Comfort Food

I think the heat has gotten to me.

In the last two days the temperature has soared.
It has been such a lovely long spring with comfy days and chilly nights more like September.
With the official day of summer here at last, on cue the temperature became crippling… to me and my garden.

Yesterday morning I was in a race against the heat, toting bag after bag filled to the brim with lettuce and peas from the garden, before my spring vegetables got word that summer had swept into town and they would bolt… not to a more hospitable climate, but into the compost heap.

I worked in the garden until I was nearly sun stroked.
But now that I think I’ve recovered…. I’m wondering if maybe I haven’t….

Because of all things, I’ve decided to make a very spicy Spice Cake, something that I would make typically in cold weather.
I have been using blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in everything, taking advantage of all the great seasonal produce.
I love the growing, the picking, the menu planning, and the cooking.

But today I have gone off the rails, and I’m feeling the need for comfort food.

Our library is the best source on earth for cookbooks, gardening books, design books and novels, all the topics I adore’
I stumbled upon this great new cookbook called, ‘The Food 52 Cookbook’ by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs.
I have made a couple very good things from it but today the Spice Cake was calling to me.

The batter goes together easily and lusciously using the Kitchen Aid. I had to cook my cake 15 minutes longer than recommended but the scent is divine.
I found the icy very thick but proceeded to pour in too generous a dollop of milk so the icing was then too thin, making the cake look like it was made by very unprofessional me.
The flavor, though, was out of this world.
We loved it, even though it was 92 degrees in the shade!

Serves 10-12

1/2 pound butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening (yes, shortening)

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace (don’t leave this out)

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup plus 2 TB milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Using and electric mixer, cream together butter, shortening, sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time.
Sift together dry ingredients, twice. Add dry mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Add vanilla. Bake in a greased floured tube pan at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cake tests for doneness. Serve with caramel icing.
Make Caramel Icing: in a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter; stir in 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/3 cup cream. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Return to heat and bring to boil for 1 minute. Let the mixture cool. Beat in 2 cups confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

PS: Lest you think the veggies in the photo at the top of the page are mine, the credit goes to the wonderful gardeners at Youngs Farm in Long Island.

This entry was posted in Cooking, Gardening and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply