Recipe: Cinnamon-Raisin Brown Sugar Cake

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I’ve baked cookies, muffins, and loaf breads. I’ve decorated cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, and everything in between. I’ve tried my hand at several pies: triple berry, maple peach, raspberry rhubarb, and classic apple more times than I can count. In September, I made my first bundt cake. All these baking experiments gave me the courage to attempt a real cinnamon-raisin brown sugar layer cake, almost wholly made from scratch (I bought the blue frosting).

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Making this layer cake was easier than expected, though it was time consuming: the cake has to cool completely before it can be frosted, I broke up a ton of pretzels and then only used about one-third of them, I made the salted caramel drizzle on the stovetop and set off the smoke alarm in the process. But it was definitely worth the effort!

Note: This recipe makes enough for two 9″ round springform pans but is versatile enough that you can use bakeware of other shapes and sizes as long as you monitor carefully and adjust cooking time as necessary.

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Ingredients
~2.5 cups cake flour (or all-purpose flour)
~1 cup sugar
~1/2 cup dark brown sugar
~1 tsp. baking soda
~3/4 tsp. baking powder
~1 tsp. salt
~2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
~1/2 cup yogurt (I used Chobani nonfat plain yogurt)
~2/3 cup water
~4 large eggs
~1 tbsp. unsulphured molasses (or maple syrup)
~1 tsp. vanilla extract
~2 tbsp. cinnamon
~1 cup raisins
~2 tubs Pillsbury Funfetti vanilla frosting in aqua blue
~Salted caramel sauce and additional toppings

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Preparation
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
~In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk well.
~Add butter, yogurt, water, eggs, molasses (or syrup), vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
~Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, blend until combined.
~Mix in raisins with a wooden spoon or spatula.
~Evenly divide cake batter between two greased pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
~When cakes have cooled completely, remove from pans.
~Spread salted caramel sauce over the top of one cake. (You can find many simple recipes for salted caramel online if you want to make it yourself, or you can buy a caramel ice cream topping and mix in salt to taste.)
~Layer frosting over the salted caramel sauce. Top with second cake.
~Frost the top and sides of cake in a thick layer, then add toppings as desired. I add broken pretzel pieces to the sides for a salty crunch; drizzled salted caramel over the top, then ringed it with raisins rolled in cinnamon-sugar; used mini pretzels and a heart-shaped chocolate for decoration; and lastly sprinkled on some Himalayan pink sea salt.

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