Wednesday, December 1, 2010

OMG a Recipe: Let Them Eat Spice Cake (with Bacon and Goat Cheese)

Admit it. You look in the spice aisles with a glazed-over stare and think, What do I do with Grains of Paradise..? Or you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum -- you’ve run through the gamut of familiar spices and are craving something more. You are a Spice Daredevil, a cook born without fear, craving new, delicious challenges and superhero status. In either case, there’s an impressive online resource to make navigating the spice world easier and conveniently – meet Call them a flavor emporium… a Spicecapade… the go-to if one is ever in need of 50 pounds of adobo seasoning. You want it, they got it, and they helped inspire the Prime to create a new tasty nibble.

Bacon and spice cake - these will amuse your bouche and Rock your Amadeus - Photo by Wasabi Prime

It’s a bit astonishing to look through’s offerings. Picture Keanu Reeves’ Neo from The Matrix, with his monosyllabic utterance of awe: “...Whoa.” Berbere Spice. Epazote. More masala than you can shake a stick at. There are literally hundreds of different spices available. Plus you can pick a free sample with every order and they add in a little extra sample of whatever is in season or something special for that month. My tastebuds were doing a happy dance. I like that there are options for whole spices like cardamom pods, as well as a library of spice mixes that read like a world traveler’s passport. I wanted to go wild, but for my dish, I decided to go with a combination of unique and familiar.

The Prime was given the opportunity to play around with a spice-themed recipe, more specifically, to participate with foodie site Kitchen Play, who is literally celebrating the spice of life by sampling the encyclopedic offerings from Selected food bloggers are tasked to come up with a unique menu for their monthly Progressive Party, which is a bit like a virtual dinner party, and I was asked to bring an appetizer.

I wanted to create a little nibble with big flavor. I also wanted elements of sweet and savory, so I used’s Pumpkin Pie Spice blend to help bridge the gap with its full-bodied mix of fragrant spices. Their blend is a familiar blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves that enhance the mild sweetness of pumpkin, but it can be used in other things, like cookies and breads, or even a dry rub on a pork tenderloin. That’s the great thing about spices in general – it’s less about sweet versus savory and more about interpreting the fragrant undertones of each spice.

For my amuse-bouche, I adapted a spice cake recipe I’ve used for -- funny enough -- a whoopee pie,
and balanced its spiced cake sweetness with the creamy richness of goat cheese blended with ground
cardamom. Then I topped it with a savory/sweet hunk of maple-glazed bacon.

Did Somebody Say CONTEST? Feel inspired to make one of these spicy lil’ gems? KitchenPlay is holding a contest for anyone wanting to cook this recipe or any of the others on this month’s Progressive Party menu. The winner will receive $100, so head over to KitchenPlay for the full details, how to enter, and a look at the other recipes to recreate. You can have a total of 6 entries, trying any of the courses in the December menu, and the contest goes through December 31, 2010. So get cooking and get inspired because, as they say in the Dune books, “The spice must flow!”

Spiced Cake Bites Topped with Cardamom Goat Cheese and Maple Bacon
(makes 24 to 36 bites, depending on how large you cut them)

Spice cake recipe
3 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tblsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1.5 c brown sugar, lightly packed
1 c vegetable oil
1 c plain yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Mix the sugar, oil, vanilla and yogurt together until blended and then slowly add each egg until fully incorporated. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients, a third at a time, mixing until incorporated for each third. Do not over mix. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter.

Lightly grease and flour a rectangular cake pan or casserole dish and pour in batter. Make sure there are no air bubbles and surface is smooth. Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fully baked, where sticking a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out dry.

When the cake is done, cool and carefully unmold. Let it fully cool before cutting into small bite-sized pieces. You can use special cutters for decorative shapes or make simple squares. You can make the cake bites a day ahead and keep in an airtight container until serving.

1 cup of goat cheese, softened
2 tsp of ground cardamom
6 to 10 slices of thick-cut bacon
2 tblsp of maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the bacon on the sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bacon begins to brown. Remove the pan and brush the slices with the maple syrup. Return the pan of bacon to the oven for another 5 to 6 minutes until the bacon is crisp and fully baked.

Let the bacon cool before breaking into small pieces. While it’s cooling, fold the ground cardamom into the softened goat cheese until fully combined. To construct each bite, you can roll the spiced goat cheese into little balls before placing on each cake bite, and then finish with a small bit of bacon.

The Fine Print: the contest is sponsored, but don't be hatin' because the dishes are all really yummy

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  1. I love this idea. And my thanks for sharing, very cool website. Everytime I read your blog I want to hug you and feed you bacon

  2. We love these amazing Spice Cakes you created using ingredients from our site! Thank you!

  3. I've never done a savory spice cake but it sounds delicious - what a great idea!

  4. I would love to show up at a holiday party and have those served to me. So pretty!

  5. Flavor of the cake is good, but the recipe really needs to give diminsions for the baking pan, or, at least, instructions on the depth of the batter when poured into the pan (I'm guessing 1/2" would be about right). This thing puffed up twice its size and wouldn't cook evenly in my 8"x11" glass casserole dish.

    (I didn't try it with the topping since it was such a mess)

  6. Spice cake is my favorite and goat cheese and bacon so i'm going to be making this! I'm of the spice newbie species BUT I'm not afraid of trying. sounds like the place for me to start my experimenting

  7. Denise,

    These spiced cakes are inspired! I just love the flavors you've combined, and your photo of the finished dish is gorgeous. Just looking at it puts me in the mood to have a holiday party. You really ran with the products to create a memorable dish!

    Thank you!



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