When summer heat beats it's annual retreat in favor of fall chill, it's time to run the furnace for a few minutes in the morning, then open up the house around noon and let the cool breezes circulate. And it's time to dig out my cozy sweaters and my warm, savory recipes... chilis, stews, and spice cake. So today, I did just that. Made a spice cake, that is, and the whole house smells of warm cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.
The recipe harks back to my great grandmother Eva, from back in the day when housewives used sour milk as an excuse to bake a cake, but just in case you don't happen to have any sour milk sitting around, it's easy to create your own.
For the recipe, click on the link below.
(Have all the ingredients at room temperature.)
1 T. white or apple cider vinegar
1 cup minus 1 T. room temperature, whole milk
½ cup (1 stick) soft, unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
Pour the vinegar into a 1-cup measure. Fill the rest of the measuring cup with the room temperature milk.
Let the milk sit for 5 minutes to clabber (sour).
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Butter a 9 x 9" pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper—then butter the paper. Flour the pan and set it aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients alternately with the clabbered milk to the butter mixture, stirring until the batter is well-mixed.
Spread the batter in the pan. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Frost, if desired, with Caramel Fudge Frosting.
Caramel Fudge Frosting
6 T. unsalted butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
6 T. whole milk or half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
⅛ tsp. salt
2 cups powdered sugar
In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan on medium heat, melt the granulated sugar. Turn the heat down to low and add the butter and the brown sugar, whisking until dissolved. Turn off the heat and whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil it for exactly 1 minute without stirring.
Remove the pan from the stove and add the vanilla and salt. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Beat the frosting with an electric mixer until very smooth and cool to the touch. (You may speed the cooling process by setting the saucepan in a slightly larger pan containing cold water and ice cubes.)
When the frosting is cooled and thickened, spread it over the cake. It will continue to thicken as it sits, creating a rich, caramel fudge.
Did you know that I wrote a cookbook?
Pea Soup: Recipes for Body, Mind, and Spirit from a "Kitchen Table Gourmet."
A beautiful, 116 page cookbook, chock-full of delicious,
you can wrap your mouth around and savor;
appetizers to desserts and everything in between.