Thursday, December 6, 2007

Brown Sugar Butter Cake

Okay, finally. I have been promising people this recipe for a looooong time.

The original recipe for this cake comes from Gourmet magazine. That version has you make blackberry jam and frosts the cake with an Italian buttercream (marshmallow-like frosting). I tasted this cake at my mother's house. Instead of the buttercream, she used cream cheese frosting and it was a great combination.

I have adopted this cake wholeheartedly and it has become an active part of my repertoire. A few major points in its favor:
  • Everybody loves it. Seriously, not one person has expressed anything but absolute delight about this cake.
  • It's easy to make.
  • It freezes really well. You can make layers in advance and thaw them as you need them.
This first picture is of the wedding cake I made with this recipe. It took 4 batches of the recipe to make and was really enjoyed by everyone at the party where it was served.

Later, I made a mini-cake batch. One batch of batter will fill 6 4" mini cake pans. This picture is of what happens when you only use 4 4" mini cake pans and pretend that it won't matter. Ah well, I trimmed off the messiness and went onward.

Further down in this post is a shot of an ice cream cake I made with one of these 4" layers. I cut it in half, put softened ice cream in the center and then covered it with a chocolate ganache. Into the freezer and to serve when it's firmed up. Yum.

Brown Sugar Butter Cake
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (find it at Trader Joe's, or pulse almonds with the 1/2 cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs

Makes 3 8" or 9" layers, 1 12" layer, 6 4" mini-cakes

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix together the almond meal with 1/2 cup sugar. (Or, if using whole almonds, pulse nuts with sugar in a food processor until finely ground.)

Generously butter cake pans and divided nut mixture between pans. Shake each pan to cover sides and bottom with nut mixture. Leave any extra nut mix in the bottom of each pan.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk, lemon zest and vanilla in a small bowl or pitcher.

Beat together butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup sugar in bowl of mixer with paddle attachment at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing just until batter is smooth. Divide batter among your cake pans.

Bake, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in centers of cakes comes out clean and edges begin to pull away from sides of pans. About 30 minutes for 8" or 9" pans, 20 for 4" pans, and 45 minutes for one large 12" layer.

Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of each pan. Invert racks over pans, then flip cakes onto racks to cool completely, about 1 hour.

If freezing your layers, wrap them well in plastic wrap before freezing. When thawing, put the layers into the refrigerator and let them thaw 24 hours before using.

To serve: Make a batch of cream cheese frosting. Try one from Joy of Cooking or the Silver Palate. A really good version is here.

1 comment:

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