Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2008 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Cake and photos by Sarah Phillips © Sarah Phillips
Cake and photos by Sarah Phillips © Sarah Phillips
For a wonderful taste sensation, fill and frost with the Seven Minute Mocha Frosting. I topped my cake with a coarsely chopped 3.2 ounce (90 gram) Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate Bar from Chocolove (It's an eating chocolate bar - they have great flavor!) WOWIE!
I think spice cakes are wonderful anytime of year! This one is not overly spicy, but is a nice blend of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and goes with just about every summer fruit flavor! The innovative part of this recipe is that it uses all-purpose flour and the Two Step Mixing Method, usually seen with cakes made with cake flour. My recipe results in a tender, moist cake that literally melts in your mouth, however cakes mixed with this method tend to not rise as high, and tend to be denser, than those mixed with the Creaming Method (butter and sugar are first beaten together)! I recently discovered through research, that the Pillsbury Company invented the Two-Stage method for home bakers in 1945, which they called the Quick-Mix Method. Crisco was used in their recipes at the time, and they pointed out that butter could be easily substituted with the same wonderful result.
The Two-Step Mixing Method works this way: Mixing the butter first directly with the flour and dry ingredients, coats the gluten-forming proteins in the wheat flour with fat, so when the wet ingredients, such as buttermilk or milk are added next, and when the ingredients are mixed, very little gluten is formed.
CAKE RECIPE HELP
I use ingredients cold from the refrigerator. I have discovered that with the friction from today's stand electric mixer attachments, they warm quickly to room temperature and the need to let ingredients sit to warm is unnecessary and old-fashioned.
1 cup whole or 2% milk; cold from the refrigerator
1/4 cup dark unsulphured molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter; cold from the refrigerator
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs; cold from the refrigerator
1. Position oven shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. (If using dark, nonstick baking pans or ovenproof, Pyrex glass pans, do NOT reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F).
Grease two, 9 x 2-inch cake pans on the bottom. Set aside.
SARAH SAYS: I wanted to test what would happen if I just greased the bottom of the cake pans instead of the entire cake pan. The result was excellent: When baked, I did not get the crusty edges on the cake layers and its edges were soft, instead of crusty. See Step #8.
2. In a one or two-cup measuring cup or a bowl with a pouring spout, beat together the milk, molasses and vanilla extract, and combine. Set aside.
Remove the butter stick from the refrigerator, and cut the stick into approximately 8 evenly-sliced pieces. Set aside, and let soften slightly, but for best results, it must remain cool.
3. Into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Fit a paddle attachment to the mixer, and mix on low, about 10 to 15 seconds to combine the ingredients. Make sure you get all of the ingredients mixed in from the bottom of the bowl.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter 1 tablespoon or piece at a time at a time into the flour mixture. Keep adding each butter-piece about 10 seconds apart, until the stick has been incorporated. The flour mixture should begin to look like coarse cornmeal or start to clump together and look moistened slightly if your butter is slightly warm. You should not see any large butter pieces in the mixture. Keep mixing on low if you do.
5. With the mixer speed on low, add the milk/molasses mixture slowly at the side of the bowl. Mix until incorporated, taking about 5-10 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, for two minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
6. Add the eggs.
With the mixer speed on low, incorporate the eggs into the mixture, taking about 45 seconds.
Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, for one minute.
Stop the mixer, unclamp the bowl, and give the batter one or two quick turns with a large rubber spatula. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl.
7. Divide the batter in the prepared baking pans (should fill 1/4 full in a 9 x 2-inch pan) and lightly smooth the tops.
8. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes (9 x 2-inch pan) or until the top gives slightly when touched (you will hear a few air bubbles popping) and the cake will shrink slightly from the side of the pan. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter. Do not overbake.
9. Remove cakes to cool on wire racks for 10 to 15 minutes and then unmold onto wire cake racks, right-side-up, to cool thoroughly. Be careful, the cakes are delicate when warm.
The cake layers bake flat and need no trimming. Finished height = 1 1/4-inches each layer in a 9 x 2-inch pan.
The cake layers store nicely. They can be stored at room temperature for about 3 or more days. The cake layers freeze well for about a month or more. Keep well wrapped.