Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Today was my Todd's Birthday. I'm not going to tell you which one . . . let's just say he's a national treasure . . . and I mean that in the nicest possible way.
He was on his own for 12 years before we met and got married, and I have made it my mission that . . . for as long as we have together here on earth, I am going to spoil him rotten every chance I get!
That means that I make sure to cook him a fantastic meal on his birthday, and I also like to bake him a special cake to help celebrate the occasion.
Normally I make him his favourite cake, next to fruit cake that is (how did I get so lucky . . . a man who loves fruit cake) . . . a Cherry and Amond Cake. I couldn't get my hands on any ground almonds today though . . . sigh . . . it was the same last week when I went to the shops. There must be a shortage or some such . . . anyways . . .
With no ground almonds in sight, I decided to make him his next best favouritest cake of all.
A Buttermilk Spice cake.
My Todd . . . he is a simple man, with simple tastes. An old fashioned kind of a guy that likes old fashioned, traditional kinds of meals and desserts. Meat, potatoes and stodge.
(Let's face it, he loved school dinners when he was at school . . . and that was during the War . . . Before we got married, he existed almost entirely on tinned curry (blah), sausage rolls and tinned soup)
Back to the spice cake. There is nothing stodgy about this cake. This is a wonderful cake, lovely and moist . . . due to the buttermilk. There is just a hint of spice . . . not enough so that it slaps you in the face, but enough to give it a bit of warmth . . . and . . . shhhh (not a word to my chocolate hating husband) there is just a touch of cocoa powder in it, which believe it or not, really helps to bring out the warmth and sweetness of the spices even more, but not in an obnoxious way!
I usually make a peanut butter frosting for on it, but maple is also very good . . . so is plain old vanilla, but . . . let's face it . . . on your birthday you deserve a bit of a splash out! (We were also celebrating our tenth anniversary of our meeting in person for the first time, so we had a double reason to celebrate!)
Sigh . . . I just adore my Todd. I do love him so . . .
*Buttermilk Spice Cake*
Makes one single layer 9 inch cake
A velvety and tender cake, mildly spiced. Delicious! I have frosted it with a peanut butter flavoured buttercream frosting here, but you can use what you want. Maple would be very good as well.
2 large free range eggs, at room temperature
5.3 fluid ounces of low fat buttermilk (2/3 cup)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
200g plain flour (1 3/4 cups)
200g caster sugar (1 cup superfine)
1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 ounces softened unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F. gas mark 4. Butter a 9 inch nonstick round baking tin. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter again. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves together in a large bowl. Remove 3 TBS of the buttermilk and mix it together with the eggs and vanilla. Set aside. Beat the remaining buttermilk along with the butter into the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened, then on high speed for about a minute and a half. Slowly beat in the buttermilk/egg mixture, in two parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Pour the batter iinto the prepared pan. Level off.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes ot clean and the tops springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Frost as desired.
Note - For a tasty peanut butter icing, beat together 1 TBS each peanut butter and butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 200g of icing sugar (sifted) and enough milk to make a creamy and spreadable frosting.