I’ve come up with a solution for writer’s block…bake a cake! It’s creative. It’s satisfying. It allows my mind to relax. And best of all, it feeds my sweet cravings. So I’ve decided from time to time, I’ll post my fav recipes. This recipe, originally by Nancie McDermott author of Southern Cakes, would be just the sort of thing Suki from my novel “Released” would bake.
Warning: If you’re concerned about counting calories, cholesterol, fat, this isn’t the cake for you. It contains three sticks of butter and an entire box of brown sugar, oh my! But I figure if you’re going to take time away from writing to bake, it might as well be a sigh-worthy endeavor.
For the cake
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk, preferably whole
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
One 1-pound box (about 2 3/4 cups) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
For the caramel glaze (optional)
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar in 3 additions, mixing well after each, and then add the granulated sugar all at once, beating well after each addition. Add the eggs, 1 t a time, beating well after each addition. Add half the flour and then half the milk, beating at low speed just until the flour or milk disappears into the batter. Add the rest of the flour and then the remaining milk in the same way.
4. Quickly scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 325°F (160°C) for 1 hour and 10 minutes (55 to 60 minutes for loaf pans), or until the cake is nicely browned at the edges, springs back when touched lightly at the center, and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel for 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife and turn it out onto a wire rack or a plate, top side up, to cool completely, top side up.
Make the caramel glaze (optional)
6. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts and blends with the brown sugar to make a smooth sauce, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk, and let the icing come to a gentle boil.
7. Stir well, remove from the heat, and add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla. Beat well with a mixer, whisk, or spoon for 1 or 2 minutes, until the glaze thickens and loses a little of its shine.
8. Use at once. If the glaze hardens, stir in 1 or 2 spoonfuls of evaporated milk to soften it.