It's Fall! And Fall means it's time to bake delicious treats. I love, love, love baking in the cooler months. Everything tastes a little better and...well...I'm not sweating my a$$ off in my tiny little kitchen with poor ventilation.
My first Fall recipe is this delicious, dense cake. It's spicy, nutty and perfect with a cup of coffee for breakfast or dessert. I used brown sugar so the cake isn't overly sweet but I went all out with the cream cheese frosting for a bit of sweet satisfaction. Best of all...it's actually pretty easy. Because, let's get real, we have stuff to do....there are movies to watch, video games to play, children to warp....it's a lot. So, get your whisk ready and ratchet up that self-control because you will want to shove all of this in your face when it comes out of the oven!
For the Cake:
1 Cup Butter (softened)
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Honey (warmed)
4 Large Eggs (beaten)
3 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Toasted Crushed Walnuts
For the Icing:
8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
3 Cups Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4-5 Tbs Milk
Pre-Heat Oven to 350º and butter (or spray with cooking spray) a 9x5 loaf pan and line the bottom with wax paper.
Step One: TOAST YOUR NUTS! Using medium-sized skillet, heat your crushed nuts over medium heat until they become fragrant, (about 10-15 minutes) and set aside. DO NOT wait for them to change color, you just want to bring out the oils and flavor of the nuts, not burn them. Burned nuts are funky, so be careful.
Step Two: Sift together flour, baking powder, ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon and set aside.
Step Three: With an electric mixer (or a whole lotta arm-power) mix together the brown sugar and butter until it forms a creamy, fluffy concoction that makes you want to eat it with a spoon. But don't. Trust me.
Step Four: Warm your honey! I don't have a picture, so just imagine what 1/3 cup of honey looks like in the microwave for about 20 seconds. You just want the honey to warm to the point where it's liquid, less thick, easier to work with. Don't COOK it; WARM it.
Step Five: Mix the honey in with your butter/brown sugar until nice and smooth. It should actually be kind of runny.
Step Six: Beat in your eggs! And beat them WELL! Gradually add your eggs to the mixture and beat thoroughly. Eggs want to separate and glob together, especially the whites. Be prepared to spend a good amount of time on this step.
*TIP It helps to beat the eggs separately before adding them to the mix.
Step Seven: Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, gradually add the flour mixture and toasted nuts to the egg/butter mixture and stir until a sticky dough forms.
Step Eight: Scoop the dough into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
Step Nine: Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cover with foil for the first 20 minutes (this will prevent the top from getting too brown). The cake is done when you can test it with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
Set the cake (in the pan) on a wire rack and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Use a knife and run it along the sides of the cake to ensure it is not stuck to the pan and then turn the cake out on the wire rack. Peel the wax paper from the bottom and let the cake cool completely.
Cream together all the ingredients for the frosting until smooth and slather your cake with it! Slice and serve!
When you store this cake, let the frosting set up and wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate to keep it from drying out. Chances are good it will only last a couple of days anyway. Enjoy!
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Check in next time for easy home-made flour tortillas!