“GOOD, OLD FASHIONED WAYS KEEP HEARTS SWEET, HEADS SANE, HANDS BUSY.” Louisa May Alcott.
More than anything else that I bake, I LOVE baking cakes!
And when I began blogging, I happened upon a couple of blogs that featured a group known as The Cake Slice Bakers. They always featured some amazing cakes, yet I could not find much information about them. A secret society of cake bakers? I wanted in! I am so fortunate to have been invited to be a member. The women in this group are fun and fabulous bakers and you can find them listed at The Cake Slice . In the 2012-2013 season, we baked from . . . . .
. . . . . Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson!
I LOVE this book and had actually purchased it even before I found out it would be the featured book for this group. It truly is a “confectionery stroll down memory lane.” Stop by on the 20th of each month to see what masterpiece of American baking we will feature next!
Shoo-fly cake is a twist on the Pennsylvania Dutch classic, Shoo-fly Pie. This is a scrumptious cake made with blackstrap molasses and warm spices, and topped with a sweet, buttery crumb. It’s been said that when the pies were left on the window sill to cool, the molasses would attract flies, which were then shoo’d away. Thus the name. . . . . shoo fly!
This is really terrific served warm, out of the pan. But I allowed mine to cool a bit (far away from my windowsill!) so that I could top it with a scoop of sweet, orange scented whipped cream! I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to allow for a combination of spice that I really favor.
Yields: 8-10 sweet and sticky servings
Level of Difficulty: Easy
- 1/3 of a cup of firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 of a cup of all purpose flour
- 1/4 of a cup of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
This is a fun and easy topping to make, and one that works best if you just use your hands! Combine the flour and the sugar together in a small bowl. And then toss in the butter cubes, using your fingers to pinch and work the butter into the dry ingredients to form crumbs. Place the bowl in the freezer while you make the cake.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9 x 2 inch round or square pan. Be sure you are working with a pan that is at least 2 inches deep. Otherwise, when you bake this particular cake, your cake is going to spill all over your oven. (Yes…I’m happy if someone else can learn from MY mistakes!)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3/4 of a cup of unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 of a cup of unsulfured blackstrap molasses
- 1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of warm coffee (may be reheated from your morning brew)
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, molasses, and vanilla until they are smooth. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Then, in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt. Give the ingredients a little whisk to ensure that they are well mixed. Next, alternate whisking in the flour mixture in 3 additions and the coffee in 2 additions; beginning and ending with the flour. You will end up with a pretty thin batter in the end. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and sprinkle it with the chilled crumb topping. Bake this in the center rack of your oven until the top is firm, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before serving warm from the pan.
I love this cake! It is similar in texture and flavor to gingerbread, but I actually prefer it to gingerbread! Ms. Richardson suggests serving it with chocolate ice cream! I bet that is an interesting combination of flavors and I am definitely going to try that because it seems so unusual to me. I thought about coffee ice cream, too, since there is coffee in the batter. But I also really wanted to pair this with a lighter, citrus flavor. And orange came to mind. So I whipped up a little cream scented with orange. It was perfect!
ORANGE SCENTED WHIPPED CREAM:
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
- splash of pure vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange
Place all ingredients in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip it. Whip it good!
MY THRIFTY FINDS:
I love finding vintage kitchen stuff, especially bake wear and dishes. I am lucky to have 2 really great thrift stores nearby. I scour them both EVERY Saturday morning! I happened to find these pretty, vintage looking plates. They were $1.49 each and sadly there were only 3 of them. But they had this white, milk glass look to them. And they are more sheer at the scalloped edge, so when held to the light, the edges had a pretty blue hue. I think they were a perfect way to serve this delicious, vintage cake!
So I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did. Thank you to Paloma of The Coffee Shop for all her wonderful work in leading this amazing group of women. And please visit my fellow Cake Slice Bakers to see how they enjoyed this cake as well!