Spice cake

Last Saturday morning I got up at six thirty in the morning to bake a spice cake for my friend. I made her a red velvet cake last year and I have still yet to find the time and brain space to make the Chinese Cream Fruit Cake that she actually wants. Maybe next year or maybe Christmas.

Anyhow, at seven o’clock in the morning I was starting the baking and then I realised that I did not have ginger or vegetable oil. So I leapt into the car and drove to Tesco bought what I needed and whizzed back home. The recipe is taken from one of my favourite websites. Sally’s Baking Addiction. It was easy to make – I put all the ingredients in my new stand mixer and let it whizz for a few minutes and kaboom, done! There was so much cake mixture that I placed it in two round cake tins. The cakes came out soft and spongy. I let them rest and cool down for a few hours while I popped out to the hairdresser and quickly bought a birthday present for my friend. The icing was easy to do and before I knew it I was racing across the A13 to deliver cake and presents.

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canola (240ml) or vegetable oil
  • 1 and 3/4 cup (350g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (180g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated apple (or grated carrot/zucchini)
  • optional: 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and other spices together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the oil, brown sugar, applesauce, eggs, vanilla extract, and molasses (if using) together in a medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in the grated apple until combined.
  4. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it). Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
  7. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.

The cake went down well, devoured my friend, her children, her friend and her children and myself. I even took a piece home which served as a nice little snack this week. This week – that has been eventful in my personal life and in British politics, another post for another day. We live in interesting times.

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