Baking with Quality Hill Playhouse


By J. Kent Barnhart

Weekend Baking Time!
I love the smell of the holidays – nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon…so I thought we’d do a spice cake this week. I prefer a Bundt pan, but you can make this in a 9 x 13 pan, two 9-inch pans for a double layer cake, or as cupcakes. It is moist and flavorful enough without frosting, but I’ve included a caramel topping that you may use as a glaze or icing. I admit that I am a bit heavy-handed when it comes to the spices, so I’ve listed what I consider to be the minimum. It’s spicy but not too sweet; remember – Cake is not just for breakfast anymore!

The Q’s Fall Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze

2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup milk
3 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (room temperature)
2 cups brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°
Grease and flour pan (I use Baker’s Joy spray)
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and spices and set aside (I put all these into a hand sifter and sift into the bowl).
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and cream together until completely mixed (no sugar lumps!) light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time and beat until just combined. (I whisk each egg before adding – just enough to combine the white and yolk.) Alternate adding in milk and dry ingredients one third at a time, mixing well (scrape down the sides of the bowl), then add vanilla and beat about 30 seconds more until really fluffy. Pour batter into the pan and bake for about forty minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a butter knife into the moist middle part of the cake. It should come out completely clean. If not, bake a bit more and test again. (Hint: I always set the timer for five minutes shorter than baking time so I can check to be sure not to over-bake.)
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for five minutes, then turn out onto a cake plate. (I put the plate on top – well, the bottom – of the Bundt pan then turn over. Lightly knock on the bottom of the pan a few times to be sure the cake separates from the pan.) Let cool while you make the glaze/frosting. I use the glaze for a Bundt cake but frost if made in other types of pans.
To make glaze/frosting:
Melt butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. When the butter has melted, add brown sugar and stir until completely mixed. Increase heat until it just comes to a boil. Add cream and stir and return to a slow boil for one minute. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
Pour into a medium/large bowl, add powdered sugar, and mix with a hand mixer until smooth. If using as a glaze, pour over cake while still glaze is still warm. If frosting, let both the frosting and cake cool. (You may need to add more powdered sugar to bring to a spreadable consistency; chill a bit in the refrigerator if necessary.)

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