One of my favorite blogs is The Other Side of the Ocean. Madison law professor Nina Camic travels all over the world, takes great photos and updates daily. Study Ocean for a lesson on how to write a personal blog without oversharing. Nina—when you follow someone’s personal blog, it seems okay to use first names—knows good food, and I often get ideas from her holiday meal lineups. A spice cake looked tempting, so I e-mailed Nina and asked for the recipe, which she graciously supplied.
I made this cake a few days ago when my parents came over for dinner. We ate the cake with lingonberry jam and baked apples, but it would also go well with whipped cream or crème fraiche or ice cream. I liked the recipe, but next time I’d add ¼ tsp. black pepper for a spicier kick.
The baked apples proved popular, too. I cored and sliced 4-5 apples and placed them in a foil-lined pan. In a small saucepan, I melted a couple of pats of butter with 2 tbs. brown sugar and a splash of milk (use cream if you have it). I poured the liquid over the apples, mixed in some diced, dried fruit (raisins, apricots, plums), and baked this at 400 for about 45 minutes, until the apples were soft and saucy. Sometimes I like to add nuts or granola. This tastes best served warm.
Spice Cake. This recipe is slightly adapted from the All Around the World cookbook by Sheila Lukins.
2 c flour
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
[I’d also add ¼ tsp. ground black pepper]
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 c granulated sugar [I used 1 ¼ cups]
8 TBSP (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/3 c molasses
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly butter 9 inch round cake pan. Line bottom with round of waxed paper cut to fit and butter the paper. [I didn't do this, but it's a good idea if you want to invert the cake onto a plate later on. My cake almost broke in half when I tried to shake it out of the pan!] Sift the dry ingredients into large bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Combine milk and sugar in saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter and molasses.When butter is melted, quickly whisk the liquids into dry ingredients.
Whisk in the eggs. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Cool in pan; then invert onto rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.