Friday, October 12, 2007

A Pumpkin Cake for a birthday

Yesterday was the birthday of one of my DH's friends, Wayne. The "boys" came to our house for Bible study, so DH had asked me to make something special for Wayne. Not a coffee cake, like usual, since they meet at 7:00 am every Thursday. He wanted something that would stand in for a traditional birthday cake.

It just so happened that I used a gift certificate I had from Williams-Sonoma a week or so ago and ordered a pumpkin cake mold. It's just so darned CUTE! The mold comes with a recipe. Good thing, since I wasn't sure what volume of cake would fill the mold to the correct height.

If you haven't already noticed, I don't go in for the frou-frou desserts. I rarely make a layer cake or frosting, etc. 9x13 pans are usually just fine for me. I'm more into the taste rather than the appearance. Some bakers prefer the latter. Go for it, I say. So it's a bit unusual for me to do something like this cake mold. But it wasn't all that hard. The cake recipe was wonderful, I must say. Lots of fragrant fall spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, etc. And very moist, which I like. The standout in this recipe is the crystallized ginger. I'm a fan of ginger, period. But chrystallized just adds a wonderful zing to baked goods. There was a chunk of it left on the cake plate this morning. It went immediately into my mouth. Yum.

Certainly this mold will be a seasonal item for William-Sonoma, so if you're interested you might want to check it out soon. It's only available for internet ordering here. $32.00 plus shipping, of course. Here's what the mold looks like (right). It's hard metal, in case you thought it was silicone.

Once the cakes are baked, they sit in the molds for 15 minutes, then you remove them to cool for awhile. Here's a photo of the two halves. What's interesting is you slice off the tops (because they're rounded) so the two halves both have a flat side. Then you flop them together and voila, you have a standing pumpkin. I made a frosting (cream cheese type) and mounded it on the top half, and put some in the middle (between the two halves) also to hold the two halves together.

Pumpkin Cake

Recipe: (Willliams-Sonoma)
Servings: 14
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg -- freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar -- packed
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
2/3 cup walnuts -- toasted, chopped
1/2 cup crystallized ginger -- diced
8 ounces cream cheese -- room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree -- (optional)
Food coloring, if desired
1. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
2. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325. Generously grease and flour the Williams-Sonoma pumpkin pan (or two bread pans). Tap out any excess flour.
3. Over a sheet of waxed paper sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer 2-3 times to scrape down the sides. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the walnuts and candied ginger until incorporated.
6. Divide the batter between the wells of the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of one cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (If using bread pans, test the pans at about 45-50 minutes.) Transfer the pan(s) to a wire rack and let the cake halves cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.
7. Gently tap the pan on a work surface to loosen the cake halves. Invert the pans onto a wire rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake halves cool completely before decorating.
8. Frosting: in the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Add the butter and beat until combined, 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Divide the frosting into two bowls and add the pumpkin puree to one of them.
9. Using a sharp, serrated bread knife, gently slice off the rounded tops (about 1/4 inch) of each cake half, so you have a completely flat side. Spread the pumpkin frosting on one half and gently place the top on the bottom cake, lining up the ribs as best you can. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Frost the top of the pumpkin with the cream cheese frosting (or use it with food coloring to make fancy cut-outs. pumpkin faces or leaves and tendrils). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 510 Calories; 26g Fat (44.2% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 66g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 105mg Cholesterol; 386mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 4 1/2 Fat; 3 Other Carbohydrates. To view a PDF Recipe, click title at top.


Anonymous said...

That looks really yummy! Can we make it at Thanksgiving, and maybe use a little food coloring to make the frosting (cream cheese, of course) orange. Love you mom!

Lin said...

I just bought the pumpkin pan on sale through the Williams-Sonoma web site. Thanks so much for posting the recipe! I can't wait to play. Also, thank you for the picture of what the cake looks like when it's cut. I was wondering if it would tip over.