Spice Cake

July 20, 2012

Before we know it, Autumn will be here and Autumn in the Pacific Northwest means Spice Cake.  If you have the opportunity to use Vietnamese cinnamon, do so.  You will be delighted with the flavor.

Prepare 3 – 8″ cake pans with plenty of pan release and rounds of parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.

Cream together:

8 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups sugar

Make sure you cream the butter and the sugar very well.  People have a tendency not to cream the butter and sugar enough.  When butter and sugar are well creamed together, they will lighten in color and be very fluffy.  This is because you are “dissolving” the sugar into the fat and the action of mixing these ingredients means the sugar will be acting as an abrasive.

Add:

4 whole eggs one at a time

Beat well after each addition of an egg.  Scrape down the bowl.

Sift 3 cups of cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground  cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Alternate the dry ingredients with:

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Start with a third of the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl followed by 3/4 cups of the buttermilk and alternate until all the buttermilk and dry ingredients are used.  Scrape down the bowl and the paddle well and blend until just incorporate.  Do not overmix.

Divide evenly between the three 8″ cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees f.  When the cakes are just becoming light brown and the center springs back when touched, remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.  Remove the cakes from the cake pans and invert them on top of the bottom of the cake pans to cool completely.   Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before filling.

Filling suggestions:

Blackberry Mousse is a hands down winner of a filling for this spice cake and is just so Pacific Northwest.  A good cream cheese filling would be nice or a mascarpone cream filling with fresh blackberries even nicer…!!

Baby shower cake with shoes made of gum paste.

For the following cake you will need 3 – 9″ cake pans prepared with pan spray and lined with rounds of parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl measure:

1 cup Hershey Special Dark Cocoa

Pour over the cocoa:

1 cup strong coffee that is hot and whisk well

Add to the coffee/cocoa:

1 cup cold water

In the bowl of a heavy duty 5 quart mixer with a paddle cream together:

6 ounces unsalted butter

2 ounces vegetable oil

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Add:

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 whole eggs one at a time

Sift together:

3 cups of cake flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

After the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla are well creamed and you have added the eggs to that mixture one at a time, scrape the bowl well and beat with the paddle until there are no lumps of butter remaining.

Alternate the flour with the coffee/cocoa mixture in thirds scraping often to make sure there are no lumps of flour or butter remaining.  Do not overmix.

Pour even amounts of batter in each pan.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the cake comes out clean.  Cool in pans for at least 15 minutes before depanning.  Cool the cakes before chilling them well in the refrigerator.

For the Blackberry Mousse Filling

10 ounces organic frozen blackberries

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cold water

2 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin

2 cups heavy cream whipped

Place the frozen blackberries into a saucepan and stir in the granulated sugar.  Allow to sit until the juices from the berries starts to emerge.

Over a medium heat, start to cook the berries gently.  Bring to a boil and strain immediately.  Cool in a large shallow bowl to a temperature of 110 degrees F.

Bloom the powdered gelatin in the cold water and melt in the microwave or in a saucepan of hot water to at temperature of 110 degrees F and then stir in the blackberry mixture well.

Refrigerate until the temperature decreases to about 87 degrees F.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Chambord Simple Syrup

Make a simple syrup by boiling 1 cup of granulated sugar in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes.  Cool and add 1/2 cup of Chambord, blackberry liquor..if you wish to add more Chambord adjust the taste to your preference.

Build your cake in the usual manner by lining a 3 inch high cake pan with plastic wrap.  Trim a layer of cake flat and brush the cake with Chambord syrup.  Pipe a dam of Italian meringue buttercream and fill with blackberry mousse.   You can double the line of the dam to achieve a thicker filling.  Repeat and end with the top layer of cake turned upside down so that the cake is nice and flat.

Chill for at least 8 hours to set the filling.  Open the plastic wrap and place a cake board on top of the cake, flip out and flip the cake back onto a cake board so that the syrup continues to move down the cake..this is important…because if you allow the cake to remain upside down on your cake board the syrup will move out of the cake and soak your cake board…not a good thing..always remember that when you syrup a cake to place the cake on the cake board so that the syrup is moving down.

Ice the cake and decorate as you wish.