The (Great!) Canadian Spice Cake

01bCanSPiceCakeSlicebfLORich had a taste for some spice cake, and by happy coincidence, I had this recipe from our cousins North o’ the border.

The thing that makes this cake Canadian is, I’m guessing, the use of ketchup – traditionally Heinz – in addition to the spices, and the rather liberal amount (two tablespoons!) of red food coloring called for, which, I believe would make the cake a vivid RED to combine with the WHITE of the cream cheese frosting in an hommage to the Canadian flag.

04CakeBakedCoolbfLOI say ‘believe’ because, well, who keeps enough red food coloring on hand to spoon out TWO TABLESPOONS? I soldiered on, tho’, adding an additional tablespoon of ketchup and one of water to make up for the liquid content – is not the color lost. Still, I ended up with a rich, deliciously moist cake that, hommage to the flag or not, will be a welcome treat for dessert or when you just feel a bit peckish for spice cake.

•2 cups flour
•2 tsp baking powder
•1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
•1 tsp baking soda
•1/2 tsp nutmeg
•1/2 tsp ginger
•1/2 cup ketchup (I used my spicy ‘Sup!)
•1/2 cup water
•2 tbsp red food coloring
03dButterCreamCheesebLOf•3/4 cup (1-1/2 stick) butter, softened
•1-1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
•2 Eggs

•6 oz cream cheese, softened
•3/4 cup (1-1/2 stick) butter, softened
•1 tsp vanilla
•4 cups confectioners’ sugar

09PanPreparebfLONote: the original recipe calls for making this cake as two nine inch layers and baking for 30 minutes, but I opted for a 13×9 pan and baked for 45 minutes – the extra time mebbe needed because I added that extra tablespoon each  of ‘sup! and water to replace the food coloring.

Heat your oven to 350º (because I was using a glass baking pan, I set my oven at 325º) and prepare your cake pan(s) of choice by combining one tablespoon each of shortening, cooking oil, and flour with a fork in a small bowl, then brushing this over the sides and bottom. You won’t need any parchment or waxed paper, and the cake should pop out nicely when done.

06bAddEggsbfLOWhisk the flour together with the baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a bowl and set aside.

Combine the ketchup, water, and food coloring (or additional ‘sup and water) together in another small bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl, then add the sugar and beat until fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, then mix in the flour and ketchup on low until blended.

05aCakeBatterReadybfLOIncrease the speed to medium-high and beat for four minutes.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean – as I noted above, mine took about 45 minutes, but I believe that to be due to the extra ‘sup and water I added to make up for the food coloring – or mebbe it was because I 03aFrostingDonebfLOadjusted the oven down to 325º to accommodate the glass baking pan. It’s a mystery.

Allow the cake to cool on a rack for fifteen minutes before turning on to a rack to cool completely – if you’ve made layers or mebbe a bundt – I left mine in the pan.

Once the cake is cooled, cream the cheese together with the butter and vanilla on medium speed for about two minutes, or until smooth.

02aCanSpiceCakeFrostedbfLOWith the mixer on low, add the confectioners’ sugar, then increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy.

Frost the completely cooled cake, then stash in the fridge to firm up a bit before serving. I don’t know why, this cake was really good at room temperature, but much more better chilled.

Moist, rich, and very nicely spiced; indeed, this is a great Canadian spice cake.

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