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Photo: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto Photo by: Photo: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto

French Four-Spice Cake with Browned Butter Spice Frosting

This cake starts out tasting like citrus and sweet spices, then builds to a gentle pepper glow if the quatre epices is made with white pepper, or a good kick if it's based on black pepper.

Sunset OCTOBER 2010

  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Total:1 Hour, 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • CAKE:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons quatre épices
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • FROSTING:
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon quatre épices
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-in. square pan.

2. Make cake: Beat butter, brown sugar, and zest in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well blended. In another bowl, combine flour and other dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to butter mixture one-third at a time, alternating with buttermilk half at a time, and beating on low speed after each addition until blended. Spread batter in pan.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack, 10 minutes. Loosen cake from pan with a slender spatula, then invert onto a rack. Re-invert onto another rack; cool completely.

4. Make frosting: Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into a mixer bowl, let cool, then chill until firm enough to beat, about 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for nuts and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, occasionally scraping inside of bowl.

5. Split cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. Lift off top layer with 2 wide spatulas. Set bottom layer on a platter, then spread with half of frosting. Replace top layer. Spread top of cake with remaining frosting, then sprinkle with nuts.

quatre épices

Note:

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 490
  • Calories from fat: 44%
  • Protein: 4.5g
  • Fat: 24g
  • Saturated fat: 13g
  • Carbohydrate: 68g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Sodium: 348mg
  • Cholesterol: 85mg
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French Four-Spice Cake with Browned Butter Spice Frosting recipe

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