Sunday, April 3, 2016

Velvet Spice Cake with Brown Butter Icing

I blame The Great British Bake Off. A few months ago, we took an impromptu road trip from Toronto to New Haven to visit friends. While New Haven was lovely (featuring a sighting of the famous Handsome Dan!), we barely made it out of the apartment due to sudden onset communal binge-watching of this British classic. After the third seasons of profiteroles, choux pastry, baguette, it just didn't seem right not to have fresh-baked items in our own house at all times. Thus, the spice cake. We turned to the tried and true The Joy of Cooking for inspiration but messed around with the spices to suit our heat-seeking palettes (don't worry, it won't burn your tastebuds off). ,Complete with old-fashioned brown butter icing, this cake will disappear in moments. It's also a great way to use up those lingering spices in your cupboard. 

Makes: One 8-10 inch cake

Ingredients for Brown Butter Icing follows

Ingredients for Spice Cake

2 1/3 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup)

1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar

3 eggs (divided)

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp greek yogurt (plain) or buttermilk

1/8 tsp cream of tartar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease and flour an 8 or 10 inch round cake pan. 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together until thoroughly blended. 

Beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy (about 30 seconds). Gradually add 1 1/4 cups sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy (about 2-4 minutes). 

Beat 3 large egg yolks into the mixture. 

On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the yogurt or buttermilk. Beat and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.

Using clean beaters, beat the 3 egg whites and cream of tartar together in a medium bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form. 

Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar, beating on high speed. 

Beat until the peaks are stiff, but not too dry. Use a rubber spatular to fold one quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. 

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 45-55 minutes. Let cool and remove from pan. 

Top with Brown Butter Icing

Makes: 3/4 cup (just enough for one cake) 


3/4 stick unsalted butter (6 tablespoons)

1 1/4 cup icing/powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly, until the butter turns a deep golden. 

Gradually whisk in the sugar and vanilla. 

Scrape into a bowl and beat until smooth and spreadable. Do not attempt to thin with liquid. 

Use immediately. 

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