Sunday, January 6, 2008

Penuche me, baby!

Having been cursed with a sweet tooth, but insisting that any dessert I might want, generally I have to make, I baked us a cake last night. The cake was my aunt Mary's Gingerbread cake, which is a ridiculously easy, few-ingredient requiring, very moist cake. Not quite satisfied with just cake, I also made penuche icing. Penuche is a fudge (actually, I just discovered a link to penuche fudge candy and no-bake penuche drop cookies; might have to try those - without the nuts for me). This is a fudge icing, and unfortunately, is very easy to do.

(the cake, that is, not the house or cookies!)

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup boiled water
1 tsp baking soda

Grease an 8"x8" baking pan & line with wax paper cut to the shape of the bottom of the pan. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour & spices. In separate bowl, cream oil & sugar, then add beaten egg and mix well. Add molasses & mix well. Add flour mixture in two batches & blend after each addition. Dissolve baking soda in boiled water, stirring to dissolve. Add this solution into the mixture and stir until well blended and of even consistency. Pour into baking pan & bake for 30-40 minutes.

Note: it's really important to dissolve the baking soda in the water, rather than to do the normal thing & mix the baking soda into the dry ingredients. I forgot that once and got huge weird bubbles in my cake. I don't recommend it.

Easy Penuche Frosting

(I think this was originally from a Betty Crocker cook book of my Mom's. Every year, I'd demand spice cake with penuche frosting for my birthday cake. I still like the spice cake with this, but the gingerbread is so easy and moist, it's hard to beat as the penuche substrate)

Note: for single-layer cake, please HALF the recipe.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 cup sifted icing sugar

Melt butter in heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Stir in brown sugar and keep stirring as you bring to boil over medium-low heat. Stir over low heat for two more minutes. Stir in milk (NB - you're adding a cold mixture to a boiling sugar; it'll bubble up a lot and really go at it in the pot, so it's very important to keep stirring as you add the milk) and stir constantly until incorporated, and keep bubbling for about a minute more. Cool to luke warm (you can use an ice water bath to achieve this goal quicker) and stir in icing sugar in gradual batches; you may not need as much icing sugar as the recipe calls for, just enough to get to a nice, smooth, thick spreadable consistency. Spread over still-warm cake for melt-in flavour. Enjoy!

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