During football season, Matt always cooks up something incredible for us to eat before the game. This week, he made smoked macaroni and cheese, which I can't even talk about standing up. I decided to make a fall treat to bring over to Dan & Bean's house tonight (where we will inevitably watch more football and snack).
I got this recipe out of All About Baking. It's pretty easy, especially if you have a stand mixer. It does take about an hour to bake, but it fills the house with all sort of autumn-y, cinnamon-y, warm smells. And when you're in the sun room drinking coffee, reading and waiting for the house to wake up, it's quite lovely.
The recipe calls for an 8x8x2 pan, so that it's truly a cake, but I wanted more of a loaf/bread situation. It came out perfectly fluffy and soft. I think next time I'll make it in a cake pan, the height of the loaf pan was a bit much and it tends to fall apart. What can I say, the recipe knows what's best.
There's an entire chapter in this book about how when you bake, you need to use the right flour. It raves about Swans Down Cake Flour for cupcakes, cakes, etc. It's really affordable, available at any grocery store and made a huge difference in density and fluffiness. I'm use to baking with various gluten-free flours or all-purpose flour, which is fine, but this cake turned out light and delicate due to the cake flour and lots of sifting. I'm sold!
2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour (or flour of choice)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it's still active!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 egg, well beaten
3/4 cup milk
-Sift the flour once, then measure (spoon carefully so it remains light). Add baking powder, salt and spices and sift together three times. Using a mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugar gradually and cream together thoroughly. Add the beaten egg and mix again. Alternate adding a bit of the dry mixture, beating it until smooth, and then adding milk, a small amount at a time. Beat after each addition. Bake in a greased 8x8x2 pan for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. If you're using a loaf pan, decrease to 325 and add an additional 15 minutes.
Now, let's talk about the frosting. I wanted something that dried like a glaze but was thick like a frosting. Oh my goodness. Let's just say after I glazed the cake and was moving it to the breakfast bar to let it cool, I came back in the kitchen and all my housemates were gathered around the mixing bowl shamelessly licking it clean. It's amazing. I want to put it on everything. I found the recipe for it here.
Brown Butter Frosting:
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Once the cake has completely cooled, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes, the butter will get brown specs on the bottom of the pan and give off a nutty aroma. Pour the browned butter into a mixing bowl and whisk in the powdered sugar slowly. Add in the vanilla and stir. Add the water, a little at a time, until it's still thick, but pourable.
Place the cake on a wire rack with paper towels under it and drizzle the glaze over it.