Let Them Eat (Spice) Cake

 It always happens that I get cravings for sweet things late at night ... it's terribly inconvenient.  However, I live in a house full of people who share this struggle - and are therefore very understanding when I express a dire need for something sweet.  Spice cake is especially suited to late-evening cravings because it accompanies a cup of chamomile tea very well.  But better yet, it's absolutely delicious for breakfast.  There, I've said it - we eat cake for breakfast.  And quite frankly, I think it's the best way live.

  This recipe is a family favorite.  It's one of those things that, once baked, usually disappears in a matter of moments.  It's delightful and thrillingly easy to make. 

  Spice Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream Icing

  For the Cake
  - 2 Cups of light brown sugar                              - 1 tsp. vanilla
  - 1/2 Cup of butter                                               -1 tsp. cinnamon
  - 2 eggs                                                               -1/2 tsp. all spice
  - 1 Cup of buttermilk                                           -1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  - 1 tsp. of baking soda                                         -1 tsp. ground cloves
  - 2 Cups of sifted flour                                        -1 tsp. baking powder

For the Frosting
  - 1/2 Cup shortening
  - 1/2 Cup butter, softened
  - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  - 4 cups powdered sugar 
  - 2 Tbs. milk
  - 1 whole vanilla bean

Now, for the Steps...

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and beat.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices.  Mix the buttermilk and baking soda in a separate bowl.   Alternately add the dry mix, and then the buttermilk, to the butter and sugar - mixing to combine.  Add the vanilla and mix.  Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.  You want the cake to bounce back when you touch the middle, not sink in. 

While it's in the oven, you can make the buttercream!  Yay!

Cream together the butter, shortening and vanilla.  Blend in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  Take the vanilla bean and slice it in half.  Then run your knife down the inside of the bean, scraping as many seeds as you can into the bowl.  Finally, add milk (you may want more than 2 tablespoons) and mix.

Ice the cake after it's cooled, and enjoy (perhaps for breakfast, yes?).  

Mary Grace

P.S.  If you make this cake, let me know how it turns out!  Ooh, and I would love to see pictures. :)