We’re changing the tone of things in the kitchen. Can you feel it? It feels like we need a different kind of nourishment. Warming and routine. Roasted and rooted.
I find myself gravitating towards Golden Milk every autumn and winter. It’s the drink I stir together when I’ve dimmed the lights in my kitchen to just one – that thing I do to signal to my body that we get to rest soon. Golden Milk has a lullaby quality while also feeling almost as indulgent as ice cream. It’s settling. It feels like roots likely because it comes from roots.
It’s with great affection that I pour my favorite spiced drink over vanilla cake. The cake is concepted like a Tres Leches Cake with less milks and more spice flavor. Chilled to settle. Swept with lightly whipped cream to serve.
It’s gentle, and simple, and still feels special. Here’s how:
I love a humble cake in a square pan.
It’s not fussy. It’s the sort of cake that sits in the fridge, loosely covered in plastic wrap, visited often with a butter knife as people sneak slivers here and there.
This is the sort of cake that comes together in one big bowl though the use of exactly one million small bowls of ingredients feels particularly organized and indulgent until it comes time to wash them all. A little bit of cake mise-en-place helps me safeguard against forgetting the baking soda or double adding the baking soda while forgetting the sugar. Essentially, I’ll do more dishes for a higher cake success rate.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Halfway done! (Not really… but essentially.)
Pour sugar into a bowl, dramatically from up high.
Add melted butter, every bit. Add a few eggs, too.
Whisk in the buttermilk creating a creamy, glossy, on-you-way-to-cake mixture.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
And whisk to a fluffy thickness.
Whisk until any flour lumps have eased out and the batter is thick and pourable.
Pour into a greased pan.
And pop that gem in the oven.
While the cake bakes I mix together the golden milk.
It’s mostly coconut milk with the support of a dash of heavy cream and a splash of water.
Honey to sweeten.
Cinnamon and turmeric and a dash of ground ginger too. I also add a few grinds of black pepper for just the slightest hint of spice.
The whole mixture is heated gently in a saucepan until just warm and the flavor of the spice has started to bloom.
Allow the cake to cool for a few (about 15) minutes when it comes out of the oven. Breathe deeply in the kitchen. It smells like cake. This is our moment.
Use a skewer to poke holes in the cake. From top to bottom. Side to side.
Slowly pour the warmed golden milk over and into the cake. Slowly to give the cake time to absorb. The liquid may begin to pool a bit around the edges. That’s ok, just keep it moving.
I find that this cake is best with a bit of quality time in the refrigerator – overnight to be exact. It helps the liquid absorb and settle into the cake and cools the crumb of the cake. These will be dense little slices, nice and chill.
Lightly sweetened and lightly whipped cream. Spread generously.
Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and hustle in there for a slice.
In dense, in that way cake can still be dense and delicious. It’s moist in that way that you’ll allow. It’s flavorful and cheeky and it’s cake so CAKE!