Spice up your life

In our vocabulary fine dining is just that. Fine food, well prepared, great ingredients, confident combinations, and lots of love. Off all the things I learnt in the Hare Krishna temple, it was that love was the true secret to fine food. The other thing I learnt was that asafoetida is also a horse laxative and too heavy a hand of it in the pot is not a good thing.

This simple spice cake is the thing we like serving for late afternoon tea. It is comforting and actually a little reminiscent of Lebkuchen, which is nice touch this time of the year!


2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder (heaped)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon powderered ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

For the icing:
1 1/2 cups sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 180. In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, milk, and vanilla; beat on slow to medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of mixing bowl several times. Beat in eggs and continue to beat for 2 minutes longer. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Spoon batter into a generously greased and floured 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool and frost with icing

To Make Caramel icing:
Combine sugar, milk and butter in a sauce pan. Stirring constantly; bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool to lukewarm. Beat until creamy and thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little more milk or a small amount of cream.