Ahhh it’s officially Autumn. Weather has certainly cooled here in the city leaving me (a-a-achoo) sick for the past week.
But today I’m feeling better than ever. Regained my energy over the weekend after much needed rest and now I’m back in full swing. So let’s bring out all the orange edibles of carrot, sweet potato and the inevitable “pumpkin this and pumpkin that.”
But wait…let’s not forget about Spice. Poor spice, always nice, yet is somehow never popularly recognized on its own. Forgotten in the midst of all the orange commotion that comes along with the Fall season of food. Spiced (not spicy), is the reason why majority of your Fall desserts has a distinct flavor from the rest of the year’s food and tastes so so good.
If you’re unfamiliar with what exactly spice is, it’s a amalgamation of ingredients which include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and ground cloves. There are other spices that may be added or withdrawn from the exampled list however, these are the most commonly used.
I came across (yet again) another recipe from one of my favorite Betty Crocker books, The Big Book of Cakes, and fell in love with the idea of dulce de leche frosting. After all, I just so happened to have all of the ingredients.
If you haven’t tried a variety of cake flavors, this one here is one I feel may get overlooked. Perhaps it’s in its name or maybe it’s the caramel color? Who knows.
Like most of us, I’m used to the typical vanilla, chocolate, red velvet.. yadda yadda generic cake flavors but this one, this one takes the cake. It’s like nothing I’ve ever had before. A great way to impress your family and friends with a new pop of flavor and its caramel flavored frosting is to die for. Perfect for this season.
How chic are these “acorns” and “twigs”?! And they’re so easy to do!
So no orange fluff here… at least not yet. I’m enjoying this Spiced Cake in my own back yard cherishing the sun’s last moments of beaming warmth with my sidekicks, Grizz-Lee and Chocolate. If only I had a glass of warm apple cider to compliment this cake. Yea, that would be perfect.Print
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 16 soft vanilla caramels, unwrapped
- 2 tablespoons + 16 miniature semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 3/4 teaspoon vegetable shortening
- 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 can (13.4 oz) dulce de leche (caramelized sweetened condensed milk)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- cinnamon sticks (optional)
- Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 3 8-inch round baking pans and lightly flour; set aside.
- In large bowl, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
- Whisk in milk, vanilla and eggs. Be sure to occasionally scrape the sides of the bowl for complete mixture of ingredients.
- Combine and mix remaining cake ingredients until mixture is well blended and smooth. Note: batter will be thick.
- Spread 2 1/2 cups of batter into each pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and allow additional cooling on wire racks for an additional 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line cookie sheet with waxed paper.
- Microwave 16 caramels on HIGH for 15 seconds or until softened. Roll into a ball and pinch one side to form the apex of an acorn; set aside.
- In microwaveable custard cup, heat 2 tablespoons chocolate morsels and shortening on HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Stir until smooth.
- Dip tops of acorns into chocolate and place one chocolate chip in center as the “stem.”
- Sprinkle turbinado sugar only on the melted chocolate tops. Set to dry on cookie sheet about 15 minutes.
- Using baker’s tweezers, tweeze any unwanted sugar from the caramel portion of the acorns.
- In large bowl, beat butter, with an electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds.
- Beat in dulce de leche and vanilla, scraping bowl frequently.
- On low speed, beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Add whipping cream and salt; beat until smooth and whipping consistency.
- Using a serrated knife, evenly cut rounded tops of each cooled cake layer to form a leveled surface.
- Spread 3/4 cup of frosting between cake layers.
- Frost top and sides with remaining frosting.
- Place acorns on top of cake and break cinnamon sticks as desired to resemble “twigs”; place with acorns on cake.
Spiced Cake with Dulce de Leche Frosting recipe adapted from The Big Book of Cakes by Betty Crocker.