage. Today, stroopwafels are commonly sold in the Netherlands at grocery stores and markets and are also becoming more available in the United States.
What’s a Stroopwafel Cake?
This cake is all about the brown sugar + cinnamon + caramel combination. Just like a stroopwafel! The flavors are carried out in the cake layers with the brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s paired with a sweet cinnamon buttercream frosting and topped with a caramel sauce and mini-stroopwafels. These flavors resemble the stroopwafel and plus, it’s perfect for the fall weather.
How to Make It
This stroopwafel cake has three components:
- Brown sugar cinnamon cake layers
- Cinnamon buttercream frosting
- Caramel sauce
Tips for Making an Awesome Stroopwafel Cake
- Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Your butter, eggs and milk should all be at room temperature so they incorporate and mix well together.
- Measure your ingredients well! If you don’t have a digital food scale, it’s time to invest in one. They are not expensive and really are the best way to measure your ingredients properly.
- Don’t skimp on creaming the butter and sugars. In this recipe, you beat the butter until it is lighter in color and fluffier. You really want the butter to be light and airy and then you can incorporate the sugar. It takes a few minutes, don’t rush this step. It’s important.
- Use three 6″ cake rounds. If you need to substitute, you can use two 8″ cake rounds.
- To get flat cake layers, try using Wilton Bake-Even Cake Strips. You put these damp cake strips around the edges of your pan and then bake your cake. No more domed cakes, seriously you should try them.
Tips for Making Caramel Sauce
Caramel and I aren’t always friends. I’m notorious for ruining caramel. As it takes some patience, I’ll save you some heart ache with these tips.
- Be careful. You are going to be heating up sugar until it is very hot. Always be cautious when working with caramel.
- Patience…do not rush this. Make sure you have plenty of time and don’t need to leave for swim lessons in 10 minutes.
- Don’t stir. After the sugar has dissolved, don’t stir it and if you must…you can swirl the pot.
- Use a pastry brush to wet the sides of the pot with water. The water will help prevent any crystallization.
- Use a thermometer but rely on your eye to tell when it’s the right color of the caramel. You’ll want to start watching it closely at 320 degrees but you’re looking for an amber color. You can tell that mine is a bit lighter, but you can keep going until it is a dark amber color. It’s what you prefer.
- Let it cool down. Store extra caramel in the fridge. This recipe will make more than you need for the cake drip so you can store the rest in the fridge. Use it later to top it on ice cream, dip for fruit or a sweetener for your coffee.
- Use a squeeze bottle to drip or a spoon to drip the caramel sauce over the sides and top of the cake.
If you don’t have time or don’t feel comfortable making the caramel sauce, you can just make the stroopwafel cake and cinnamon buttercream. It is still delicious, but I think the caramel sauce really makes it taste like a stroopwafel cake.
Caramel Sauce Ingredients
- 1 cup sugar (190 grams)
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 tablespoons butter (room temperature) (84 grams)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups butter (room temperature) (282 grams)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (213 grams)
- 1/4 cup sugar (50 grams)
- 4 eggs (room temperature)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup milk (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup butter (room temperature) (169 grams)
- 1/2 cup shortening/Crisco (102 grams) (You can use equal parts butter if you don't have shortening)
- 2 lbs powered sugar (907 grams)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Make the Caramel Sauce
- Combine the water and sugar in a medium sauce pan.
- Place over medium heat and cook for 7-10 minutes. Watch it carefully and be extremely careful as the sugar is very hot. Do not stir. To make sure there is no crystallization, take a pastry brush and dip it into some water. Brush down the sides of the pot occasionally.
- When it gets to around 320 degrees, start watching for it to change color.
- Once sugar is at the desired amber color, take it off the heat and immediately add the butter. Be careful because the caramel will bubble rapidly.
- Whisk the butter to make sure it is together. Then very slowly drizzle the heavy cream while whisking. The caramel will rapidly bubble up. Keep whisking until it stops bubbling.
- Allow it to cool down while you make the cake. Store left over caramel in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter and flour three 6" cake pans and put a circle of parchment paper at the bottom of each pan. If you're using cake strips, you can add them now.
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon) in a bowl and set aside.
- In a stand mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the butter on medium (4) speed for 3-4 minutes until it is fluffy and lighter in color. Scrape down the sides.
- Add brown and white sugar and beat on medium (4) speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the vanilla to the eggs.
- Slowly add the eggs one at a time on low (2) speed and then increase the speed to medium (4) after each egg for about 30 seconds. After the last egg, beat the mixture on medium (4) for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- On low (1) speed, slowly add the half of the dry ingredients. Then immediately add half of the milk.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and then the remaining milk mixture. Barely mixing it as this point. Be careful not to overmix. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to gently make sure the cake batter is all incorporated.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the centers are done. The cake is done when you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.
- Let it cool completely on cooling rack before removing from the pans.
Make the Buttercream
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and shortening on medium speed until smooth and creamy (2-3 minutes).
- Add half of the powdered sugar and beat on low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add a 1/4 cup of the milk and mix on low.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and milk.
- Add cinnamon.
- Mix on low for 30 seconds and gradually increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
- Crumb Coat: Add buttercream in between each layer of cake and add a thin layer of frosting to the sides and top. Put in the fridge for at least 10 minutes for your crumb coat.
- Final Coat: Add another layer of buttercream to the top and sides of the cake. Using an offset spatula to add frosting and using a bench scraper to smooth out the frosting.
- Put the cake back into the fridge for 20 minutes. You want the frosting to be really cold before adding the caramel.
- Using a squeeze bottle or spoon, slowly drizzle the caramel sauce down the sides of the cake and to the top of the cake.
- Using a 1M tip, make swirls on the top of the cake. Insert mini-stroopwafels into the frosting.
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