I didn’t want bacon and eggs and toast today. That’s my breakfast on the go most mornings at work.
Today, I wanted cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit.)
There were some apples in the fruit bin at that point of ripeness where I needed to make something, or sacrifice them to the Gods of ProBiotics in the compost heap. I peeled, cored, and sliced six of them – 3 granny smiths, and 3 fujis. They were tossed into two 9″ round cake pans with teaspoons of butter, cubed, a quarter cup of brown sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon. a half teaspoon of nutmeg. 1/8 teaspoon of cloves, 1/4 cup of dried cherries, quarter cup of dried cranberries. They are non-stick pans, but I had a left over butter wrapper (save those) in the fridge. I used it to make sure the pan was properly greased. If you want additional nonstick insurance, cut two 9″ rounds from parchment paper, grease them up with the butter and put them in the pans before you add the apples and stuff.
Now I need two bowls. One for the mixer (wet) and one for the counter (dry). In the dry bowl, put the following and whisk together to make sure everything is combined and there’s no big lumpish bits:
2 cups cake flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp nutmeg
.125 tsp cloves
Now, in the mixing bowl, cream half a cup of unsalted butter into 1 cup of sugar and half a cup of molasses. Add 1/3 cup of a neutral-flavored vegetable oil (I use grape-seed), half a cup of milk, and half a cup of stout. (I like Dogfishhead Chicory Stout for this.) A teaspoon of the Kentucky Bourbon vanilla you had steeping in your dark cupboard. (a couple vanilla beans split in half and dropped into a small mason jar with a half cup of bourbon – seal, and store in the cupboard for a couple weeks – voila – vanilla extract.)
Crack 4 eggs into a separate bowl. Never directly into the mixer, because if you have a bad egg in the lot, you’ve just ruined your batter. Add one at a time into the mixer that’s creaming all of your wet ingredients together. It will look like you did something wrong if you did this correctly. The butter will have split and made fine weird lumps in your batter.
Now, add about a third of the dry ingredients into your wet batter. Give it enough turns to incorporate (fold), but don’t beat it. Nobody likes tough cake. If you want tough cake, go ahead and obsess about the smoothness of the batter. Add the next third in and fold until incorporated. Now the final third. Same deal.
Put your cake pans in a half sheet pan. This recipe will try to jump out of the pans in the cooking process and I don’t like to clean the bottom of my oven or smoke up my house, so sheet pans under cakes like these are a good idea. Bake the cake for thirty minutes at 350. Take a look. Yep. Still a mess. Jack the oven up to 375 and add another 20 minutes to your timer.
Take another look. Umm. Still looks a mess? It should. That butter and sugar are making a truly evil molten caramel. Don’t touch it or be tempted to taste it at this point. Emergency room visits on Sunday mornings are not where you want to be. Trust me.
Leave the cakes in their pans to cool for about 25-30 minutes.
While the caramel is coming back out of a dangerous state. Get yourself half a cup of confectioners’ sugar and roughly a quarter cup of Kentucky Bourbon. With a small whisk or a fork, pour the bourbon gradually into the sugar and combine. Keep stirring until you get the consistency of doughnut glaze. No lumps and alcoholic deliciousness. Mmmmm.
Stop tasting it.
I mean it. You’ll have none left for the cake.
Get an offset spatula, and go around the sides of cake one. Put the cake stand upside down over your cake pan and flip it. This is kind of a heavy cake so if you lift an edge of the cake pan and wait for about 20 seconds or so, the cake will fall away from the pan onto your cake stand. Get your bourbon icing from the fridge and drizzle a bit between the layers, You won’t need much. That’s a moist cake. Run the spatula around layer two and carefully center the pan over the first layer away from it about a quarter inch. Another 20 second later and that layer will drop quietly onto the top of the first one.
Drizzle the rest of the icing over the top of your cake.
You can eat it warm, but it will taste a bit better if its had a chance to cool under its own power for an hour or two on the counter.
And no, the cake is not calling you to eat it. That’s your imagination. Leave it to cool and go do something else for a bit, OK?
Ok. Dig in.
This is great with tea or coffee, or late afternoon bourbon cocktails. 🙂