Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recipe: Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

I needed to bake a birthday cake, and settled on spice cake. The cake batter recipe is a bit of a mish-mash of several other spice cake recipes I read that sounded pretty good. I'm sure this would be good with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, but caramel sounded good to me, so I went with that.

Spice Cake

Yield: one 2-layer cake, or one sheet cake
Time: 15 minutes prep; 30-35 minutes at 350F, plus cooling time

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 stick of butter (1/8 lb., or 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 c. shortening or vegetable oil
  • 2+ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • frosting
  1. preheat the oven to 350F, grease and flour your cake pan(s)
  2. make sure the butter/shortening is soft, and toss all but the last two ingredients into a big bowl
  3. stir everything together, then start off slowly with a hand mixer, and increase the speed when all danger of flying flour is past, until the batter is smooth
  4. pour it into your cake pan(s)
  5. bake for 30-35 minutes at 350F
  6. cool in the pan(s) on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto the rack to cool completely (or just cool in the pan if you use a 9" x 13" dish, and only frost the top)
  7. frost the cake (I'm awful at this, but whatever)
  8. sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top of the frosting
Notes: Some people mix the walnuts right into the batter, but I used them to partially hide my lack of frosting skills. Also, add a pinch of salt, if you use unsalted butter. I also piped on little peaks of cream cheese frosting around the edge, just for the fun of it.

Caramel Frosting

Yield: approx. 2 cups
Time: about 45 minutes, but most of that is spent waiting for the caramel sauce to cool before beating in the powdered sugar

  • 1 stick of butter (1/4 lb., or 1/2 cup)
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  1. melt the butter in a large saucepan
  2. stir in the brown sugar, and bring it to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly
  3. reduce the heat to low, and boil for 2 minutes
  4. stir in the milk, and bring it back to a boil
  5. remove it from the heat, and cool to lukewarm
  6. stir in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, then beat until smooth
Note: If you stop after step 5, you basically have a caramel sauce that you could use on ice cream, or whatever you like.

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