I'm a regular Nancy Drew. It all started out so innocently, a mother and a daughter baking and bonding. The spice cake itself was very "rustic" due to my increasingly fajangled oven, which burns the edges and doesn't cook the middle. We made a nice argument out of how much of the burnt edges to trim off, and the cake turned out a little lopsided, only accentuated by the drippy frosting which wouldn't stick to the cake. Never fear though, a nice coating of walnuts cleared all that right up. Below I provide a tried and true recipe for cream cheese frosting because I didn't really like the one that I used for this cake. Regardless of its "rustic" appearance, the cake turned out to be delicious...very moist.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Cut 2 (9-inch) parchment paper rounds and line the pan bottoms. Grease and flour the parchment rounds.
In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter. With the mixer running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well. With the electric mixer, in another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the cake batter. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake until the center springs back when touched, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. After the cakes have cooled, invert them onto sheets of parchment paper. Slice the top off one cake evenly, and set aside.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter. Beat in confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. (Optional step - you can stir in the walnuts now, or frost the cake first, then sprinkle walnuts on top and sides of cake).
Spread a layer of the frosting over the bottom layer of the cake (the one that you evened off). Place the other layer of the cake on top. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Slice the cake into individual servings.