Sunday, 15 January 2012
Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
I made this cake twice for Christmas gatherings a week apart. I'll let the reviews I got do the talking ;)
"I dare say your pumpkin cake is currently my most favourite thing in the world.
The sweetness of the caramel frosting perfectly counterbalances the pumpkin moistness and density of the cake with a little bitter chaser" (She should be a food writer right?!)
"I thought Hummingbird was good but ... this cake, oh my God"
"Possibly the best cake I've tasted of yours so far"
"Had a slice, smuggled out and carried across state lines. One word; sublime"
"Someone just screamed OH MY GOD. Can you get me her details?"
I'm not touting my own horn; it's the cake!
This incredible recipe (changed very slightly) is from Food & Wine.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
170g unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons double cream
455g cream cheese, cut into small cubes
2 cups plain flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 425g can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup whole milk
For the frosting
1 - In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and seeds. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan.
2 - Cook over a medium-high heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 15 minutes (Don't worry if it takes longer). Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and double cream. (Don't worry if the butter separates). Discard the vanilla bean.
3 - Transfer the caramel to the large bowl and using a mixer, beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly and comes together, about 5 minutes.
4 - With the mixer, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions (until the cube you've just added has completely disappeared into the mixture), until silky. It should be cool by the time you've incorporated all the cream cheese. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours.
For the cake
5 - Preheat the oven to 180C / Gas mark 4 / 350F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. (Note: I made 1 1/2 half times the recipe to make a triple layer cake).
6 - In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
7 - In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches, beating well between additions.
8 - Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 20 - 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
9 - Let the cakes cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
10 - Place one layer on a plate and spread with 1 cup of the caramel cream cheese frosting. Top with the second layer and frost the top and side.
Make ahead: The cake can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Notes: The cake can be garnished with candied nuts
Thank to Philippa Brady for the lovely Christmassy photos!