February 8, 2012

spice world

Surprisingly, shockingly, and against all odds, I was commissioned with making the desserts for our Thanksgiving last year, way back in twenty-eleven. Yes, I'm just posting about them now, over two months later. Judge not lest ye be judged.


In addition to a triple cream cheesecake smothered with a baked apple topping (!), I made one heck of a phenomenal sky-high cake (if I do say so myself--horn tooted!)

The cake was an aptly-titled duchess* spice cake, fragrant with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. To moisten the cake, I applied a cinnamon-infused simple syrup to each layer. The finishing and, dare I say it, finest touch was a brown sugar cream cheese frosting. How I, an avid lover of cream cheese frosting, have managed to miss this more mellow and flavorful variation is beyond me. It's amazing, and I recommend it (and this particular cake-frosting combination) 100%.


*On an unrelated note, the name of this cake calls to mind a show that I'm happy to say I adored way before it became the thing to do. Matthew and Mary, I'm pulling for you crazy kids!

Duchess Empress (that's a promotion, folks!) Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Cake
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon syrup:
2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Brown sugar cream cheese frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt together.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk and mix just until incorporated. Beat in vanilla.
Bake at for 30 to 35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, then cut each layer in half horizontally. (It helps tremendously to freeze the layers for about 30 minutes first.)

To make the simple syrup, add water and cinnamon to a small pot and bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, and strain out cinnamon sticks. Bring water back to a boil, add sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.

To make the frosting, beat butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar until smooth. I felt the need to add a little sifted powdered sugar to obtain the proper spreading consistency, but use your own judgment.

To assemble, liberally brush the four sides of exposed cake with the simple syrup. Slather the frosting between the halved and syruped layers (stacking as you go), then frost the sides and top in a decorative fashion. Chill for a bit to let things mingle, then slice and serve!

52 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A splendid cake! Dively spicy and so well decorated.

Cheers,

Rosa

Lynda said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous cake Grace...it is amazing. I'm with you on the brown sugar frosting. I had not had it until a couple of weeks ago and found it so additive!
And the show with Matthew and Mary also has me addicted. It was a long summer waiting for season 2.

Gloria said...

wow! wow! and wow! Grace look delicious and perfect!:)

oneordinaryday said...

Sounds delicious and so prettily decorated!

Deborah said...

Not only is this cake beyond gorgeous, but it sounds mighty tasty as well!!

Lisa-Marie said...

That is nothing short of spectacular. And it has all the good spices in it.

Abby said...

It's gorgeous! I love that it has cloves. Too few baked goods have cloves! They smell so good. (And I came late to the Downton Abbey party. But I'm hooked!)

Angie's Recipes said...

What an elegant cake! Those swirls are so pretty.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

If the inside tastes as good as the outside looks, this must be one terrific cake. I love the decoration.

Elizabeth King said...

Hmmm...Looks really gooood! ^_^

Pam said...

I've been hearing about that show - I'll have to give it a try.

This cake not only looks beautiful but it sounds A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! The frosting sounds yummy too.

Lisa said...

Better late than never (a concept I'm particularly drawn to at My Own Sweet Thyme)!
That cake is truly gorgeous and sounds soooo appealing. I would absolutely love a taste. The brown sugar in the frosting is a wonderful thought. Don't know why I've never tried it. I will now!

Sharon Graves said...

So going over to the dark sugar side of things with my next batch of frosting. Thanks (giving!) for the wonderful idea.

Heidi's Copper Kettle said...

I'm quite impressed with your cake decorating skills! Almost looks too good to eat but don't worry, I would totally be the first one with fork in hand.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh my goodness Grace, that is a real beauty! The swirls and icing and decoration are totally gorgeous! :D

The Blonde Duck said...

I would LOVE that cake. And I'm a pie girl.

Joanne said...

Cinnamon.Syrup.

Really girl? You're killing me.

And by killing me I mean...can't we celebrate Thanksgiving again next week so I can make this?

Barbara said...

I'm totally in awe of your decorating talent! Your cake is a beaut and I'm certain got oh's and ah's when presented. Of course, it helps to have all those luscious spice fragrances wafting about.

