“Cake,who doesn’t like cake?”
What’s not to like about it? Delicious anytime of the day, baked in a small round pan, eaten in the morning and call it a muffin. A requirement a celebration, dressed up like a visitor at a posh affair (hello fancy 1990’s chocolate mousse cake), or a best friend after a break up, cake can almost always make you feel better.
Spice cake has always been the cake in the closet. Most cake people have their favorites; chocolate, vanilla or carrot, but rarely will anyone admit to having a love affair with the slightly exotic, delicious naked (that is without icing) beige hued cake, until now. Spice cake is and has always been my favorite. I can trace this quirky attraction to my green Easy Bake oven and the little white bags of cake mix; chocolate, vanilla and spice. None of the kids that I’d invite over for tea and cake would even try it, so I was left with the entire (but still miniature) cake all to myself.
Even today, I feel this cake gets short changed, it’s considered “old fashioned,” yet when it’s made right from a good recipe, the blend of warm spices make it interesting and modern, but also comforting It’s an absolute killer dessert when served with a great coffee, and of course, it makes a great dessert for breakfast.
Spice Cake from the Robin Hood Canadian Flour Cook Book (pub. 1968)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening (I use butter) at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir to combine, set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter with the sugar, cream until light in colour and fluffy. (I always use my Kitchen Aid for cakes). Add vanilla, and then eggs, one at a time. Mix to combine.
With the mixer on slow speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Always begin and end with the dry, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl down.
Spread the batter into a greased 9″ square pan and bake in a 350ºF. oven until golden brown and fragrant, 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
Ice with brown butter frosting or use a simple vanilla buttercream
Browned Butter Frosting from Robin Hood Cook Book
6 tbsp (3 oz.) butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. hot water or hot coffee if you have it (delicious either way)
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter brown slightly, but don’t walk away as it can go from golden to black in seconds. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla.
Add water and beat with a heavy wooden spoon until icing reaches spreading consistency.
Pour over the cake and spread quickly before the icing sets.
This recipe yields enough to cover the top but it doesn’t cover the sides, But it doesn’t need to, the cake will be perfect just as it is.
PS. I also served slices of the cake with sauteed fresh pineapple, just cuz I had some in the fridge, not necessary but delicious plus it added some beautiful colour to an otherwise beige on beige cake.