Vintage Cakes

For Christmas, my best friend gave me Vintage Cakes, a cookbook from Julie Richardson (owner of Baker & Spice bakery in Portland, Oregon).

It has all these wonderful cakes that I remember from picnics and church potlucks back home when I was a child. So of course, this weekend I set out to bake my way through it.  This honey almond confection was first on the list — a breakfast treat for a sweet couple of a skiers I know.

 

Ingredients:

Cake
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar (I substituted half that much Splenda sugar blend)
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 egg yolk (room temperature)
3/4 cup buttermilk (room temperature)

Glaze
1/2 cup honey (I used a Strawberry Blossom Honey)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup of sliced almonds, toasted

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a  9″x3″ non-stick springform pan by spraying it with Baker’s Secret or Pam with Flour.  (The cookbook says grease the pan with butter and line it with parchment, but this works fine.)

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set it aside.  In the Kitchen-Aid mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the honey, then the vanilla.  Gradually increase the mixer speed to high and cream the mixture until fluffy (mine never got fluffy, so just use your  best judgment about when it’s ready).  Throughout this process, periodically stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is combined.  While it continues to mix, add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time.

Reduce the mixer speed to low.  Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk (flour-buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-flour).  As soon as it looks mostly combined, turn off the mixer and finish by hand with a rubber spatula.

The cake batter will be thick.  Spread it into the springform pan evenly.  Place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes (the recipe says 45-50 minutes, but mine was done at 40 minutes).  The cake tester will come out of them iddle clean but for a few moist crumbs.

About 10 minutes before the cake is done, make the glaze.  Combine the honey, sugar, and butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, whisking to combine and keep it from burning. It’s done when it’s a lovely golden brown. Try to time it so the glaze is done and just beginning to cool when the cake is ready to come out. I used a strawberry blossom honey, because I like strawberry and almond together.

When done, take the cake from the oven. Leave the cake in the pan.  With a skewer or slender wooden spoon handle, poke holes in the top of the cake.  Pour 1/2 half of the glaze on the cake, spreading it with a pastry brush to evenly soak the top.  Sprinkle the almonds on top and then pour the last of glaze over the cake.

Bake the cake another five minutes, then let it cool on a wire rack.  When it’s cool, you can gently transfer it to a cake plate.

How It Turned Out:

It looks gorgeous.

Honey Cake Up Close

I’ll have to wait for my friends’ review to tell you how it tasted.

Recipe appears on page 31 of Vintage Cakes, Julia Richardson (Ten Speed Press).

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