I told you I went to Vermont recently. While I was there I went antiquing. I came back with (you guessed it!) more vintage cookware. It’s an addiction.
But who could resist a square pan with a tube in the middle? I didn’t have one (who on earth does?), and I paid three dollars for it. So I brought it home, and then I had to take it for a test drive.
I went searching through the cookbook collection and pulled out Heirloom Baking, by the delightful Brass Sisters, and found a wonderful recipe called Reverend Brown’s Cake, which the sisters found on an old index card. They thought it was a late nineteenth century recipe, so it’s just the right period for my new old pan. I hope they don’t mind my borrowing it, but since they too collect vintage cookware, I’m sure they’ll understand.
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9” pan. Fit a parchment paper liner to the bottom, then grease and flour that too. Tap the pan (over the sink!) to remove extra flour.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
Cream the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each one thoroughly.
Add the sifted ingredients alternately with the buttermilk and beat to combine after each addition.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until the edges of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester comes out clean. After a few minutes, remove the cake from the pan (don’t forget to remove the paper too!) and let cool on a rack.
Topping (or you could call this butterscotch sauce):
1/4 cup water
1 Tblsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Dip a brush in water and wash down the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium high. Do Not Stir! Continue boiling until the mixture turns golden brown (not too dark), which should take about 6-8 minutes.
|When it's ready|
|When you start|
Remove the pan from the heat and swirl gently, twice. Add the butter and stir slowly until it melts. Add the cream (the liquid may foam up for a moment) and stir again. (If you end up with a glob of goo in the middle, set the pan over medium heat and keep stirring until it all smooths out.) Add the salt.
While still warm, pour the sauce over the cooled cake and smooth the top and sides.
You can store the sauce in glass containers in the refrigerator if you happen to have any left over (stop laughing! Yes, there is some, but I have a spoon.).
By the way, while I was antiquing I found a small friend for one of my favorite pans, a vintage melon mold. I don’t know what the tiny version was supposed to be used for, but it was too cute to pass up.
Coming in October. With recipes! (Think there will be one with apples?)