We’ve learned to love the flavor of early spring spruce tips, the bright green new buds that surround us everywhere. We pick them young and tender and preserve them for other times of the year. We make powders, oils, put spruce tips in cookies, savory dishes, and, as you see here, in cakes in the form of spruce sugar.
For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup Spruce Sugar
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk, whip the butter until it is lightened in color and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing until incorporated. Scrape down the sides.
Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture being careful not to overmix.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and place into the oven.
Bake at 350°F. for about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and turn out onto a cutting board and frost.
Buttermilk Cake Frosting
For the frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups spruce sugar
Combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or you may use an electric mixer) and beat until creamy, well-combined, and lump-free. Add in the vanilla extract and salt and stir well to combine. Rain in the sugar until it’s all incorporated and creamy.
Frost the cake and garnish with sugared spruce tips
Makes one 9–by-13-inch cake.