This is a great cake for fall.
We were up in Maryland last weekend visiting my in-laws and this cake was actually a collaborative effort between my mother-in-law (Martha) and me. It turned out wonderfully (even though at one point I dumped some of the flour mixture on the counter) – oops! I think I carefully got most of it back in the mixing bowl though because this cake was so moist and delicate – it turned out perfect!
After the cake finished baking we decided to take the girls to the park to get some of their energy out of their system. While we were out, my mother-in-law finished up the frosting. That was a nice surprise because I have only made this type of frosting once before and since there was company I was a bit nervous. It really isn’t too difficult, but if you get any moisture into the frosting it can set you back a bit. The end results are glorious though – as you can probably see from the picture. This frosting is very similar to a seven minute frosting which I can only describe as a mixture between marshmallows and a meringue – it’s heavenly. If you haven’t tried it before I definitely suggest giving it a try. It’s a nice change from your typical buttercream or cream cheese frosting.
The cake is just the right blend of spices. You will definitely not want to overbake this one as spice cakes can sometimes end up a bit dry – this didn’t at all, it was just right. We made this cake in honor of Jim’s grandfather’s birthday next week. Happy birthday Herb! We hope this year is full of spice – ha ha!
Recipe is from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook – Region: Maine
2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
½ t. ground allspice
¾ cup butter
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
¾ cup buttermilk
This recipe also calls for 1 cup raisins, rinsed in HOT water, drained and chopped and 1 cup finely chopped nuts. We did not add these. The raisins would add moisture to the cake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set oven rack to middle position.
Sift the flour with the baking soda, salt and spices
Beat the butter to soften and cream it. Add the flour mixture, brown sugar and buttermilk and mix to moisten. Beat 2 minutes with electric mixer on medium speed. (Note from Martha – Because we were using a more powerful mixer than was available at the time this cookbook was published, I would use caution and adjust the time to possibly 1 minute.)
Add the eggs and beat one minute longer.
If using the raisins and nuts add at this time.
Pour into 3 8 inch cake pans. Greased and floured. Bake 25 minutes. We used 2 9 inch pans and probably baked about 20-21 minutes You will have to adjust time for thickness of cake.
Brown Sugar Frosting
2 egg whites
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1/8 t. salt
½ cup water
1 T light corn syrup
1 ¼ t. vanilla
Place all except VANILLA in top of a double boiler, beat for about 1 minute then place over boiling water and beat with a mixer for 7 minutes or until frosting stands in stiff peaks. Remove from over boiling water, add vanilla and beat into mixture. Frost cooled cake. (During very humid weather you make have to beat longer to get stiff peaks)