Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let Them Eat [Pumpkin] Cake!

I want someday to be able to have the forethought to make a cheesecake.  This requires two days worth of work... and planning ahead is something I struggle with.  

Story. Of. My. Life.

So while a gingersnap, spiced mango, or pumpkin cheesecake would be uber appropriate for oh... I don't know, Thanksgiving, I decided to ignore the little voice inside my head that said "get your ingredients together now, you lazy son of a-".  (She's rude.  So rude).

Sometimes I just have to shut her up and make something else.  Like cake.

Oh man...  cake.  Do you love cake?  I love cake.  LET THEM EAT CAKE and forget about the cheesecake.

Since I don't have time to bake, cool, and wait to eat delicious things after 24 hours have gone by (see: torture), I prefer to get my sweet tooth taken care of by way of cake.  Pumpkin cake with whipped cream frosting and pralined pecans.  Let's just take a moment to really think about what that all means.  

Moment's over.  IT'S AMAZING.

Side note:  If you're one of the three people left on this planet that I haven't told, know that I am getting a tattoo in three days time.  It's of a whisk.  Whisks are my favorite kitchen tool because they are graceful, create something magical out of something ordinary, and are the most used item in my home.  Aside from my toothbrush.  

Pictures will be posted once it heals.  No one likes that red, puffy tattoo picture.  No one.

So as not to insult your intelligence on making cake (you've got a good head on your shoulders and I can tell you know a little bit about mixing dry ingredients and wet ingredients together), I will say just two things:

1. Pumpkin and orange go together like Brad and Angelina.  At first you're repulsed by the notion, then you decide to give it a try with a skeptical look about your eye, and finally... you couldn't imagine life before it.

and 2. No one ever said that frosting had to include copious amounts of powdered sugar.  And if someone did, I'd like to meet them, sit them down, and introduce them to whipped cream mixed with brown sugar and vanilla.  They'll shut up soon enough and ask for another slice of this cake.

Pumpkin Cake with Whipped Cream and Pecan Praline
From Rachael Ray... we should be bff's for real

3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups whole pecans
2 1/2 cups flour (I used gluten-free because I was impressing a future in-law who is off the wheat train)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk
grated zest of 1 orange
15 oz can of pure pumpkin puree
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Butter then line with parchment paper the bottoms of two 8"x2" (or 9"x1/2") round cake pans, then butter over top of the liners.  Flour the pans and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, melt 2 cups of the granulated over medium-high heat until light amber, about 7 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, add the pecans, and quickly sir to coat.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer using a metal spatula.  Allow to cool completely.  Place into a large sturdy plastic ziploc back and crush into pieces with a rolling pin.  Set aside.

** preheat oven to 350 degrees**

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  In an electric mixer, beat together the butter, 1/2 the brown sugar, and the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar until fluffy (approx. 3 minutes).  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until fully incorporated after each addition.  Beat in the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk an orange zest, ending with the flour mixture.  Mix on low until just combined and smooth.  Add the pumpkin puree and mix on low again until just combined.  Do not over mix.

4. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans.  Bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes (or 35 minutes if using the 9" pans), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans for ten minutes, then invert on to wire racks and peel off the parchment paper.  Finish cooling completely.  Meanwhile, make the whipped topping.

5. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whipped the heavy cream until soft peaks form using the medium speed.  Add the remaining 1 cup of brown sugar and the vanilla, and whip on medium-high until thick and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use.

6. To assemble the cake, use a long serrated knife to horizontally cut the two cakes in half (creating 4 layers).  Place the first layer on your cake stand/plate.  Spread the whipped topping to where it's 1/4 inch thick.  Cover with a coating of the pecan praline.  Repeat with each additional layer until you get to the top layer.  Cover the entire cake with the rest of the whipped topping, and then sprinkle the rest of the pecan praline over the top.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

** after cooling, cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 day ahead of time**


  1. I LOVE this post (notwithstanding your creeptastic spot-on assessment of my feelings for Brad & Angelina)!!! Not only is this an awesome-sounding cake but I adore your wit, humor and unique, artsy photos. I'll be back & you're going on my blogroll. =D ~Kristi

  2. Kristi, you just made my evening! Thank you for those lovely compliments, the add to your blog roll (you've been added to mine as well - congratulations on your 73-day anniversary!), and your readership-ness (word? yes). :0)

  3. This cake looks so delicious! I have to admit, I'm usually a buttercream type of gal and will turn my nose up at whipped cream frosting, but adding brown sugar to it actually sounds yummy. Your post made me giggle with its wit and tell-it-like-it is attitude!

  4. Courtney, I wasn't really much for it either. BUT. The brown sugar was the ticket. For sure. Usually I just reserve my whipped cream for pies, hot chocolate, and my finger.