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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Buttermilk Spice Cake with Vanilla Frosting


Whenever I have leftover buttermilk I am always trying to think of things to do with it. Pancakes and muffins are the usual suspects but I like to find new things to make. Last weekend when I had some leftover I popped over to and searched for recipes with buttermilk and found a Buttermilk Spice Cake recipe. Since I am a big fan of cake, I decided to give it a try.


As usual, I completely forgot to take out the butter beforehand. I nuked it a little too long in the microwave to soften it. Oops.


The brown sugar. I always buy the dark brown type rather than the light type; I think it has a more pronounced taste.


The oil. I use canola instead of vegetable oil. I don’t think it really makes a difference.

The butter, brown sugar, oil and egg yolks in the mixer. I know recipes always say to add each egg one at a time and wait until it is incorporated before adding another one but if I am short on time I just dump them in all at once. When I had a handheld mixer it made a difference but a stand mixer takes care of combining everything nicely.


 The cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice. I also chucked the baking powder and baking soda in at this point. I don’t ever really bother sifting them into the flour.

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Adding alternating batches of flour and buttermilk.

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Once the batter was ready I folded in some egg white that I had whipped earlier. Any cake that calls for this step will generally be very light and fluffy. When you do this step be careful to fold and not stir. You have to make sure that you incorporate the egg whites in without deflating them.

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The cake before and after it went into the oven. You can even see where I poked it with a knife to make sure it was ready. At this point I left it to the side while I made my vanilla frosting.


Basic vanilla frosting is one of the easiest things to make. You just need butter (or shortening, but trust me, butter tastes better), vanilla extract, a few splashes of milk and icing sugar.

First step is to put roughly 1/3 of a cup of softened butter in a bowl. This is one of the few things for which it is crucial to leave the butter outside to come to room temperature, if you try putting the butter in the microwave and some of it melts the icing will not come together properly. Beat your butter with a hand mixer until it is nice and fluffy.


At this point you add in the icing sugar tablespoon by tablespoon and beat it in with a mixer. Yes, some of it might go flying on your kitchen counter but then again, who said cooking was a neat enterprise? Add a splash of milk at this point to help everything come together as well as some vanilla extract.


Notice how I haven’t given any proportions for the icing sugar? I basically keep on adding and tasting until I get it to the sweetness that I want. This is a super forgiving recipe. If you’ve added too much icing sugar and it is crumbly and won’t hold together just add some more butter and beat it, and it should start coming together again.


When you get it to the sweetness that you want keep on beating it to make sure that is becomes light and airy. The longer that you do this the more whipped the frosting will be.

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Make sure that your cake has completely cooled before spreading the frosting on otherwise if it is still too warm the icing might start to melt.

This is a really nice cake for fall with all the spices and brown sugar. You also can’t go wrong with fluffy vanilla frosting. The original recipe was for four layer cake but since I was baking this for The Husband and not for a special occasion I just put it in a 9 x 13 pan. Do give this recipe a try.
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