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Old April 11th, 2010, 08:00 PM   #101
pastskater
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: California
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Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
serves 12 to 14

To save time, let the eggs, buttermilk, and butter come up to temperature while the browned butter and spice mixture cools. To prevent unsightly air holes in the finished cake, be sure to follow the instructions for removing air bubbles in the batter. Leftover cake can be stored, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The cake should be brought to room temperature before serving.
cake
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pan
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large whole eggs plus 3 large egg yolks,at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light or mild molasses
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

frosting
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces, softened
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle posi¬tion and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. Combine the spices in a small bowl; reserve 1/2teaspoon for the frosting.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirl¬ing the pan constantly, until the butter is light brown and has a faint nutty aroma, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, gently whisk the eggs, yolks, and vanilla to combine. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 12 tablespoons butter with the sugar and molasses at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl twice with a rubber spatula. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the cooled butter and spice mixture, ginger, and half of the egg mixture; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture; scrape down the bowl again. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add about one-third of the flour mixture, fol¬lowed by half of the buttermilk, mixing until just incorporated after each addition, about 5 seconds. Repeat using half of the remaining flour mixture and all of the remaining buttermilk. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining flour mixture; mix at medium speed until the batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the batter once or twice with the rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; zigzag the tip of a metal spatula through the batter, pulling it to the pan edges. Lightly tap the pan against the countertop 3 or 4 times to dislodge any large air bubbles; smooth the surface with the spatula.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 32 to 37 minutes. Cool the cake to room tempera¬ture in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours.
6. Forthefrosting: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and reserved 1/2teaspoon spice mixture at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese one piece at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until no lumps remain, about 30 seconds.
7. Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen from the pan. Using a spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the surface of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with the walnuts, if using. Cut into squares and serve.
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