Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Homemade Spice Cake

The next step in making a cake, is, of course, making a cake. Sure, you can just add eggs and oil to a mix, but there is definitely a difference in texture and flavor with a homemade cake. It's denser, and has loads more flavor than anything you'll ever get out of a box. Here is my recipe for a 6-inch Homemade Spice Cake. If you want a regular sized cake, just double the recipe.

You will need:

1 stick Softened Unsalted Butter (1/2 cup), plus some for the pans

3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour

3/4 cup Cake Flour

1 tsp. Ground Ginger

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Allspice

1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves

1/2 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup Sugar

3/8 cup Dark Brown Sugar (I use Muscovado Sugar)

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

5/8 cup Milk

2 six-inch cake pans


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You're going to need 6-inch parchment circles, and yes, you can buy them, but they usually aren't in grocery stores. Regular parchment CAN be found in a grocery store, and making a circle is pretty easy. Set down the pan on the parchment, and using a pencil, trace the bottom. Then just cut it out, inside the lines, so there's no pencil marks on your circle (see picture).

Butter your pans, set in your parchment circles, then butter the parchment circles. You can then flour them if you want, but I usually don't. I know I'm going against everything you've ever heard, but really, the cakes turn out fine.

Sift together your flours, spices, baking powder and salt (see picture). Sifting is important. It does make a difference. For some cakes I sift twice, but since spice cake doesn't need to be a super light texture, once is fine.

Using an electric mixer, cream together your butter and sugars. Make sure the brown sugar gets fully incorporated, since it has a tendency to make clumps. Mix on medium low for about 5 minutes.

Set your mixer on low speed, and add the eggs, incorporating the first before adding the second, and then add the vanilla. I like a lot of vanilla in my baked goods, which is why the recipe asks for two teaspoons. I'd add a tablespoon if I could, but The Physicist thinks it's "too much".

Okay, time to add your dry ingredients and your milk. Add your dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. I don't know why you do this, but it works. Mix until fully incorporated.

Split your batter evenly between your two pans, and using an offset spatula, smooth the tops. This helps for even baking, and smooth cake tops when they're done.

Bake your cakes for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without batter on it (comes out "clean"). When I first started baking, I'd worry if a crumb stuck to the toothpick, because that wasn't "clean", but crumbs are okay.

Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then get 'em out of the pans, and let them cool completely on a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, you can frost them, or you can wrap them up tightly in plastic wrap, store them in the fridge, and frost them tomorrow. Which is what I'm doing.

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