Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Icing and Candied Pecans

When I found this cake, I was on a mission: I had about 1 cup of pumpkin puree left in the fridge and I needed to use it up. Most recipes call for a can of pumpkin, which is about 2 cups, and I didn’t really want to go to the store and buy some more. I went looking through my Pinterest links and on Tastespotting and Food Gawker and I came across this recipe. It was perfect. It called for 1 cup of pumpkin and I had all of the other ingredients on hand.

I think I have said this before that I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin, but I do like the spices that are usually paired with pumpkin. I not such a big fan of the soft texture either, but in a cake you don’t have that quite as much. I was interested in the browned butter icing and it had been a little while since I’d melted sugar to caramelize something. Ok, I probably shouldn’t have started this cake at 8:45 pm, but when you want to bake, you want to bake!

While this cake looks fancy in its final presentation, none of the steps are very hard. The cake mixes in one bowl and I got it ready and then had to wait for the oven to reach full temperature. Making the candied pecans was a bit tricky, or maybe I was tired. You do get little sugar strings on everything in your kitchen within a three-foot radius, so that’s a bit annoying. Once the pecans cool a bit you can break off all of the extra stringy bits. The browned butter is interesting; it’s a fine line between browned and burnt butter, but I think I was ok. The frosting had an interesting, nutty flavor. Altogether, this cake mixes many interesting flavors and looks impressive for a modest amount of work.

Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Icing and Candied Pecans

1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup warm milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup sugar
10 well-shaped, large pecan halves

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and coat pan with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until combined. Add pumpkin puree and milk; beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture; beat on low speed until just combined. The mixture may look a bit curdled, it’s ok.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool. Let cake rest 20 minutes.

In a small skillet, melt sugar over medium-high heat until medium golden, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Working quickly, drop the pecan halves, a few at a time, into the melted sugar. Using a fork, turn nuts until they are evenly coated. Transfer the candied nuts to a wire rack to cool completely. (If the sugar hardens, return skillet to low heat, and stir several minutes)

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color. Remove pan from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.

Add sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk; stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add the remaining tablespoon milk, a little at a time, until consistency is spreadable. Let cool 5 minutes.

Unmold and cake and place on a serving dish. Spread icing over top of cake and decorate with candied pecan halves.

Recipe from Bread and Roses


Carrie B said...

Looks amazing! All my favorite flavors!

Anonymous said...

Those pecans looks beautiful!