Saturday, February 16, 2008

Indonesian Spice Cake

I got this recipe from a new cook book we have that is all about the food from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore called Cradle of Flavor. The book is mostly savory recipes from that region, but there are a few dessert and drink recipes at the end. Some friends were having an Asian food night so I thought this recipe would make a nice finish to a spicy Asian dinner, and I was right.

The author says that this is a variation of a pound cake, brought to Indonesia by the Dutch settlers way back when, therefore I mixed it like I would a pound cake. Several minute mixing the butter, several more minutes after I added the sugar, and then a few more once the eggs went in. He calls for cake flour to be sifted and then measured, and then for it to be sifted twice more after that. Normally I ignore those kinds of instructions as time-consuming wastes that don't add much to the recipe. Last night I followed them and I'm not sure if it's the recipe in general, or those instructions, but this was the moistest pound cake I have ever had, much less made (I have struggled with pound cake in the past...)

I also have to note that I measured out two cups of cake flour and then sifted it into a bowl. Then, I measured out two cups of cake flour from that bowl and discovered that there was at least 1/2 cup of flour left in the bowl. I knew sifting and then measuring made some difference with the amount of flour added, but I didn't realize it made such a significant different. Next time a recipe calls for sifting and then measuring, I am definitely going to follow the instructions, despite the extra time it adds to the recipe.

Overall, an incredibly moist and light cake with a wonderful spicy flavor and crispy crumb. It was easy to make and the only "hassle" was that the ingredients (as with all pound cakes) should be at room temp, the ingredients need to mix for minutes at time, and the flour needs to be sifted three times -- not hard steps to accomplish, but steps that most people (me included) are tempted to skip to save time. I won't be skipping these steps in the future, and I urge anyone who makes this, or other pound cakes, to follow them as well.

2 cups sifted cake flour (sift then measure)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 tsps ground cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks) at room temp
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temp
3 large egg yolks, at room temp, lightly beaten
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar, for dusting finished cake

Preheat oven to 325 and grease a 9-inch tube or bundt pan. (I sprayed mine with baking spray.)

Resift the sifted flour, along with the baking powder, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl. Now, resift the flour mixture and set it aside.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter until it's soft and very pliant, about 1 minute. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat on high speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

One at a time, add the 4 whole eggs and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 equal portions, beating on low speed until the batter is combined. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and continue to beat or stir until they are weel mixed into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the surface. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean -- check it after 45 minutes, but it could go as long as an hour.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out, let it cool completely, then dust with powdered sugar.


impatient, annoying snork said...

This sounds really interesting... malaysia, singapore, and indonesia are NOT countries I think of when I think of awesome sweet stuff... so I'd be willing to contribute whatever exotic ingredients might be needed, if the biscuit pusher might be persuaded to make a few other delicacies, say from singapore or whatnot, for the enjoyment of her office friends, hopefully including this poor snork...

Anonymous said...

i am honored to say that i have sampled this cake and it most definitely deserves to be made again, and again, and again. this cake does NOT taste like it has 3 sticks of butter plus 4 eggs plus 3more egg yolks! it's also a cake that goes equally well with a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, or a glass of wine.

scheming snork said...

super jealous of this "jb" person... gonna have to get me some of this cake by hook or by crook.