I HAVE to share this cake with you and then you HAVE to make sure you have everything and make it right away. Ok, go trick-or-treating first, but you’ll for sure want to make this cake soon! I love it. And guess what—you know I really love something when I just made it last night and am hurrying to get this post off to share it with you all. And you also know I really love something when I actually follow a recipe exactly! I must say, it sure is easier to share a recipe with you when I didn’t make so many changes!
This pumpkin cake is SO good. It’s moist, (especially if you eat it still-warm, we had company over and it hadn’t even finished cooling all the way_. Only problem with that is it’s hard to cut nice pieces when it’s still warm. You also know something was really good when I didn’t even remember to get pictures of the whole cake and was lucky enough to snap these few I’m sharing with you.
The star of this cake is the browned butter pecan streusel! I would have thought it wouldn’t make much of a difference, but the browned butter gives this that little bit more of a kick that is just so delicious. I had the pleasure of being served this cake back in Kansas when we attended one of my favorite chef’s classes, Paige, at A Cooking Life. (You’ll learn so much from her blog.) When Paige shared this cake, it was in one of her classes that we (Kevin and I) went to that was called Dinner With Class. Five star, three course meal, prepared in front of you (with instruction and conversation) by Paige, then served in a date-like setting with just a few other couples also taking the class. Loved those dinner classes! I loved this cake when Paige made it and FINALLY more than a year later got my act together and made it again. It was just as good as I remember it (although her nice serving always looks better than what I can do). The cake is simply served with a dollop of whipped cream (or you could also serve vanilla ice cream). That said, I think it is just as good as a snack like a coffee cake. Most of the boys and even the company really liked it, too. Winner!
Here is Paige’s recipe as written by her with no adaptations from me. I have a great big three-ringer binder full of all the recipes I got from taking Paige’s classes and I make many of them often and try new ones I haven’t made yet as well! Check out her blog for more deliciousness and GREAT instruction (link above for A Cooking Life).
Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter & Pecan Streusel, by Paige Vandegrift
½ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned (*see instructions below), then cooled
½ cup pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle the butter over and stir with a fork until the ingredients are combined and have formed clumps. Stir in the pecans and chill until ready to use.
2 cups cake flour (256 grams)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup solid pack pumpkin (or use freshly roasted and pureed pumpkin or winter squash--**see below)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar (220 grams)
½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
2 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch round (or 9-inch square) cake pan, line with a round of parchment paper, butter the paper, then flour the pan. Set aside.
Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk and vanilla. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides. This will take 2-3 minutes at medium-high speed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Increase the speed to medium-high and briefly beat until the mixture lightens in color and expands in volume. By hand, fold in half of the dry ingredients, followed by all the liquid ingredients, followed by the remaining dry ingredients.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the cake. (Always start putting the streusel around the edges so the middle isn’t weighed down.) Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake by running a thin knife around the edges of the pan. Turn the cake out of the pan. Cool the cake, streusel side up, on a wire rack.
Serve the cake with whipped cream or ice cream.
*To “brown” butter, place the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. As the butter begins to sputter and pop, whisk occasionally. The butter solids will begin to turn brown. When the solids are a deep golden brown and the butter has a pleasantly nutty aroma, transfer the butter to another container to stop the cooking process.
**Roasted pumpkin puree: Use a sugar pumpkin. Choose one that feels heavy for its size. Cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a greased rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven until very tender (pumpkin may begin to collapse)—about 1 hour, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Remove from the oven and turn the halves over so the flesh is exposed. Allow the pumpkin to cool. Puree the flesh in a food processor or pass through a food mill fitted with the fine disc. Dry the puree further by spreading in a shallow pan and baking at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the desired consistency is reached—it will darken a little and will no longer “bleed” water. A medium-sized pumpkin (2 ½ to 2 ½ lbs.) will produce 10 to 12 ounces, or about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups of puree.
I made the cake in a 9-inch square pan since I don’t have a 10 inch round pan (same volume)—either way—it’s so good. You need to make this cake—it’s the perfect time of year!