Call me crazy, but I am over this summer heat nonsense. I need to know cool breezes and fall spices are on their way. I need a light, fluffy cinnamon-kissed cake that perfectly compliments warm coffee and the smell of the kids’ back-to-school supplies. I need a hot milk cake.
It has been record-setting hot and dry in Seattle for the last several weeks. So hot the trees are droopy and the grass is tan and crunchy. The air quality is diminished due to wildfires in British Columbia that throw a hazy blanket over everything. But I am over the heat. This 99 degrees nonsense with no air conditioning has me cussing under my breath and watching the coconut oil melt in it’s own jar.
Turn on the heater please, I’d rather die by choice.
A few days ago I hid in the basement to cool off for awhile. I began looking over the almost-empty moving boxes and pictures leaning against the wall where they will eventually hang. After stumbling over neglected toys on my way upstairs to the bare living room, I began thinking about how we really need to organize and unpack this stuff from the move.
But not today, said my brain, I’m going to the kitchen to bake. And just like that I wound up in the kitchen.
My thought was that I’d try the ‘ol trick similar to drinking hot tea on a hot day which cools your body temperature. By that logic, baking on a hot day could make the rest of the house seem cooler, right?
Well I won’t wait to tell you, I was dead wrong about that. The Connoisseur (my vintage oven) made the kitchen so hot I thought my eyeballs would melt into puddles on the floor and short the refrigerator.
BUT in the end the cake was delicious, and made with only a handful of basic ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right this very minute. First, you will scald some milk on the stove top with butter and vanilla. Then, beat some eggs and sugar until they’re ribbony and a gorgeous shade of yellow. Drizzle the scalded milk into the egg/sugar mixture and beat again, add some flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon, then bake.
Note that while you’re putting the batter together, it will be thin and you will wonder if this will even turn into a cake. This is normal, and yes it will.
It will even turn from a milky shade of white into a gorgeous shade of caramel. It has a light aroma of fall spice and a tender crumb that will make you forget it’s 98 degrees and smoggy outside.
I prefer to bake this cake in a bundt pan (10 or 12 cup), but I have also made it in a 9×13 and it does well, just watch it closely because it will not need as much time in the oven.
The hot milk cake lasts for a few days, tastes every bit as fresh, and is a great all-purpose snack cake to have around. It fills the sugar void but is not rich or decadent, although it could be if you top it with icing or drizzle with dulce de leche. We prefer it best plain out of the oven, with coffee, for breakfast. Maybe with a bit of powdered sugar dusted on top.
I do feel obligated to advise you not to make this on a barn burner day, especially if you have no AC in the house. So maybe save this one for a regular day. But if you do, hats off. Fingers crossed your eyeballs don’t melt.
- 1/2 c unsalted butter
- 1 c milk (whole or 2%)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 c granulated sugar
- 2 c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325F. Spray a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan with nonstick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the milk and vanilla and heat until milk is scalded, but not boiling. You will see small bubbles on the outer edges of the pan. Turn the heat off.
In a large bowl, add sugar and eggs. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat on high for 5 minutes until the batter is light yellow, ribbony, and tripled in volume.
Slowly add the scalded milk to bowl until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended. The batter will be thin.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 60-65 min until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cook in the pan for 15 min, then turn out onto cooling rack.