Make the caramel sauce:
Pour 2 cups of the cream into a medium saucepan and slowly bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and keep at a bare simmer.
Put 1 cup of the sugar in a heavy-based medium saucepan over medium heat. Leave undisturbed until the sugar begins to melt and darken. Gently shake the pan to distribute the sugar and to keep the melted sugar from burning. When all has melted and the caramel is a very dark amber, remove from the heat. Carefully add the hot cream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Don’t worry if the caramel hardens; it will melt as the sauce boils. Return the pan to the heat and keep the sauce at a gentle boil for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is cool. Measure 1 cup of the caramel to add to the cake batter and refrigerate the rest.
Make the cake:
Heat the oven to 325°F; grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and the remaining 1-1/2 cups sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold the dry ingredients into the butter and eggs alternately with the reserved 1 cup caramel, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Set on a rack for about 10 minutes and then unmold and let cool completely on the rack. Bring the rest of the caramel sauce to room temperature. When the cake is cool, glaze it by drizzling half of the remaining caramel sauce over the top.
Whip the remaining 1 cup cream until it holds firm peaks. Fold in the last third of the caramel gently, leaving streaks visible. Serve with the cake.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on twelve servings;
Photo: Mark Ferri