Friday, September 04, 2009

Applesauce Spice Cake With Caramel Fudge Frosting

It almost looks like a grotesquely large iced maple doughnut. I think we've already established that cake decorating isn't my thing.

Today. Oh my goodness, I'm so incredibly glad it is nearly over. Short version-Pullman pan leaked, butter on heating element, smoke, mess, dough stuck in leaking pan, etc. In between I managed to mess up my wrist, burn my thumb (didn't even feel that one-just happened to see it blister) and I must have dropped twenty-five things before nine AM. A reasonable person would have called it a day and gone back to bed, or at the very least, skipped the cake. As with my lack of decorating skills we've also established early on that I am, most days, a completely unreasonable person. I have relatives that will back me up on this claim-I'm not just bragging.

Is there anything nicer on a cool September day than a spice cake baking? The recipe claims the cake will keep for "several weeks." I really have to wonder, who are those freaks that keep a cake for "several weeks?" I'm pretty sure this will be demolished by Monday. It is somewhat fruitcake-like in the density (no eggs) but not so heavy that you couldn't pack away a couple slices at a time. OK, I couldn't, but someone could. As they say here in Nebraska (and they do say this, and it drives me bananas every time I hear it) "A guy could eat a couple slices of that cake without getting too full." Similarly, "Why, a guy could go over to the hardware store and hammer together a couple lengths of board to make a good cake stand." I'm not sure how they handle this if the "guy" is actually named Guy? What the hell was I talking about anyway? Cake? Right then, cake.

Spread the frosting fast as it hardens quickly (candy! Bonus!) which makes eating the excess from the bowl and beaters much neater. I like neat, particularly on Friday afternoon when I've cleaned the entire house. It is probably further evidence that I am in fact my mother's daughter, but I find it really satisfying to look at a freshly Hoovered carpet and be able to see all the lines going in the same direction. I'm not going to make a cultural generalisation because that isn't considered appropriate for anthropologists to do, but if I were going to make a crack about national character, finding satisfaction in housekeeping wouldn't seem too far out there. Obviously, the Scottish do not share this love of orderly surroundings as Mr. Eat The Blog happily leaves his worn socks on the floor beneath his desk along with gum wrappers, popsicle sticks and pretty much anything that seems like too much of a bother to walk to the dustbin. If he's representative of the rest of 'em, Scotland must be a foetid dump. A few wee drams later (some beer, a plate of chicken tikki masalla and some heroin), and no one cares if maggots have taken up residence in your keyboard. So much for not making cultural generalisations. Look, it isn't like I said they lack any redeeming social qualities...they just don't get excited about housekeeping. Hey, I saw Trainspotting. Getting back to the cake...

Adapted from The New York Times Heritage Cookbook

You Will Need:

For the cake:

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups thick applesauce (see previous post for recipe)
3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans (I omitted these and doubled the raisins instead)
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
Fudge frosting (recipe follows)]

Preheat oven to 325 degrees f. Grease and flour a 9 inch tube pan. Cream butter and sugar until very light. Fold in the applesauce. Sift dry ingredients together and remove 1/4 cup of mixture. Toss nuts and raisins in it and set aside. Fold the bulk of the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Fold in vanilla and fruit. Pour into pan and place on baking sheet. Bake 1 hour and thirty minutes or until it tests done. Cool in pan 30 minutes, then finish cooling on rack. Don't worry if the top is uneven as the frosting covers it (it even mentions this in the original recipe).

For the frosting:

2 cups brown sugar
6 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup confectioner's sugar

Heat the sugar, cream and butter over medium heat, stirring. Bring to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and quickly beat in the confectioner's sugar. Keep beating until it thickens and reaches a spreading consistency. It will harden immediately as it hits the cool cake, so spread quickly and as accurately as possible.


Jenn said...

From now on I am going to blame my terrible housekeeping on my Scots heritage. If anyone questions me, I can say "but, an anthropologist said so!"

Goody said...

They might come and demand my degree back ;)