I'm putting a slight twist on the challenge simply because I have many goals in my kitchen right now and still need to be productive this month. My choice for October is actually one of my go-to cookbooks, not one of my unused ones. I justified the choice because I only ever use the cookie and breakfast sections of this book, and there are dozens of sections!! So, while I'm halfway cheating by not dusting off an unused book (and I do have several), I am at least still making recipes that I've never tried, and I think that's the ultimate point of the challenge when all is said and done.
Last Thursday evening I made a two-layer Spice Cake with Browned Butter Frosting from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. This special Breast Cancer Awareness edition of the cookbook was a gift from my sister about 8 years ago.
Let me preface the rest of my post by saying that this was not my best cooking experience. During the roughly one and a half hours I was trying to make the cake, I was interrupted and distracted so many times I lost count. But here's a sample of what I was dealing with:
- First, I had to change two poopy diapers, the first of which required a BATH it was so toxic. After the bath, after my sweet cherub of a baby was all clean, good-smelling, dry, and propped up in his chair in the kitchen again, he promptly soiled another diaper with similar toxic waste.
- Second, it took so long for me to clean up the mess from diaper #2--after having decided I just didn't have time to re-bathe the baby and finish my cake before bedtime--that he had a great time peeing all over me before I could get a new diaper on him. (At the end of diaper #2, I was like, "I NEED CAKE, SO HELP ME GOD!!")
|He is so cute, though...little goober.|
- One of the eggs I cracked completely shattered when I tapped it on the side of the mixing bowl. I was literally having to comb my fingers through my batter to find egg shell remnants. :(
- I discovered that I do not have 2 cake pans the same size for layers, which meant I would either have to bake one layer at a time, which I didn't have time for, or bake two-different sized layers. I ended up making what can only be described as a postmodern cake. The bottom layer is a square and the top layer is a circle. Luckily the diameter of the circle was the same length as the side of the square pan (both 8.5 inches). My cake looked a little funny, but it also looks slightly artsy. At least that's what I told myself.
- My mother- and father-in-law showed up without warning before the cake was iced (still cooling). I wasn't dressed appropriately for company and had to run back to our bedroom to change after I let them in. But, on the plus side, at least I had a nice cake to offer my husband's parents once it cooled.
The cake turned out light and fluffy in texture. While I stand by my decision to reduce the amount of sugar, I could taste a sure difference between mine and sweeter restaurant or store-bought cakes. If I make this again, I'll likely increase the spices a bit and/or add spices to the icing. The cake was mellow, and I prefer bright flavors. My husband and I bought thought that the cake had more flavor on the second and third days, though. The cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves were more potent, and I enjoyed it more on those days.
The Browned Butter Frosting was very nice and vanilla-y (I might have poured in too much vanilla). Next time, I might try a more traditional butter frosting and also use butter. All I had on hand was margarine that didn't have a very high fat content. However, it was delicious! I had twice the amount of frosting than what I needed for this two-layer cake, so I'm making a second spice cake today since we have more company staying with us tonight. No sense letting perfectly good frosting go to waste! ;)
Thanks, Trish, for hosting! My husband thanks you for inspiring me to make a cake (or two!). I'll try to follow the rules better next month and pick a dusty cookbook.