Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick and easy spice cake

Here's the scenario: the holidays are approaching and you're given the task of bringing baked goods for your office meeting/bridge club/lemur appreciation society/whatever, and you want to bring something homemade and seasonally appropriate. But of course you've waited until the last moment. As you open your fridge to start getting your ingredients together you realize – horror! – that you are all out of milk and eggs. What to do?

Here is the recipe for your situation: an absolutely delightful spice cake (really just a sweet quick bread) that requires no milk and no eggs. It is also great fun to play around with in various ways. You can vary the level of sugar depending on whether you want it to be more of a dessert or more of a breakfast item. For spices, you can use whatever sounds good (or whatever you have). Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, etc. – those nice holiday flavors – are all welcome in any combination you fancy. I particularly like to add grated fresh ginger to give it a good bite. But most fun of all for me has been playing around with the liquid: while water works just fine, I have so far used coffee, porter, and hard cider instead, all to great effect.

The recipe is adapted from the Tassajara Recipe Book.

Quick Spice Cake

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter and flour an 8 inch cake pan

Mix together in a big bowl 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour, 1/4 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it to be), 1 tsp. baking soda, and spices (any of the following: 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tbsp. ginger, or whatever else looks good).

In a small saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter. Add to this 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, then 1 cup cold water or other liquid, such as coffee, dark beer, cider, etc.

[Quick note: if your butter is still hot, and your water quite cold, this will produce a very odd reaction, creating a kind of crystallized-looking mixture. Don't worry, this is fine, and it's also kind of cool looking...]

[Quick note #2: you could just use oil instead of butter and make it completely vegan]

Now mix your butter mixture in with your dry ingredients. Do not over-mix! This is a quick bread, so do just enough to moisten all the dry ingredients. It's ok if the batter is still a little lumpy and uneven.

Pour the dough into the cake pan, and bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For an extra nice touch, sprinkle powdered sugar on top before serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment