24 April 2008

Magic Spice Cake with Maple Penuche Frosting

Magic Spice Cake with Maple Penuche Frosting (with title)
I was channel-surfing for a few minutes when I chanced upon the worst talk show in the world ever, Tyra. Her guest was, uh, some food celebrity with the initials "SL". I don't want his/her rabid fans searching for her name and ending up here. Some poor woman was being featured due to her inability to entertain, and now she was behind some horrid table where some magical yellow monster (SL, perhaps?) had vomited all over it. SL asked her, "Have you ever baked a cake?" Never, she said ("I get mine at Costco"), and while I thought this is where they'd finally teach Tyra how the cake starts from flour and eggs and ends up in her belly, SL instead says "You don't have to!!"

Oh, joy. SL got a gigantic sheet cake (still from Costco) frosted white, stacked a 9" round cake on top, and littered the surface with cupcakes, candy sprinkles, and star cut-out cookies. "They have the best cakes there! Taste the icing, isn't it great?!" Of course, the poor woman sticks her finger it, takes a lick, and exclaims, "Wow, that IS good!" Huh?!

I know kids will be kids. They will probably lose their marbles upon being presented with a white shit tower, but I've never known for a kid to be disappointed with a home-baked cake, for crying out loud. Just stick an action figure on top (and it would not cost you $60 to buy). Thankfully, my friend Genie isn't a kid, so I thought I'd come to her party with a cake in tow. A little embarrassed, she texted me that it's not really her party since her birthday was a month ago, but her brother was celebrating his graduation from college and they just stuck the parties together. Eep! With a paper cone and some more white frosting, I wrote in tiny letters all over the giant "Genie": "(Belated Happy Birthday,) GENIE! Congratulations, Chuckie! :P"

I was afraid that making a spice cake would just scream "senior citizen!!" to my friends, but I quite liked it and unless they're lying, they said it was super-delicious too. Despite the fact that my decorating skills left a lot to be desired (sue me, it's my first time to use a paper cone) and the seam of the two layers was showing (clearly not the best decorating frosting, this recipe), Genie was very appreciative. Well, she better!

The rockzing Food Rockz Man also tagged me to mention seven random facts about myself. Now, it couldn't possibly be random, unless I wrote everything about myself and picked them out of a hat.

  1. I am a major nerd. Proof? In high school, Magic Cards were banned. I stayed a few hours after at a friends' house so we could duel. My deck of choice was a blue/white deck which had no creatures and was built to annoy people.

  2. I am a major fighting game geek too. I think few people can beat me when I'm using Chun Li. Okay, I've totally lost you all.

  3. My mom watched a lot of Name That Tune when she was pregnant with me, so she attributes my dimples to the amount of George DeWitt that she saw.

  4. My worst subject in school was History. I seriously, seriously hated it.

  5. In addition to the usual crap shows I watch, I'm now following local reruns of Make Me a Supermodel, both the US and UK versions.

  6. I've never understood fear of heights. I used to sit out on a ledge on the Math Building (third storey), just for the breeze and to get away from the noise. My fantasies involve jumping from floor to floor in a mall. Of course, it's stupid.

  7. The first cooking shows I watched were Caprial's Café (my favorite for a long while), Baker's Dozen, and Biba's Italian Kitchen. I wish I had paid more attention to Biba then.

Magic Spice Cake adapted from Birthday Cakes
  • 200g (1 cup) granulated sugar

  • 150g (3/4 cup) packed brown sugar

  • 170g (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 240g (1 cup) buttermilk

  • 300g (2-1/4 cups) cake flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease, line, and grease again two 9-inch round cake pans. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon onto a sheet of waxed paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the white and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. If at any time the mixture looks oily, beat at high speed until it regains its creamy appearance. Add in a third of the flour mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula. Add half the buttermilk and stir until combined. Continue with half the remaining flour, the rest of the buttermilk, and the rest of the flour, folding until well-combined at the end. Divide the batter equally between the two pans and spin them around to flatten the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then unmold and let cool completely.

Maple Penuche Frosting
There's something wrong with this recipe. It's more like a glaze, and therefore, did not do a good job of hiding the seam of the two layers and didn't seem like an "American" cake at all, since it had no body. It does taste good (if a little grainy-- perhaps because I substituted maple syrup for corn syrup), though. If you want a neat appearance, especially on the sides, you might consider glazing the top and sides with apple jelly to smooth all around and letting it set in the fridge before giving it a final glaze of the penuche.
  • 200g (1 cup) packed brown sugar

  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

  • 80g (1/3 cup) milk

  • 55g (4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all the ingredients except for the vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil briskly for 1 minute while stirring. Remove from the heat and let it cool to lukewarm, then stir in the vanilla and beat until thickened. Use it to fill the layers and pour it over the top of the cooled cake, smoothing with an icing spatula.

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