For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Lisa's blog, Sweet As Sugar Cookies! I had such a hard time choosing a recipe because Lisa's blog is just full of amazing looking desserts. She makes other things, too, and I almost chose either Oyster Sauce Meatballs or Spicy Peanut Butter Meatballs (will have to try those later), but ended up choosing her Buttermilk Spice Cake because it looked like the perfect recipe for autumn. We just purchased and moved into our first house, and this cake had the honor of being the first dessert I made! It was definitely a good choice, because we loved how the cake turned out. The spices were fantastic and the amount of ginger gave it a little bit of a burn, in the best way possible.
My one change from the original recipe was to use a maple glaze on top instead of cream cheese frosting. I used the glaze recipe from Pound Cake with Maple Glaze, and it was the perfect accompaniment to the spicy, flavorful cake.
I will definitely make this cake (and the glaze!) again, but will try using cake flour instead of all purpose flour, and a 7 by 11 pan instead of 8 by 8. There was a lot of batter for an 8 by 8 pan and by the time the center was cooked, the edges were a bit dry and it was a bit over browned, to the point that I covered the cake with foil for the last 10 or 15 minutes of baking. I think a slightly larger pan will help with this!
Update: I made this again for Thanksgiving dessert with cake flour and baked it in two 8 inch round cake pans. The cakes only took 20 minutes to bake and were SO light, fluffy, and soft! I had serious issues getting the cakes out of the pans (next time will put parchment paper rounds in the bottoms) and ended up making a trifle with the broken cake pieces instead of a layered cake frosted with caramel cream cheese frosting, but it was definitely a hit this way.
Buttermilk Spice Cake
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
2 C flour
2 Tbsp ground dried ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 C buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease either an 8 by 8 pan or a 7 by 11 pan (see my note above).
Cream together butter and sugars, then beat in eggs. Stir together dry ingredients in another bowl. Alternate beating dry ingredients and buttermilk into butter-sugar mixture in 3 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Spread batter in the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. You may need to cover the cake with a sheet of aluminum foil, shiny side up, if it browns too much.
Remove cake from oven and allow to cool about 20 minutes. It does not need to be completely cooled before you add the glaze.
2 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp maple syrup
1 C powdered sugar
Place butter and maple syrup in a small pan and heat over medium until butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over partly cooled spice cake. Let cool until the glaze has set. You can either serve it while still warm, or let it cool completely- it's great either way!