Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spice Cake with Blackberry Preserves and Mascarpone Frosting

I am a big believer that every wedding or baby shower needs something spectacularly sweet to top everyone off. One of my great great friends is having a girl in September and as such, deserved all the love and affection in the world. Isn't that showers and friends are for after all??

I searched high and low for a killer cake and found one that had me giddy to bake. The first time around, I followed the instructions word for word yet found that the butter didn't yield that moist spice cake texture so desperately yearned for. Which is odd, can we just talk about this? The cake was quite dry. No one wants to be sock-mouthing on dry cake at a shower. So I made a round two-go on it and substituted the butter straight out for canola oil- no teetering with the measurements were necessary and wala: perfect texture (it's been my experience that most cakes bake up nicer with oil as the fat component, but believe you me, butter reigns as queen fattie in most other desserts)!

I served the monster cake on a ceramic and dramatic pink cake stand, as shown in the photo above. Poked through it were two wooden skewers with "flags" on them saying, "Sugar and spice and everything nice"- you know... girlish nursery rhymes with perfect relevance to the dessert. It seemed to good to be true- spice cake, sugar and spice personality.

The cake, you should know, might give me heart disease. Or at least send my cholesterol numbers up through the roof. You have these layers of delectable yet subtle spice cake with a thick and incredibly creamy mascarpone cheese frosting in between as well as on top. Throw in some sweet blackberry preserves, a cinnamon sugar dusting over the entirety of it, and.... well, I am filled with raptures. While eating it, I tried to keep a composed expression of total coolness, but deep down, my zinging heart was pounding rapidly for more of it. It is, to this date, my very, very favorite cake. We all need one, right?

The top picture shows the last piece of cake that I anxiously waited for eating for breakfast the next morning. It was even better 12 hours later. And, it really is a shame that I was negligent in snapping a picture of the real deal before it was served, but you get the idea.

Spice Cake with Blackberry Preserves

& Mascarpone Frosting

{Martha Stewart Living, May 2011}

Vegetable oil cooking spray

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups blackberry jam (from one 17.5-ounce jar)

Mascarpone Frosting (recipe below)

Garnish: cinnamon-sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8-inch round (I used 6 inch and 9 inch. Yes, I made two cakes and both sizes worked amazingly) cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment, and spray parchment. Sift flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.

Beat butter (or canola oil) and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until smooth, about 1 minute more.

Divide batter among cake pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 40 minutes (mine baked in less time than that). Transfer pans to wire racks, and let cool for 20 minutes. Turn out cakes from pans, remove parchment, and flip right side up. Let cool completely and (this is Katie talk) freeze for a few hours until substantially hard enough to saw through without it crumbling to smithereens.

Trim tops of cakes to create a flat surface. Cut cakes in half horizontally. Spread 1/2 cup jam onto 1 layer, then spread 1 cup frosting over jam. Top with another cake layer. Repeat layering cakes with jam and frosting, leaving top layer (bottom side up) uncovered.

Spread remaining frosting on top of cake, and garnish with cinnamon-sugar.

Mascarpone Frosting

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.


Heidi said...

Looks too yummy to be true... I can't say I will ever make this cake. I'd like you to make it for me... that way I know it will be good. :)

Michelle said...

This was a REALLY good cake. I especially loved the marscapone (sp?) frosting. Hopefully I'll be able to give is a try sometime. By the way, I have recently realized how much I love cooking. So, I am going to be visiting your blog frequently. :)

w & r said...

Ok, I'm totally going to make this for dessert for family lunch after Baby Raleigh's blessing this Sunday (yes, the poor child risks limbo for not having been blessed yet!). So you said it was good the next day but the frosting needs to be used immediately...So how far in advance can I whip the whole thing up? should I be doing the frosting right before I serve it or can the completed cake sit in the fridge during church? Are there any pitfalls with this recipe you should warn me of as a novice baker trying it out for the first time on a big occasion? xo

katie m said...


It doesn't have to be made in advance... I think I was stating a mere surprise that a frosted cake actually lasted (i.e. didn't fall apart) through the night.

You can always bake off the cakes the night before, as well as whip up the frosting. Then, the morning of his blessing, assemble it all together, and refrigerate it until it's ready.

Make sense??

I don't think there are many pitfalls. Just make sure your mascarpone cheese is at room temperature for at least 1-2 hours before you use it in the frosting- you'll avoid a lot of lumpage in your frosting if you do that.

Grease your pans well, don't overbake it, and other than that, you should be perfect!!

Happy baby blessing to baby R!!! I'll bet he's wearing tights for the occasion?