Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Spice cake with butterscotch-cream cheese frosting

The cake itself is pretty straightforward, adapted from one in the Moosewood Book of Desserts. The recipe in the book makes two layers and I thought that would be a bit much for the three of us who would be eating it, so I halved it* and left out the raisins and played around with the spices a bit. It's light and fluffy and moist and seems almost more scented than flavored. I think that subtlety is a virtue where spice cake is concerned; no one wants to be punched in the face with cinnamon.

The frosting was awesome and I had to restrain myself from scooping it up by the pawful and licking it straight off my hands. It's also sort of mysteriously runny, but not in a bad way. The book recommended cream cheese frosting, but I saw a recipe for butterscotch frosting elsewhere and decided to combine them. I made some butterscotch and added it to the cream cheese while it was still very hot, assuming that once it cooled, it would have the consistency of slightly softer cream cheese. That, puzzlingly, is not what happened. So I added some confectioner's sugar to thicken it. It didn't have any appreciable effect however, and I didn't want to sweeten it too much so I let it go after 2/3 of a cup. And I added some lemon juice to make up for the extra sugar. There's definitely room to improve the texture — I'd aim for soft but not drippy — but taste-wise, it's pretty ideal.

Spice Cake
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. cardamom
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda

6 T butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1 egg
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350* and butter a 9" round pan. In large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In second bowl, cream butter and sugars, then add other wet ingredients. Add to dry mixture, pour into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Butterscotch-Cream Cheese Frosting
4 T butter
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
8 oz. cream cheese
2/3 c. confectioner's sugar
1 T lemon juice

In a small saucepan, melt butter. Mix in brown sugar and cook over low heat for at least ten minutes. Pour over cream cheese and stir to combine. Whisk in confectioner's sugar and lemon juice.

*I had a ridiculous amount of trouble figuring out what half of three-quarters is. Eventually, I did it by number of tablespoons. Still, not my proudest moment.

[originally posted on my old food blog 9.22.2008. I have virtually NO MEMORY of making this cake and it's freaking me out a little. looks good though!]

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