With its intricately detailed pattern of snowflakes, this simple holiday dessert is just right for serving at gatherings of family and friends. The brandy-butter glaze adds a festive finish.
Recipe courtesy of Williams-Sonoma
- For the cake:
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- For the glaze:
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 to 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
- 2 Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325ºF. Grease and flour a 10-cup snowflake cake pan.
- 3 To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- 4 In a small bowl, combine the milk, cognac and vanilla and stir to combine. Set aside.
- 5 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes; stop the mixer occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition just until incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and, using a rubber spatula, spread the batter so the sides are slightly higher than the center.
- 6 Bake until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then tap the pan gently on a work surface to loosen the cake. Set the rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan.
- 7 To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brandy and sugar. Cook, stirring, until the butter has melted and most of the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely before serving.