When it is cold outside, and the leaves have fallen from the trees, there is nothing I enjoy more than a good cuppa and a slice of this Autumn spice cake. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves all married together with the sharp tang of cream cheese icing. This cake is quintessentially Autumn, so much so that I simply have to share it!
I am a cinnamon fiend, and I am always happy to admit it. When Autumn comes around, I simply cannot hold back. Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg were once the reserve of the nobility due to their high value. This was mainly due to the cost involved in bringing them back from the British colonies at the time.) Spices were exotic, rare and were often used at times of celebration as a result. No wonder, then, that these spices still hold a special place at Christmas time, and Thanksgiving in the USA. For me, as soon as the leaves start to turn brown, everything has to have cinnamon in it.
They say that we eat with our eyes first, so I always try to decorate my cakes. Even a simple/quick cake can be jazzed up with a swirl pattern in the icing and a few sprinkles. For this cake, crushed gingernut biscuits are the perfect decoration, in my opinion. The fact they add to the flavour even more is a delicious bonus! You could also decorate this cake with an army of gingerbread men, guarding the perimeter. (Sainsburys sell boxes of miniature gingerbread men all year round.)
My Autumn spice cake calls for cream cheese icing. There is something extremely pleasing about the slight tang. It cuts through the spice like a cold Autumn breeze. However, if you prefer, a vanilla buttercream would work just as well. The flavour profile of my Autumn spice cake is somewhat similar to a carrot cake (only without the carrot). It goes perfectly with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Give it a try! And, if you happen to have leftovers (although, goodness knows why you would), why not try making my Cinnamon Cake Bites?
Autumn Spice Cake
For the cake
- 335 g butter
- 330 g brown sugar
- 5 eggs large
- 335 g plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg grated
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the cream cheese icing
- 100 g cream cheese
- 100 g butter softened
- 375 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g gingernut biscuits
Let's make cake
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Then, grease and line two 9" baking tins with baking parchment.
- In a clean mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one by one, beating between each addition. Beat the mixture until it is light and airy.
- Next, add the flour, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda as well as all of the spices and vanilla extract.
- Fold the ingredients together until they are just combined and no dry flour remains.
- Divide the mixture equally into the two greased and lines cake tins.
- Bake on the middle shelf for 25-30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown. They should pull away from the side of the tins slightly and a skewer placed in the centre of the cake should come out clean.
- Leave the cakes to fully cool before levelling them off (if necessary.)
Cream cheese icing
- In a clean bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until no lumps of cream cheese remain.
- Sift the icing sugar into the bowl and start folding it into the butter and cream cheese. Once it is folded in, add the vanilla extract and beat the icing to form a light and airy icing.
Time to decorate
- Place the bottom layer of cake onto a cake stand and spread 4-5 tablespoons of icing over the layer.
- Place the second layer on top before spooning the rest of the icing on top.
- Gently work the icing over the top of the cake and down the sides.
- Smooth the icing all over so that there is a nice even layer all around. If there is too much icing, use a palette knife to scrape off the excess.
- Place the cake in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the gingernut biscuits into a food bag and crush them finely with a rolling pin.
- Once chilled, remove the cake from the fridge and cover with the crushed biscuit. I like to either dust half of the cake or leave the top plain and cover the perimeter in crumbs.