Well, autumn is just around the corner. The one thing that ushers in autumn more than anything else is pumpkin. You know what I’m talking about. Pumpkin spice explosion, everywhere. Lattes, cookies, muffins, donuts, you name it, there is probably a pumpkin or pumpkin spice version.
I am also a fan of pumpkin, and pumpkin spice. This cake, as soon as I saw it, I was excited. This is a pumpkin recipe that really showcases the pumpkin, and tempers down the spice a little bit. There is only spices in the frosting, so the cake really lets the pumpkin shine. I found the original recipe for this cake here, and she has developed several original cake recipes. While I am confident in my own baking skills, I am not confident enough to create my own cake recipe… yet.
Back to the cake. Fall is one of my favourite seasons, half because I was born in September. This seemed like one of the perfect recipes to welcome in the autumn season. I also used a couple of the cake baking tricks I have been raving about.
Firstly, I wrapped each cake pan in one of my homemade “Bake Even” strips. These are just strips of old towels that I have cut to fit around my cake pans. Run them under cold water, then squeeze out most of the water, so that they are damp, but not wet. Use safety pins to secure the towel strips around the cake pans. These help the cakes bake up level.
Secondly, I used my miracle cake release. I’ve talked about this before. It’s just equal parts of flour, shortening, and vegetable oil, so it really doesn’t go bad. I made the recipe I have with half a cup of each, whisked together so there is no lumps. Whenever you bake a cake, just brush on the pans with a pastry brush, and that counts as greasing and flouring your pans. The cakes just slide out of the pan once they are finished. So simple. Trust me, this cake release works.
Yield: 1 9-inch three-layer cake
For the cake:
3 c. flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 c. milk
For the frosting:
12 oz. (1½ packages) cream cheese
¾ c. butter, softened
3 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
6 c. icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease 3 9 inch pans and set aside. If using bake-even strips, attach them before greasing the pans.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla, pumpkin, and oil and mix until smooth. Mix in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, until batter is smooth.
Divide batter equally between three pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool on racks for 5 minutes, then transfer to the freezer for 45 minutes. (This is to help keep the cakes moist by stopping the residual baking from the heat of the pans.)
While the cakes are in the freezer, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and evenly combined. Add in maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon, and combine with cream cheese mixture. Add in the icing sugar, 1 or 2 cups at a time, beating on low until it is all incorporated, then on high to make sure the frosting gets light and fluffy.
To build the cake, place one cake layer on a platter or cake stand. Top with a thick layer of icing. Cover with the second cake layer, another thick layer of icing, and place the last cake layer on top. Coat the cake in a thin crumb coat (this step is optional), and freeze for 10 minutes to set. Generously apply the rest of the frosting to the top and sides of the cake, adding decorations as desired.
Keep in the refrigerator until ready to slice and serve.