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Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

Spice Cake with Penuche Frosting

We're now into the last month of Winter here in New Zealand, and I can't wait for Spring to get here! But one thing I do love about Winter is filling the kitchen with delicious spice aromas, especially cloves. I can never get enough of the smell of cloves, and I always have to get a good whiff when I open a packet of them. I haven't made a spice cake yet this winter, so I thought it was definitely high time I did!  I came across this recipe and it was love at first bite. I altered the amounts of spices (I added more obviously) and the cake paired together so perfectly with the penuche frosting. If you're like me, you may be wondering "What the heck is penuche?" I had never heard of it until recently, it is found in the New England area of the States and some places in the Southern states. It is essentially a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter and milk. The frosting is made from the same ingredients, with confectioners' sugar added at the end. Trust me, it tastes amazing! If you like butterscotch, you will love this frosting. *Frosting recipe can be doubled if you like a really thick layer. I used a mortar & pestle to grind the cloves and cardamom.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 ground cardamom
1/2 cup butter
1 & a half cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Extra milk

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit). Line two 8-inch pans with parchment paper and grease. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add the flour alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing well. Pour batter into pans and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Place cake pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely.

3. Make the penuche frosting: melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, bring to a boil and stir continuously for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Allow mixture to cool until lukewarm temperature and then stir in the confectioners' sugar a little at a time, until you have the desired consistency. I had to add a little more milk at this stage, so add more (very carefully!) to your liking. Fill and frost the cake. Best enjoyed with a warm cup of tea! Winter heaven :)

My furry assistant, Jack 

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