Beth said...

This cake looks absolutely divine. I love spice cakes and rarely find a good recipe. I will definitely be trying this one out!

We Are Not Martha said...

Ooh I love that there's ginger and cloves in this cake. And it's SO pretty, too!

Sues

Leslie said...

You go ahead and toot that horn girl!!!!!

Culinaria Libris said...

That cakes looks as moreish as an episode of Downton Abbey. Well done!

Hungry Dog said...

A.maz.ing. Period. Well, not period. I love Downton Abbey too (but am still in season 1). And I love the look of this cake. You've got a real gift, Grace!

lisa is cooking said...

That is a dressed-up, fancy cake! It sounds like cinnamon heaven. Now, I have to try brown sugar in a cream cheese frosting.

Betty said...

So pretty! So pretty, I can forgive you for not posting until now. :) I've never tried the brown sugar cream cheese frosting, but it sounds like the perfect topping for this spicy delight. :)

Elizabeth said...

You did a fabulous job decorating this!

kimberleyblue said...

That is one STUNNING cake! I love the idea of soaking the layers with a cinnamon simple syrup, and a brown sugar cream cheese frosting? I would've eaten the whole cake!

Jaime said...

what a beautiful cake!

Marjie said...

The frosting sounds just divine. And your decorations are always so pretty, unlike mine, which are nonexistent. In my house, you take your dang frosting and be happy.

Catherine said...

Dear Grace, Your cake is just stunning! Beautiful photography. It sounds divine. Blessings dear one, your friend, Catherine xo

vanillasugarblog said...

well my stars ms grace, that, is one mighty fine looking cake. wow.

Rosita Vargas said...

Es muy hermosa luce romàntica y deliciosa,abrazos hugs,hugs,

Amy said...

A delicious and lovely looking cake!

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

What a fabulously festive decorated cake!

You have done well! :)

Carolyn Jung said...

Anything slathered with cream cheese frosting is worth writing about -- no matter what day or time. ;)

bellini said...

A sugar rush is just what I need right now. I am craving some cream cheese frosting.

Faith said...

Is it bad that I want to forgo breakfast and make this now? It's gorgeous and packs a few of my favorite flavors!

Erica said...

Beautiful cake!!!!The cinnamon syrup sounds delicious!

foodhoe said...

sounds delicious, I love all of those spices and think that brown sugar cream cheese frosting sounds like such a gorgeous combination. Impressive decorating skills too!

vianney said...

stunning, brwon sugar frosting..I must try this soon and cinnamon syrup(heaven)

Kerstin said...

Gorgeous! I really like the idea of a brown cream cheese frosting!

Mimi said...

A cake well deserving of a promotion! I would love a slice with some tea while I watch M&M straighten out their lives.
Mimi

Julie M. said...

This sounds positively heavenly! And can I just say that you are a master froster? You swirled it absolutely perfectly; not a single sugar crystal out of place.

Jeff @ Cheese-Burger.net said...

This cake looks so delicious and gorgeous!

Natasha Price said...

That is one magnificent cake for sure! I love the spices you are using here. Happy valentine's day!

Magic of Spice said...

An absolutely stunning cake!
Happy Valentines Day!

shaz said...

Such a beautiful cake Grace! You certainly have a knack for frosting. I love the colours. Sounds like it tasted pretty sensational too.

Hornsfan said...

What an amazing cake Grace! It's a beauty to look at and I'm sure it tasted amazing!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

How pretty! And brown sugar cream cheese frosting? That sounds divine.

Robin Sue said...

I tried to make brown sugar frosting once and it was crunchy. I guess I didn't whip it long enough??? The cake is so pretty and the name is perfect.

Milena Andrade said...

Hello, I came to reciprocate his visit to my kitchen!
Beautiful your words, thank you!
This recipe is delicious, I love your blog I'll visit more often! kisses.

gobakeyourself said...

The beauty that is this cake leaves me speechless. It is actual perfection and I would happily buy it - name your price worthy :D

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru