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Carolyn Tillie

Spice Cake recipes

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Inspired by the Cake for Dessert thread, I've been thinking about a specific cake I'm craving...

I want a spice cake.

Not just any spice cake. I want a light, delicate sponge that can stand up on its own. No frosting on this cake, although a light (VERY light) glaze might be acceptable. No crumble topping. And no nuts.

I don't want a tea cake. I've made those and while I like them, I find them a bit too heavy. Tea cakes are fine for breakfast, lightly toasted with butter.

This is a cake to be served with tea which is why I don't want a heavy frosting to over sweeten the delicacy of the spice. It is rich and moist.

It is the sort of cake that Helena Bonham Carter eats in Howards End. She cuts a chunk and starts eating while her brother digs into the scones.

Who can help?

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Carolyn:

This is called Caramel Cake but it is actually a spice cake which is poked after baking and a caramel sauce poured over. Half the caramel sauce is reserved and turned into frosting by adding powdered sugar and milk. It is a very thin icing but it could also easily be left off, if desired, as could the caramel. I've only made this once and, as I recall, I very well may have left it unfrosted, with only the caramel as adornment. It was tasty enough that I saved the recipe. I wish I'd read your thread earlier -- it would have been perfect for the rainy day we had today!

It is originally from the Penzey's catalog.

Caramel Cake

8 oz. butter, softened

14 oz. granulated sugar (2 cups)

4 eggs

15 oz. A/P flour (3 cups)

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Caramel Sauce

4 oz. butter

15-1/4 oz. brown sugar (2 cups)

1/2 cup milk

Frosting

1/2 cup caramel sauce

12 oz. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/8-1/4 cup milk

350 oven. Grease 13x9 pan.

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.

Combine milk and vanilla.

Cream butter. Add sugar slowly and beat until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour and milk mixtures alternately, blending thoroughly after each addition. Spread in pan. Bake for 40 minutes, testing for doneness after 30 minutes.

Caramel Sauce: combine butter, brown sugar in saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted and mixture is hot, add milk and stir well. Bring to boil and boil for one minute. Divide into two equal portions.

Let cake sit for five minutes, then poke evenly with fork. Pour half the caramel mixture over the top, spreading evenly. Let cool.

Whip remaining caramel sauce with powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly add milk, 1/8 cup at a time and beat to spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake.

I'm going to make it tomorrow. Thanks for suggesting spice cake!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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This one looks light and delicate, perfect to go with a nice cuppa!

Spice Chiffon Cake

Bake at 325 for about 60 min

makes 1 9" tube cake

1 c + 2 Tbs sifted cake flour

3/4 c sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 c light vegetable oil

2 egg yolks

6 Tbs water

1/2 c egg whites (approx 4)

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Make a well int he center and add the oil, yolks and water. Beat with a spoon for about a minute until the batter is smooth.

In a large bowl, whip the whites and the cream of tartar until very stiff peaks form. Do not underbeat.

Pour the batter slowly over the whites folding in with a rubber spatula just until blended.

Pour into the UNGREASED tube pan.

Bake at 325 until the center springs back when touched. Invert pan on a rack and let stand until cool. Loosen the cake around the sides and remove form the pan. Frost with whipped cream or leave unfrosted and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar if desired.


Edited by chefcyn (log)

It's not the destination, but the journey!

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I made the Caramel Spice Cake today. With the icing. No doubt about it...Yum Yum Yum!

Definitely check it after 30 minutes. I baked it in a conventional oven and it did not take the entire 40 minutes.

It's a keeper! Flavor is great and it was fun to make a single layer cake -- it's been ages since I've done so!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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I made the Caramel Spice Cake today.  With the icing.  No doubt about it...Yum Yum Yum!

Definitely check it after 30 minutes.  I baked it in a conventional oven and it did not take the entire 40 minutes.

It's a keeper!  Flavor is great and it was fun to make a single layer cake -- it's been ages since I've done so!

(Next morning)

...and it is really good for breakfast with both icy cold milk and hot coffee!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Here is another one....

Moist, Tender Spice Cake

Well, this was my first attempt. Sadly, I must say it is pretty awful. I should have been a bit suspicious when I read the recipe. The first thing that struck me as ood was the 1/4 cup of cornstarch -- I've never seen that in a cake recipe before. The other thing was the order of production. I'm used to creaming the butter and sugar together first, and then alternately adding a flour mixture with a liquid. This recipe had both; a mixture of flour, spices, and cornstarch and a liquid mixture of milk, eggs, and vanilla. In these instructions, you are to mix the flour mixture with the softened butter, THEN the liquid, THEN the sugar.

