6 January 2013

My Spiced Birthday Cake with Cinnamon Icing

Mmm, was I pleased with this cake!! I didn't want to make anything overly rich or something that we'd done a dozen times before, when I came across inspiration with a couple of old cookery books. I didn't have enough cream cheese for the suggested cream cheese frosting, but I was really pleased with my zesty cinnamon icing.

I broke tradition and made it myself, as I didn't trust my Father to make a cake... possibly a little cheeky, but I counted the baking as a birthday gift to myself.

If you ever feel like a change from the normal birthday cake, I really would recommend this one!
I think it looks best as three narrow tiers (although due to there being only three of us I reduced the recipe and made two layers) but if you want to use the same amount of cake mixture for two layers, reduce the temperature by between 10-20'C and leave for an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven before checking.

Spiced Cake with Cinnamon frosting
  • 170g soft butter
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 egg and 3 egg yolks
  • 300ml milk
  • 2tbsp golden syrup
  • 2tsp vanilla essence
  • 285g plain flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 1tsp of each cinnamon and grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of each ground cloves and ground ginger
For the cinnamon frosting:
  •  350g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Juice of an orange

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180'C. Grease and line the 20cm round caketins
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolks.
In a separate bowl of jug, combine the milk, golden syrup and vanilla essence. Beat a small amount of the milk mixture into the sugar and egg mix before stirring in the rest with a spatula. Because of the high liquid content, small lumps of mix may make the mixture appear to have curdle, but hang on in there.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together two or three times so that it is nice and aerated. Gently add the flour into the liquid mix, in at least four batches, using the spatula to gently fold each addition in. If the mix still looks a little lumpy when all the flour has been added, give it a very quick blitz with an electric beater to smooth out, but not so much as to make the cake heavy.

Pour the mix between the cake tins evenly, and bake for around 25 minutes. The cake should be coming away from the sides of the tin, be lightly coloured and should spring back when gently pressed. Cool on the side for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Sift together the icing sugar and cinnamon into a bowl that can be heated over a bain marie, then stir in the orange juice. The icing should be a little thicker than normal water icing, but if it is totally solid, add water or extra juice a teaspoon at a time. Heat the icing over a pan of simmering water so that it goes a little runnier. About the thickness to be able to cover the back of a spoon is about right.
I love the soft coffee colour the cinnamon lends to the icing.
Spoon over each cake layer, stacking as you go and leaving enough to be a little generous on the top layer. You could use cream cheese frosting, or even a mix of both. This is my preferred recipe:
  • 300g sifted icing sugar (add in the cinnamon here if you like)
  • 50g soft butter
  • 125g cold full fat cream cheese


Cream the icing sugar and butter together (I'd use a spatula or spoon for this to save mess!), then add in the cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer for at least five minutes until light and fluffy.
I decorated my cake with crystallized ginger, although on hindsight I maybe should have cut them a little finer... ginger packs a serious punch!

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