Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Brown Butter Pumkin Layer Cake

My son came home from school today with a permission slip to visit the local pumpkin patch.  It was all too appropriate because today was the first day we have seen temperatures below 70 F.  And although I am somewhat sad to say goodbye to flip flops and long summer nights,  I must admit I am giddy about all the upcoming season brings! Autumn is far and away my favorite season!  I love the cooler climate and the glorious colors abound!  I get excited about the bounty of delicious foods that only make their appearances during this time of year.  I relish every moment and every meal, knowing that soon enough the leaves will fall and the beautiful colors once surrounding us will soon turn gray and bleak.  Everything about the Autumn season seems to nurture our spirits.  It is about time spent with friends and family at football games, pumpkin patches, and holidays dedicated solely to consuming foods; hence, Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Both of these holidays put Fall's mascot, the pumpkin, front and center.  Most often, the traditional pumpkin pie is the staple desert for any Autumn gathering.  I disdain pumpkin pie.  It is not because I dislike pumpkins or that I am un-american; rather it is the wholly bizarre texture that is pumpkin pie filling.  This Fine Cooking Magazine recipe is my answer to the quintessential pumpkin dessert.  It is truly the most amazing cake you will ever eat.  Seriously, life changing.  Likely, because two of its key ingredients are cream cheese and brown butter.  Last year I made this recipe for Thanksgiving,  but this year I will be making it for Halloween as well, just so we can enjoy it twice!


For the cake
1- 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pans
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk

For the topping
1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2/3 cup pecans
1/2 cup unsalted, raw, hulled pepitas
2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. table salt
1-1/2 Tbs. chopped crystallized ginger

For the frosting
4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 oz. (1-1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans with removable bottoms (or butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter the parchment, and flour the pans).

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk 1-1/2 cups of the pumpkin purée with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until very well blended. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the pan bottoms or parchment, and cool completely.

Make the topping:
Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and pepitas and cook until the pecans brown slightly and the pepitas begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ginger. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool in the skillet.

Make the frosting: Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until the solids settle at the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the bowl to the freezer and chill until just firm, about 18 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter from bowl, leaving the browned solids at the bottom; discard the solids.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and the brown sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Assemble the cake:
Put one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread 1/2 cup of the frosting on the layer. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture over the frosting and top with the second layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Arrange the remaining nut mixture on top. 


1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog, Monica! My family loves pumpkin....we will definitely be making this cake! Keep posting yummy recipes, please!