Of all places for baking inspiration to hit, did you expect it to be Starbucks, yep neither did I. For reasons I will not go into a couple of weeks ago I found myself in Starbucks, with my dear friend and fellow coffee snob Teresa. Neither of use are really Starbucks kind of girls. I would much prefer a plan cup of blue bottle or a latte from Ritual and when I am in a pinch and need a cup of joe and I only have chain options Peet's is my choice. Generally I do not do sweet in my coffee, I like to taste all the delightful earthiness, and the warm roasted flavor. Sometimes though I don't really want coffee I want drinkable dessert of sorts. When this is what I am craving, Starbucks always does the trick. Luckily Teresa did not judge me to much. Even there plain soy lattes taste sweet to me. Anyway I ordered a cinnamon dolce latte only to be left with the thought "wouldn't this make a delightful cake".
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I find myself in my kitchen baking just that. Armed with my trusty dusting and always growing collection of cookbooks I mapped out a game plan. This cake would combine three elements each taking on a distinct flavor of the Latte in question. Cinnamon spiced white cake, with a layer of caramel in the center and frosted with Latte flavored frosting would come together to create Amber's Cinnamon Dolce Latte Cake. In the end I added a little cinnamon to the frosting which turned out to be my favorite part of the cake. This frosting will go on other cakes, I think it would be absolutely wonderful on a chocolate cake.
Once I had my game plan I started with the cake. I used my very old Joy of Cooking (it was my grandmother's the 1964 addition) for the base of the cake recipe (white cake). This is the only part of the cake I was not completely pleased with and I think it is mostly due to not quite understanding my oven yet. It took much longer to
cook than the recipe called for and then turned out a little dry at the edges. Lets just say there was a lot of trimming involved with the final product. But the flavor was spot on.
While letting the cake cool I whipped up some caramel for the center. I used the recipe in the Tartine cookbook, because well I have NEVER made something from this cookbook, no matter how much I fucked up the recipe that did not turn out fantastic. It is full proof...I swear by it and am always tempted to pick it up as a gift for just about everyone, until I remind myself that most people I know do not have the insane desire to make there own croissants (why i have know idea but I am beginning to understand the crazy that is me and go with it). Of course I did not have cream in the house so I used milk. I am also not a gazillionare so no vanilla beans to be had around here. I was bold enough to say screw it and did without vanilla at all. Usually I am humbled enough to at least substitute for abstract, but I am also getting bold in my old age. The Caramel
While the caramel is cooling to the perfect spreading temp (not to wet not to solid), I trim my cake and prep it for the filling. Next time I do this (and there will be a next time) I will cut the cake into four layers and double the caramel recipe. Why you ask, well it is simple the caramel oozes down into the cake and makes it really quite...yummy. What I never claimed to be a wordsmith. When you have trimmed your cake and poured the caramel into the layers set it aside and start the frosting.
For the frosting I used a recipe from the Barefoot Countessa. I know there are many people out there in the foodie world that look down there noises at the Food-Network kind of cook, but her recipes are lovely, if not heavy on the butter and other yummy fats. These are recipes from a woman who clearly loves life and understands that food is essential to living well. A meal prepared with love is like nothing else, and she gets that. So I will not apologize for my use of this recipe as a base. Or anything else I use of hers. No she cooks the kind of food you remember from your childhood, she understand that a good grilled cheese and warm homemade soup on a cold winter night can be just as satisfying as the butter poached oysters on a bed tapioca served at the French Laundry, and we are like minded in this. P.S. Thomas Keller I LOVE YOU. There is something about her that reminds me of my mother and grandmother. Growing up we were just as likely to find my mother make Vichyssoise for dinner as we were burrito’s Antracoli family style, and we loved them both. Because my mom could cook, and so could her mother and it is a gift that keeps getting passed down. Hell my sister is a history professor in Central Penn trying to start a goat cheese business and I have know doubt that her goat cheese will be tops. So here is the frosting recipe adapted from the frosting recipe from the Barefoot Countessa At Home's coconut cake (the cream cheese and butter remain, everything else changes from the original). The Frosting
When the frosting is prepped and ready to go, just do it. Now from the pictures you can see that I will not be quitting my job to frost cakes professionally anytime soon. I am not ashamed of this in fact I embrace my ugly cake. Because, when finally serve yourself a piece it tastes good, damn good. I did not frost between the layers and after the initial frosting I put one final layer of caramel on top, then frosted over it using a pastry bag. Why do this you may ask. It is definitely a step you can leave out. What I like about this is that there is one layer of caramel that does not get absorbed into the cake and oozes out when you cut into it. Leaving a little pool of caramel on the bottom on ones plate, and Jason says you never have to apologize for pools of caramel and I tend to agree. So there it is Cinnamon Dolce Latte Cake, Starbucks eat your heart out, this takes the dessert cake.