or, It wasn’t perfect, but it was tasty!
Teresa and I subscribe to a few cooking and foodie-type magazines. We love Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart Living, and Cook’s Illustrated. Each of these has wonderful recipes with good instruction on technique and beautiful photos. Truth be told, it’s usually the photos that convince us to make a particular dish. This week was no exception.
The September issue of Bon Appetit names its current Top 10 new restaurants in the U.S. Number 9 on the list is a place called Milktooth, located in Indianapolis. Just one look at the photos of the food and the restaurant tells me it is my kind of place. Casual, friendly, with amazing, brilliant twist-on-a-classic food. It is a restaurant that serves only brunch, and does so six days a week form 7am to 3pm. How great is that?
Particularly gorgeous was a photo of a cake, dark golden brown, shiny, topped with fluffy white frosting and ornate with edible flowers, berries and fennel fronds. It looked like a picnic in a grassy clearing next to a forest. So I had to make it.
Let’s just say things did not go as planned, or as instructed, or something, I don’t know. But to be clear, the cake is amazing, comfort food at its best- a spice cake much like the one from my childhood, but with a moister, bit denser texture, but still light. (I know that doesn’t make sense, but my daughter verified that description.) The frosting was not too sweet, with a tang of cream cheese and richness of coconut cream.
In the spirit of honest recipe reviews however, I admit I made a couple of changes. The Milktooth recipe calls for gluten-free flour. I used regular AP flour, albeit one that supposedly substitutes evenly for gluten-free. I also used liquid vanilla extract instead of the vanilla bean called for in the recipe.
These changes may have resulted in my underbaking the cake. Usually I take the cake from the oven when it bounces back when touched. Then I test with a toothpick, to see if it comes out clean. Now the recipe indicates the pick should not come back clean. But the cake should spring back. Check and check. See below. Clearly underbaked.
Because of this, I recommend using a bundt cake pan, because the remainder of the cake was perfect, with the exception of the “hole”. Fortunately, a few blackberries and a bit of glaze turned it into a bundt cake. ?
When I made the frosting, it did not turn out smooth and fluffy like the one pictured in the magazine, but more like a glaze. (I tried it 3 times with the same results) So I used it like a glaze. A little over the cake, a little over the fruit, and more to pass at the table. It also dribbled down the hole caused by some underbaking, but more about that below.
I highly recommend making this cake. It is a taste of my childhood in the Midwest, and possibly yours, too. It would also be delicious topped with a penuche frosting. This is the way my mom topped a spice cake, and next time I make this cake, I will definitely top it with a penuche.
Spiced Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2015, p. 157. Recipe from Miltooth Restaurant, Indianapolis, IN)
For the cake:
2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/8 t freshly ground nutmeg
2/3 c granulated sugar
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c honey
1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c fresh orange juice (about 1 1/2 – 2 oranges worth)
1/2 c buttermilk
For the frosting and assembly:
1 13.5 oz can coconut milk, cream separated from milk, room temp
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c confectioners sugar
1 t finely grated lemon zest
1 t vanilla extract
Pinch of Kosher salt
Sliced fruits and berries to decorate
Preheat oven to 340F for convection or 350F for non-convection oven. Spray a bundt pan or a 9″ springform pan, then line the springform with parchment paper.
Whisk together ingredients as listed from flour to nutmeg. Set aside.
In your mixer bowl, add the sugars, honey, oil, egg, yolk, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 4-5 minutes or until mixture is thickened and lighter in color.
Turn mixer to medium-low. Slowly pour in orange juice, then buttermilk. Beat about 2 minutes more. Mixture should be thin and frothy.
Remove bowl from mixer. Add dry ingredients and stir until they are incorporated and batter is smooth.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45-55 minutes. Cake should be deep golden and spring back when pressed with forefinger. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Loosen by running a knife around the edges, and place on a wire rack or cake plate until completely cool.
Prepare the frosting. Beat coconut cream on medium-high speed 3-5 minutes until smooth and soft peaks are present. Remove whipped coconut cream to small bowl, set aside.
In the same bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add coconut cream, beat 1 minute.
Add confectioners sugar, lemon zest, salt and vanilla.
Refrigerate until ready to frost. Pour frosting over cake top. Spread to sides, letting it cascade over edges.
Decorate with sliced fruit and berries. Enjoy!