Joy the Baker’s Araby Spice Cake with Lemon

I have been slowly and deliciously baking my way through Joy the Baker’s new cookbook. This is the wonderful cake I have been eating all week, since I doubled the recipe, and it is giant! I have no problem with giant cakes, for the record.

This cake is really unique in flavor. It has a strong clove factor, and yet you can still catch little hints of lemon and cocoa powder, which play the supporting roles. If you aren’t a fan of clove, you could increase the cinnamon, but I liked it just as it was: gingerbread cake in the summer!

I doubled the recipe because I wanted to make a Bundt cake, and it was definitely the most batter I’ve ever put into my 12-cup pan! I was a bit nervous about it spilling over, but it must have been my lucky day, because it rose beautifully without overflowing.

Here it is, coming right up to the brim.

Of course, a bigger cake means a longer baking time, but some things are worth waiting for!

Continuing my series of firsts with this cake, I cannot say that I have ever baked a cake this tall. It is majestic. And, if you have 20-30 hungry mouths to feed, this is what you want in your oven!

And now for the lemon part. Joy includes a quick glaze recipe for this cake (lemon, powdered sugar, milk), and I mixed it up, but found it too sweet. This is not a knock on the glaze itself–it’s just that glazes and frostings are usually too sweet for me. What I did instead was (call me crazy) squeeze a lemon over the cake. This way, I got the flavor and tang of the lemon without adding any more sugar to an already perfect cake. I loved it! A few days later, though, I found myself in possession of an entire flat of strawberries, so I whipped some cream and chopped a few berries, and I added them to the top of a slice. Whoa, it was perfection. The strawberry and lemon worked perfectly together, and the cream was divine. I consider these two points evidence of a larger truth: whatever you put on this cake, it is going to be delicious. Next time, I think I will try a dark chocolate glaze. Here’s to experimenting!

Joy the Baker’s Araby Spice Cake with Lemon
(Recipe doubled and ever so slightly adapted)

4 c AP flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c unsalted butter at room temperature
3 c sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp lemon zest
6 eggs
1 1/2 c buttermilk

-Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
-In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
-In a stand mixer, blend the butter, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and lemon zest. Beat 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat for about one minute after each egg.
-Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture on low speed. Then add half of the buttermilk, the remaining flour mixture, and the remaining buttermilk. Beat until combined, no more than one minute.
-Spoon batter into pan and bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes  or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
-Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
-Squeeze one lemon over the top of the cake for a tart glaze, cut, and enjoy! (You can also try fresh whipped cream and strawberries, or a dark chocolate glaze).

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