Today I am featuring Connecticut in my “Cooking 50 States” Tour. Connecticut is known as “The Nutmeg State” so I thought this would be the perfect nod to this little New England state.
To begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 1/2 teaspoons of grated nutmeg. Please use fresh nutmeg if you can. You’ll thank me for it. Stir those together and set aside.
In your mixing bowl, beat together 1 1/2 cup sugar and 1 stick (1/2 c) room temperature butter until they are fluffy. Add in 3 room temperature eggs, one at a time, completely mixing each in before adding the next. Then mix in 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
Mix in 1/3 of your flour mixture until just combined.
You’ll need a cup of buttermilk. Mix in half of that right now.
Once the buttermilk is combined, repeat the process with the next 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining buttermilk, and then the remaining flour mixture. Make certain to scrape your bowl with a spatula to get everything combined.
Pour the batter into 2 – 9 inch round cake pans that have been greased or sprayed.
Bake the cakes for about 25 minutes, or until they test done with a toothpick.
Allow them to cool about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once your layers are cooled, it’s time to make the icing. In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of half & half, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of butter. Melt these over medium heat, stirring continually. Bring it to a gentle boil and let it bubble away for about 2 minutes.
Stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla. The mixture will bubble up a little. Stir it smooth and turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes.
Next, whisk in 1 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, about a third at a time. Whisk it until it is nice and smooth.
This will make the icing very thick. If you need to, add in an additional tablespoon or two of half & half, until it is the consistency you like.
Now to start putting it together.
Place one of your cake layers on your serving dish or cake platter. Spread 2/3 of a cup of apple butter all over the top. I’m using a wonderfully spiced version that my mother-in-laws sends us. The Fall Branch, Tennessee Fire Department makes this every year as a fundraiser. It is the best apple butter I have ever had.
Place your second layer on top, and pour the icing all over the top of the cake.
Ohhhhh my goodness!
Use an offset spatula to spread the icing evenly over the top and down the sides of the cake. Don’t worry about it being perfect. This cake isn’t going to last long enough for people to be concerned about visual perfection.
Now for the final touch. Chop up about 1/3 cup of pecans, and toss them in a dry skillet. Heat them over medium heat, stirring continually until they are fragrant and their color deepens. Remove them from the skillet and let them cool in a dish. Then sprinkle them over the top of the cake. You don’t have to toast them if you don’t want to, but it only takes a couple minutes, and really enhances the flavor.
Up next on my Cooking 50 States tour is Delaware!
What say you? What food comes to mind when you think of “The First State”?