This month I decided to do a spice cake for a friend who had a baby. It ended up being so much like my carrot cake in March (the cake, not the baby), that I'm a little embarrassed to call it my Cake of the Month!
I chose Emeril Lagasse's recipe. I planned to do a tall layer cake as his recipe instructs, but then I couldn't find my cake pans (post move). I had to settle for a 9x13 pan. Boooooring.
The cake was easy enough to make, and came out decent. It was WAY too sweet, though. After our first pieces, Jeff and I hardly ate any of it, and ended up throwing out the rest several days later. (I wish I had taken half of it to friends that first day.) I compared the ingredients in Emeril's cream cheese frosting to America's Test Kitchen's cream cheese frosting from March's carrot cake. Emeril's version had three times(!) the sugar. Eesh. In his defense, he's from the South, and sugar is in their blood. Usually when I make a recipe from a southern cookbook or website, I'm extra-aware of the sugar content and careful not to add too much. I didn't think of it this time and paid the price. Hoooooo-weeeeeeee, was this sweet! Sweet as a prairie flower! (Did that sound southern enough?)
The roasted walnuts
The frosted cake
The frosted cake with the nuts on top
A piece of the final of cake (in my backyard)
The dinner that I took to my friend
(Grape tomatoes on angel hair, green beans, salad, cake.)
Buttermilk Spice Cake with Roasted Walnut Cream Cheese FrostingSource: Emeril Lagasse, 2005
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 recipe Roasted Walnut Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Cut 2 (9-inch) parchment paper rounds and line the pan bottoms. Grease and flour the parchment rounds.
In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter. With the mixer running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well. With the electric mixer, in another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the cake batter. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake until the center springs back when touched, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. After the cakes have cooled, invert them onto sheets of parchment paper. Slice each cake in half and set aside.
Spread a layer of the frosting over 3 layers of the cake. Place the layers of cake on top of each other and top with the fourth layer of cake. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Slice the cake into individual servings.Roasted Walnut and Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
3/4 pound (about 3 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup roasted walnut piecesIn a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the cheese and butter. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and milk, if needed to thin consistency, and mix well. Fold in the walnut pieces. Yield: about 3 cups