Marble Spice Cake
Come autumn months there's a certain aroma that arises from the earth. It's a combination of decaying leaves and damp earth and wood smoke. It always makes me think of spices, the warming spices as I refer to them: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Warm rich colors and flavors that just seem to be best suited to the time of year.
I find myself reaching for these spices often when I'm in the kitchen in these months. Ground Allspice lends a wonderful richness to pot roast or cubed steaks. Whole cloves and allspice are wonderful in pot roast and chicken stew. A sprinkling of cinnamon goes into the flour for oven fried chicken or is added to sugar to make toast or sprinkled over doughnuts. Nutmeg is grated fresh (this truly is the best!) into sugar to top banana muffins or sprinkled over oatmeal.
It's no wonder that my mind drifts into the wonderful spicy sweetness of desserts is it? Apple pie with a deep streusel topping dark with cinnamon, sugar cookies with nutmeg or cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Gingerbread with freshly made applesauce, or tart warm lemon sauce to temper the ginger. Or spice cake.
There's the wonderful plum cake made with strained plums (from the baby food aisle) and topped with a tart lemon glaze. Granny's holiday cake that surpasses all: Japanese fruit cake, redolent with spices and topped with a cooked coconut, lemon and pineapple topping. And then there's this cake. A wonderful marble cake with a mixture of beautiful swirls of deep dark spice batter and white all mixed beautifully together.
Marble Spice Cake
2 cups sifted cake flour (or 2 cups minus 4 tbsps of regular flour)
2 tsps. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 tbsps. molasses
Grease and flour 8 x 8 pan
Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Crem shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and milk alternately in small amounts, beating after each addition. Divide batter into 2 parts. To one part add spices and molasses. Drop batter by tablespoons into pan, alternating light and dark batters. Bake 40 - 50 minutes or until cake tests done. (I start checking mine about 35 minutes into baking).
Frost with a simple vanilla butter frosting.