Araby Spice Cake

1-recipe_1 2-recipe_2

This is a recipe clipped from the Norman Transcript, and published in that paper alongside its “lightened” version. Due to the column layout, I have cropped the images for clarity of reading; the original recipe is the only one shown here. While the lower-calorie and lower-fat version sounded intriguing, the “fat-full” recipe caught my eye. Cocoa, vanilla, lemon, and nuts? My interest was piqued; I knew that I had to bake this cake. Besides, the nutrition facts on the original aren’t that extreme – any dessert I could order at a restaurant would be much worse for me. Rationalization (and baking) ahoy!

After baking, I still have no idea what makes this cake “Arabian”, but it certainly is good! The flavor is nuanced, and a little hard to describe. If you have ever had windmill cookies, imagine that same taste combined with a light, springy texture. It is not overly sweet, but it is interesting – in the good way, not in the Chinese proverb way. :) When I make spice cake from a box, I usually frost it with cream cheese frosting; after tasting this cake, I decided to simply serve it with whipped cream.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 7/8 cups all-purpose flour (yes, I know, it’s an odd measurement… just go with it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3-floured_pan

Grease and flour a 13” x 9” baking dish, and set aside.

4-cream_shortening

Cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy.

5-add_eggs

Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.

6-add_dry

Add the vanilla extract, lemon extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa, and mix well.

7-add_buttermilk

Add the flour,  baking powder, and baking soda alternately with the buttermilk, and mix well.

8-add_nuts

Stir in the nuts.

9-in_pan

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve with whipped cream.

10-finished

Click here for a print-friendly version.

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