The resulting cake smelled just okay in the oven. When it hits your tongue, the first taste which hits the tongue is PASTINESS. As you can see from the picture, I couldn't event get a solid, cohesive slice out of the pan. It immediately crumbles apart. You can't even fork-cut a bite off without it falling into bits. There is no delicacy and the subsequent sponge fails in height or structure. I think there are boxed spice cakes with more substantial flavor. Sorry, Swisskaese!

gallery_431_241_1105928595.jpg

The quest continues! Kit, your Caramel Cake will be next!


Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)

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Here is another one....

Moist, Tender Spice Cake

Well, this was my first attempt. Sadly, I must say it is pretty awful. I should have been a bit suspicious when I read the recipe. The first thing that struck me as ood was the 1/4 cup of cornstarch -- I've never seen that in a cake recipe before. The other thing was the order of production. I'm used to creaming the butter and sugar together first, and then alternately adding a flour mixture with a liquid. This recipe had both; a mixture of flour, spices, and cornstarch and a liquid mixture of milk, eggs, and vanilla. In these instructions, you are to mix the flour mixture with the softened butter, THEN the liquid, THEN the sugar.

The resulting cake smelled just okay in the oven. When it hits your tongue, the first taste which hits the tongue is PASTINESS. As you can see from the picture, I couldn't event get a solid, cohesive slice out of the pan. It immediately crumbles apart. You can't even fork-cut a bite off without it falling into bits. There is no delicacy and the subsequent sponge fails in height or structure. I think there are boxed spice cakes with more substantial flavor. Sorry, Swisskaese!

gallery_431_241_1105928595.jpg

The quest continues! Kit, your Caramel Cake will be next!

Sorry, it was such a failure. Good luck with the others.

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The quest continues! Kit, your Caramel Cake will be next!

Oh! The pressure! :laugh:

Seriously, I know how it is when you have a taste and a texture and a mouthfeel in your mind...the search can go on forever! I've been looking for a sherry-soaked sponge cake that I had at a catered event in LA about six years ago (no idea who the caterer was). I think it was a nice, thick sponge with a sherry soaking syrup. Simple and deliciously flavorful. I think I posted a thread asking for help finding something like it. I hope you find something that suits your fancy sooner than I have, Carolyn!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Carolyn, I do not have a recipe but have you tried the Viet Nam cinnamon???? Oh my soul, it is sooooo good!!! I've seen it at the major grocery stores labeled as Saigon cinnamon put out by Durkee or McCormack or something. I got mine off of King Arthur's. Just tremendous flavor - sort of a muted red hot cinnamon burst. Just really worth your while if you're doing spice stuff.

You could just take a regular recipe that you like & put in that cinnamon alone for an A+ gold star cake! Way good!

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Carolyn, I do not have a recipe but have you tried the Viet Nam cinnamon???? Oh my soul, it is sooooo good!!! I've seen it at the major grocery stores labeled as Saigon cinnamon put out by Durkee or McCormack or something. I got mine off of King Arthur's. Just tremendous flavor - sort of a muted red hot cinnamon burst. Just really worth your while if you're doing spice stuff.

You could just take a regular recipe that you like & put in that cinnamon alone for an A+ gold star cake! Way good!

I get the Vietnamese Cinnamon from Penzey's, which is where I found the recipe for the Caramel Spice Cake which I listed above. My cousin, who is a baker in W. Stockbridge, Mass., turned me onto it about five years ago. I agree, K8, it's terrific stuff.


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Here's another one that looks interesting (think I'll try it tomorrow):

Spice Cake with Cardamom Coffe Icing

2 1/4 cups (11.25 oz) a/p flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground white pepper

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

4 oz butter, softened

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Grease and flour either two 8" round cake pans or one 13"x9" pan. Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift flour, powder, soda, salt and spices and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour alternately with buttermilk and beat one minute until smooth. Pour into pans and bake 30-35 minutes for rounds or 40-50 minutes for 13"x9" pan. Cool in pans 10 minutes then turn out and cool completely before frosting.

Cardamom Coffee Icing

1/4 cup milk

1 tbsp instant espresso

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp vanilla

8 oz butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat milk and dissolve the instant espresso in it. Cool. Beat together remaining ingredients. Add cooled coffee and beat until fluffy.

This from Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland by Beth Dooley and Lucia Watson.

I'm curious about the icing. Only 3/4 cup powdered sugar to half a pound of butter? I found the same recipe online in a couple of places and the same quantities are listed. Sounds good to me -- won't be too sweet!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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This week I'm going to try some spice cakes. Being the idiot that I am, I made the same cake Carolyn made (I thought she had tried one of the other recipes). As I added the sugar -- at the end of the recipe-- I realized that this was the same one. Anyway . . . my cake held together a little better than Carolyn's. It is definitely a bit crumbly, but I can manage to get a slice out without reducing it to crumbs. The texture is a little pasty. The flavor is not terrible, but not too good either.

