Spruce Cornmeal Cake with Tangerine Goat Cheese Frosting
Here's another fun creation for the Wild Things Round Up - Spruce Cornmeal Cake with Tangerine Goat Cheese Frosting. I've always enjoyed making up recipes - taking what I've got on hand, and manipulating it to create something magical. But now, my partner in crime from Cauldrons and Crockpots has upped my game. You can't imagine how much fun we have volleying recipe ideas around.
And I've gotta tell ya, Bek and I are having a blast coming up with spruce recipes this month, as we're both inspired by the punchy taste of spruce. It lends itself so well to savory dishess, but it also has a fruity quality that makes it a natural for sweets.
I don't even like sweet food, but the flavor of spruce has got my imagination running wild. So, I've been in the kitchen, playing. And I think my family and neighbors are enjoying the results, if their gasps of delight are any indication.
A day or two before you plan to make the cake, make a spruce syrup. Combine one cup sugar, one cup water, and 4 tablespoons chopped spruce tips in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let simmer until big sticky bubbles form on top. Remove from heat and let stand for at least 24 hours. Return to a burner, heat until liquid once again, then strain out spruce through a fine sieve. This should make more than enough spruce syrup to use with this cake and a few other recipes.
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. spruce tips, ground finely in a mortar and pestle
Combine wet ingredients, then stir in dry ingredients. Pour into a greased and cornstarched (in place of flour) 8" cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees (F), or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Let cool completely.
To make frosting, use a hand mixer to combine 2 Tbsp. each butter and goat cheese chevre (room temp). Add in a big splash of brandy (mmm, splish splash, me likey alcoholic frosting). Next, mix in powdered sugar 1/2 c. at a time, until you enjoy the taste and consistency. For me, this was about 1 1/2 c. Turn the mixer up to high and make the frosting extra fluffy.
To assemble, turn the cake upside down, and pierce with a fork or toothpick repeatedly. Pour several spoonfuls of warm spruce syrup over the cake, until it looks nicely soaked. Frost generously with whatever amount of tangerine goat cheese icing you have left, assuming you are like me, and about half of it left the mixing bowl on your finger. And if you aren't like that, let me suggest you give it a try because that kind of pleasure is what life is all about. Live a little!