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La Belle Cuisine - More Cake Recipes

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"To cook is to create. And to create an act of integrity, and faith."


Nigella's Butterscotch Layer Cake



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"I feel the end approaching.
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~ Pierette, great-aunt of Brillat-Savarin

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Butterscotch Layer Cake

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking
How to Be a Domestic Goddess:
Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

by Nigella Lawson, 2001, Hyperion

“This is the sort of cake that people label ‘very rich’ but then go on to have
three slices with languorous ease. Yes, it is rich, but the gorgeousness is
never palate cluttering or cloying. It makes a comforting dessert after a
wintry kitchen supper of something like meatballs or roast chicken
and leeks.
To make a coffee-butterscotch cake – as heavenly as it sounds – add a table-spoonful of instant espresso powder to the flour. And it occurs to me as I write
this that, for fruit lovers, this cake, in its regular, uncoffeed state, would be
even more seductive with a few sliced, perfectly ripe bananas in with the
filling. But I have to say it does it for me as it is.”

For the icing:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
14 ounces (1 3/4 cups) cream cheese at room temperature

For the cake layers:
1 cup unsalted butter, very soft
7 tablespoons softened brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups self-rising cake flour
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream
Two 8 x 2-inch cake pans, greased and lined with parchment
or wax paper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and then get on with the icing. I do this first, since you need to make some caramel and then let it cool. Dissolve
the sugar in the water over a low heat, remembering not to stir at all as it
will crystallize if you do. When it seems dissolved, turn up the heat and
boil until it turns a dark golden color. This will probably take 10-15 minutes.
And try not to be faint-hearted: caramel has to be near burning; it wouldn’t be caramel otherwise.
When you’ve reached that exciting stage, take the pan off the heat and slowly whisk in the cream. It may go a little lumpy but don’t panic, it will smooth out. When all the cream’s in, put the pan back on the heat for a further minute, whisking until smooth and combined. I find one of those
little curly wire whisks the best tool for the job. Cool, and then refrigerate until you need it.
The easiest way to make the cake is to put all the ingredients except the cream into the bowl of a food processor and blitz till smooth. (It’s for
this reason the butter must be very soft before you start.) Scrape down
the sides of the bowl, then process again, adding a couple of tablespoons
of cream down the funnel with the motor running. Stop and check the consistency of the batter: if it’s on the runny (though not liquid) side then stop here; otherwise, add another 1-2 tablespoons of cream to achieve
this dropping consistency. [Method for making the cake batter by hand
is included in the cookbook.]
Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for about 25
minutes; the cake layers are ready  when they’re beginning to shrink
away from the sides of the pan and when a cake tester or skewer
comes out clean. Leave on a wire rack for 10 minutes; then turn out
and leave on the rack until completely cooled.
Now for the assembly. Pour the thoroughly cooled caramel into a glass
cup measure with a spout. (You’ll be using some if not all of the rest to
dribble over the iced cake later.) Beat the cream cheese until softened
and smooth, then add the cupful of caramel and beat gently to combine.
Put one cake layer on a plate. Using a rubber spatula or an ordinary blunt knife. Roughly spread just under half of the icing over the top of the
waiting cake. Place the other cake on top and then roughly ice the top of
that cake with what remains in the bowl. Don’t feel constrained to use
up every last scrap of icing: it tastes almost at its best out of a finger-
wiped bowl. Using a teaspoon, drizzle some of the reserved caramel
over the cake: think Jackson Pollock.

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