Friday, February 5, 2010

Sour Cream Chai Cake

I wish I could tell you that I've been so slow to post because I was off solving some major world problem. But I wasn't. I wasn't even solving a minor world problem, for that matter. I've just been in a bit of a dwaal, which will hopefully lift as spring approaches. Until then I'll have to find comfort in baking cakes like this rich, moist sour cream chai cake.
You might recognize this recipe. I used a chocolate version of it to make ornaments last December. I noticed last night that a jar of cream had gone sour in the fridge and instead of tossing it I thought I'd make cake. Nigella's sour cream chocolate cake popped instantly to mind, only I didn't want to make chocolate cake. I wondered if I could just leave out the cocoa, so I did, and it worked.
The result was an unbelievably rich, moist, warmly spiced cake. It's the sort of cake that needs strong tea or coffee to cut its richness. I have a feeling it is also the sort of cake that is even better the next day.

Sour Cream Chai Cake

adapted from Nigella Lawson

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground chai spice
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. butter, soft
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour cake pans or a ring mold and set aside.
  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai spice in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter and, using the paddle attachment, combine it into the flour mixture. In another bowl or a quart measuring pitcher, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Add slowly to the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.
  • Bake for half an hour. Allow to cool slightly in the pan then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Transfer to serving dish and dust with powdered sugar.
I like always to have something on hand to offer in case someone pops over unexpectedly. It will be a lucky popper-over indeed who gets offered this cake.

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