Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful for Dessert - Day 4: Layered Spice Cake

Several years ago my friend Jen invited me to her wedding cake testing.  To be fair, we carpooled and she wanted to go on her way home one evening so I was invited by default.  She had 3 cakes for tasting that day and the first two were very good.  When the third one was served I decided to pass.  Jen and her parents and the baker all asked me why I didn't want the third cake - a pumpkin spice cake - and I explained because I didn't like pumpkin.  They tried to convince me and I kept turning them down.  Finally after listening to them all ooh and aah over the pumpkin spice cake, I buckled and had a fork full.

To say the heavens opened up and a choir of angels sang would only be the slightest of over statements.  My life was forever changed.  A few months later, at the wedding I may have had 3 slices of pumpkin spice cake.  I didn't regret it then and I still don't.

You might be saying.  But Melly, the title says Spice Cake, not Pumpkin Spice Cake.  Which, is true.  I made this cake for my family's Thanksgiving dinner (naturally I volunteered to make dessert) and my mother does not like pumpkin (I tell her she has to try it, she refuses) and we'll also be having pumpkin pie so I decided I should omit the pumpkin from the cake so that she could enjoy some dessert.  And you know what, it is still darn good!

Start by adding the flour, sugar, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a bowl

After you whisk the dry ingredients together, crack four eggs in a bowl

Add a cup of oil

And vanilla extract

Next add some fat free sour cream.  If you wanted to make pumpkin spice cake instead of just spice cake, you'd add a 14oz can of pumpkin puree instead of the sour cream.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk it together until well combined


Evenly pour the batter into three well greased, floured 9" pans and bake at 350 for 22 - 25 minutes.

When the cakes come out, let them cool slightly and then layer the three cakes in their pans with a piece of parchment paper and then one of the next cakes (in the pan) on top of that and put the stack in the freezer.  This will help flatten the tops of the cakes, keep the edges straight and make the cake much easier to frost.

Let the cakes freeze for at least an hour, but over night preferably.

When you are ready to frost with Cream Cheese Frosting  place a dab of frosting in the center of a cake board.

Take the cake layers out of the freezer and remove them from the pans, keeping a piece of parchment between the layers.

Place the first and second layer flat side down and the a dollop of frosting in the center of the layer and spread it to the edges.

Continue to layer and frost for all three layers.  On the final layer, place the flat side up.

With an offset spatula, spread frosting along the edge - make sure to spread the frosting up above the top of the cake.

Frost the top

Finally, go around smoothing and removing the excess frosting.  PS, I love this little tool.  I got it in a decorating pack from Ikea and it has a smooth edge, notched edge, grooved edge and a wavy edge.

When the cake is smoothed, put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up a bit.

When you remove it from the fridge, trace out the words on top using a toothpick to make sure you have enough room and everything is evenly spaced.

Once you are satisfied with your spacing, trace over the etching with colored frosting.

I decided to use my scraper tool to put a groove pattern into the sides.  And then using a star tip, make a nice little border along the bottom and top.

I cannot wait to dig into this beautiful cake! Must resist the urge!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Shopping List for 3-Layer Spice Cake (serves 12)

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon of All Spice
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 16oz of Sour Cream or Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 1/2 portions of Cream Cheese Frosting

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