09 November 2011

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Wow. Brown butter takes frosting to a new level! It gives a caramel-y punch that really means less icing for a LOT of flavor impact. Paired with pumpkin . . . you gotta do this!

The brown butter frosting is taken directly from Martha Stewart's website (find it here). I think I just added more powdered sugar to make it a little stiffer. I also used whipping cream (because I had it on hand) which made the frosting fluffier than it would have been with just milk.

The pumpkin cake recipe I found on allrecipes.com. I did scale it down to 11 servings instead of 14 for the two nine-inch rounds you see in the picture. For the sake of ease, I'll link to the recipe and also write out the measurements I used below:

Pumpkin Cake

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. applesauce (or another 1/2 c. vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. pumpkin (I used a mix of pumpkin and butternut squash)
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each of ground ginger, cloves, and nutmeg

Instructions: Beat sugar, oil, and applesauce together. Blend in cooked pumpkin (I never pureed mine, just scooped it out of the shell and dumped it into the batter!), vanilla, and eggs. Sift the remaining ingredients into the bowl and stir until smooth. Bake in two nine-inch greased and floured cake pans for 30 minutes at 350F (you'll have to adjust the baking time if you use a 9 X 13, bundt, or do cupcakes). And don't forget a light frosting of that brown butter icing!

Cran-Cayenne Jam

After an early snow and frost, I had to salvage what hot peppers I could quickly. Their texture was no longer good for canning as rings in sauce, so I came up with this sweet, tart, spicy jam instead. YUM! And the color is absolutely stunning. Now it sits in the fridge, just waiting to be processed in cute little jars (for Christmas presents?) . . .

Cran-Cayenne Jam

2 pkg. fresh, whole cranberries (24 oz.)--sorted and washed
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. vinegar
3 c. (1/2 lb.) fresh, whole cayenne peppers
3 c. sugar
1 pkg. (1.75 oz.) powdered pectin
water (as desired to achieve the consistency you like)

In a food processor, chop (or grind as fine as you like--I personally like a little texture to my jam) the cranberries and peppers. Combine in a large stock pot with the remaining ingredients and cook until the mixture thickens to the consistency you like (it will cook another 15 minutes later if you process it by boiling water method). Taste and correct sugar/lemon juice/water according to your taste. That's it! Not sure of the yield as I've used a good bit already and haven't canned the remainder yet.

Cook's Word: This is spicy!!! by itself, but less so on bread. In the picture above I served it with bread and cream cheese, placed under a broiler until slightly toasted before adding the jam. I briefly thought about adding some apples to the jam too for more sweetness without using more sugar, but I liked how peppery it was, so I let it be in the end.