Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy 38th Anniversary to...

...Fred and his wife. Since Fred is a gentleman - and leaves his wife's actual name out of his postings - let's call her Wilma. Though it's been many a year since I've seen an episode of The Flintstones, I recall Wilma was beautiful, smart and loved her Fred; so the name fits if she doesn't mind :-)

A celebration calls for a cake, of course. I think something sweet, spicy and a tiny bit old-fashioned is in order. So Fred, and your lady love and wife: happy anniversary, and the cake has no calories unless you eat it!

My Favorite Spice Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature (not melted)
1-1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups sifted cake flour (sift, then measure)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (adjust racks so top of cake pans are in the middle of the oven). Prepare two 9" round cake pans for baking: lightly grease and flour, then line bottoms with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift together the pre-sifted flour, baking soda and spices (use a fine sieve if you don't have a sifter). Set aside.

On medium speed of mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, or the very lowest speed of the mixer, alternately mix in small batches of the flour mixture and buttermilk. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.

Bake 35-40 minutes in pre-heated oven. Note: be sure to stagger pans in opposite corners, away from oven walls, and slightly apart. When 35 minutes have elapsed, test cake by lightly touching the middle of one layer. As soon as no imprint remains, cake is done. Cool layers 10 minutes in the pans, then on baking racks (remove paper liners before racking). When cakes are completely cooled, brush off excess crumbs and frost with caramel or buttercream frosting.

Caramel Icing

1/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 cups confectioner's sugar (measure, then sift)

Heat together the cream and butter, set aside. Caramelize the sugar to a medium brown color; add scalded cream mixture and whisk to dissolve all the sugar. Pour mixture into a bowl, and gradually beat in the sifted confectioner's sugar until fluffy. Add a little extra cream or milk if the frosting is to stiff to spread easily on the cake layers. Fill the two layers then frost top and sides. Add candles if appropriate.

(Leonardo, your chocolate cake is next).