The original recipe for this cake comes from Country Living, and it's one I clipped from their magazine over a dozen years ago. It's also one of my favorite cakes and one that I make every fall (at least once). The cake is made with just the right amount of warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves without being too intense while the cream cheese frosting studded with fresh orange zest adds a really wonderful citrus flavor to every bite. Make it this fall and share it with some of your most favorite people.
Cooking spray, for greasing
For the cake
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
For the frosting
2 8-ounces packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Zest and juice from 1 medium orange
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat bottom and sides of 2 9-inch round cakes pans with cooking spray. Cover bottom of each with parchment paper, and coat top of each piece of parchment. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, allspice and cloves. Set aside.
3. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugars on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. Add vanilla and mix until everything is combined.
4. Reduce mixture speed to low and add 1/3 of dry ingredients, followed by 1/2 of buttermilk. Add another 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by remaining buttermilk. Add final 1/3 flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Smooth out tops of each. Rap once on counter to release air bubbles and bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in middle of each comes out clean. (Start checking after 25 minutes). Allow to cool completely in pans, then remove parchment paper.
5. Make frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, orange zest and juice until well combined. Slowly add in confectioners' sugar, in small amounts, until just combined and creamy. Set aside (or chill unit ready to use).
6. Assemble cake. Place on cake on a serving plate (or pedestal), top side down. Spread an even layer of frosting over top. Place second cake on top, top side up. Spread another even layer of frosting over top. Continue with remaining frosting, frosting entire top and sides of cake. Chill until ready to serve.
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