I asked my friend and neighbor what kind of cake she’d like for her birthday on July 15th. To my surprise, she said spice cake with caramel frosting. We talked about divvying it up with other cake lovers nearby and she said, not excited in the least, “I suppose it should be a sheet cake.”
It so happens that I missed the birthday baking for one of the girls with whom I’ve been part of the kitchen crew for several birthdays. Belated cakes are welcomed. She was in Holland with family for a few weeks just before thousands and thousands of Dutch farmers drove their tractors to airports and blocked roads to make a strong point about how they feel when the government shuts their farms down to turn their land into “not farms.” No farms, no food.
Since I hadn’t made a spice cake since I was very young except one with applesauce and the other with tomato soup and raisins (called Husband’s Cake, if you know it,) I relied on a recipe from my 1950’s red-and-white checkered Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.
The method was new to me but I followed it anyway. Instead of the typical creaming method for cake batter, it’s called “High Ratio” method. Most of the dry ingredients (cake flour, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices) are added to the softened butter to make crumbs. Then brown sugar and buttermilk are mixed in for a couple minutes before adding the eggs last! The mixing bowl was full to the top since I’d doubled the recipe, the layers took less time than the sheet cake and much careful watching. I also doubled my personal recipe for penuche after looking at recipes for caramel frosting and finding many of them are variations along the same line. Stick with the tried and true.
Delicioso! I’m going to recommend this cake/frosting to family since they’re all penuche fans.