Right now I have chefcyn's chiffon spice cake cooling on the rack. I have fairly high expectations, since the last two chiffon cakes Ive made --one chocolate and one banana-- have been very moist, spongy and all-around irresistable. I'll post pics soon. For now, here's a pic of the one I made last night.

gallery_23736_355_10500.jpg

Kit, I'm also going to try that first recipe you posted. I have some killer caramel sauce in the fridge that would go well with it!


Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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mmmmm. spice cake. glad you reminded me, Patrick...it's going to be rainy for the next few days and spice cake is soooo good on a rainy day. especially with a good book and coffee. no, tea. no, coffee. no, tea. now that is something you just can't decide beforehand. Gotta wait until the moment to see if it is a coffee-or-tea-with-spice-cake moment!


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Alright, here's the chiffon cake. Its extremely light and spongy, actually too light for my taste. I think I want something a little more dense. I dont think Ill make it again, but if I did, I think I'd use maybe 25% less whites. Also, for some reason the absence of butter seems more apparent in this cake than in the other two chiffon cakes Ive done.

gallery_23736_355_10239.jpg

gallery_23736_355_12020.jpg


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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My all-time favorite spice cake is the Sweet Potato Layer Cake with Rum-Plumped Raising and Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting. I've always made it as a bundt cake, but I'm sure it would be awesome in nice layers. I think it's a little heavier than what the original poster has in mind, but for my money, this cake can't be beat.

Sweet Potato Layer Cake with Rum-Plumped Raising and Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

From Regan Daley, In the Sweet Kitchen

Serves: 12 to 14

Ingredients:

3/4 c. golden raisins

1/3 c. dark rum

2 large or 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes (to yield 2 c. mashed)

4 large eggs

2 c. sugar

1 c. vegetable oil

2 tsp. vanilla

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1.5 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 c. buttermilk

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. cool water, plus up to 1/4 c. more for thinning caramel

1 lb. cream cheese

1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

5.5-6 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted

1.5 tsp. vanilla

vegetable oil

Edit: see the link for instructions.


Edited by plk (log)

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I made Kit's version last night. Its definitely the best of the 3 that I've tried. Denser than the chiffon, but not pasty like the first cake. Good flavor, thanks in part to the 8ozs of butter. I haven't iced the cake or coated it with caramel, but I think the cake would be much better if I did. You know how some cakes seem to need nothing, while others practically beg for icing or whipped cream or caramel? All the spice cakes Ive tried seem to be incomplete without that something extra.

gallery_23736_355_12740.jpg

Last night it occurred to me that the best way to make spice cake would be to use that date cake recipe I used for 'sticky toffee pudding', changing the recipe only by adding cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. That cake really had everything I'm looking for in the spice cake, and it looked like a spice cake since it was colored by the date-soaking liquid.


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I've always liked the spice cake recipe in the most recent edition of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It's very moist, nicely dark, fine-textured but dense enough to pick up and eat out of hand (as I was wont to do to an entire cake, piece by piece as the day wore on when I was pregnant with my first child!), and spiced with, among other spices, a touch of cayenne.

But my favorite spice cakein the world is any spice cake that has sweet potato in it. The moistness, denseness, and unique flavor are incomparable. The Regan Daley recipe that Kit posted sounds delicious. What I do in practice is simply add a riced sweet potato or two to whatever spice cake or spice muffin recipe I'm using.

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There is a wonderful spice cake recipe in Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen cookbook. It may be posted on Food TV. it has a cranberry sauce with it. It is very, very moist and wonderful. There is a problem with the recipe though. It calls for a 9 inch round cake pan and the batter mushrooms over. I've double checked and I can only assume his professsional pans are deeper. I was going to start a thread on this here today, but didn't have time to check his book to see if he specifies deep dish cake pans in his cooks kitchen section. but do try the recipe, it is a true, perfect textured spice cake...just use a bigger pan. trust me. if you can't find it, pm me.

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I made Kit's version last night. Its definitely the best of the 3 that I've tried. Denser than the chiffon, but not pasty like the first cake. Good flavor, thanks in part to the 8ozs of butter. I haven't iced the cake or coated it with caramel, but I think the cake would be much better if I did. You know how some cakes seem to need nothing, while others practically beg for icing or whipped cream or caramel? All the spice cakes Ive tried seem to be incomplete without that something extra.

The caramel on that cake is definitely a must. You might want to stop at just poking the holes and pouring it on and leaving the frosting step out...although for frosting, it's pretty good, albeit sweet.


kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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Patrick, lovely work as usual.

My current spice cake recipe is similar to kit's. I prefer a darker colored spice cake, that stands on its own a bit more. This can be achieved, as is traditional in the south, with the addition of a bit of molasses. Maybe you could also try a French pain d'epices, which might be more of what you're looking for.

I also have a recipe that FoodMan passed on to me, which includes jam in the batter, I can post some recipes later if desired.

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