Monday, August 15, 2005

Hoochie Mama! That's a Good Cake!

Hannah picked this Southern Spicy Ginger Cake for her birthday party. She didn't want frosting but it is just plain unAmerican to have a birthday cake with no frosting so I paired it with a never-fail Buttercream Frosting. The first thing that three of the kids said after their first bite was, "This is amazing frosting." You've gotta try this ... it is unexpected and delicious.

SOUTHERN SPICY GINGER CAKE
From James Beard's American Cookery. This definitely has a zing from all that ginger.

2 eggs
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup melted butter
2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cloves (I used 1/2 t.)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup boiling water

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and then beat in the sugar and molasses until very fluffy (easiest with electric mixer). Stir in the melted butter. Sift the dry ingredients together and stir into the first mixture. Add the boiling water and stir just to mix. Turn into a well-greased sheet pan about 10 x 14 x 2 inches (I used a standard 9 x 13" pan and it worked just fine). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven about 35 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Serve hot or cold, plain or topped with a fruit or chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or ice cream.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
From The Cake Mix Doctor. There is not a bad frosting recipe in this book. They are all homemade as opposed to the cake recipes which fix up cake mixes. I don't use the cake recipes from this, preferring the texture of home made cake, but I do use it for inspirations on cake/frosting pairings.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter at room temperature
3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minutes more. Blend in up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

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