Spice Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese and Pumpkin Buttercream

Happy Birthday to me!

If I want a birthday cake, I usually have to make it myself. I mean, I’m not too fussed about that, because then I make what I want. Last time I made myself a birthday cake, I think it was this Peanut Butter and Jelly cake, and I can’t even remember when that was!

I liked that Peanut Butter and Jelly cake, but I really wanted something that I have had my eye on for a while. Cue this delicious monster. I love spice cake. Cream cheese makes cakes and icing so much better. And, as I was born in September, I’m a pumpkin lover. (Don’t worry. I’m not that “basic” or “extra”. I hate the Pumpkin Spice Latte, as I HATE coffee.)

Either way, it seemed like the perfect cake for me to ring in another year. I love Paul to death, but he is a chef. He tells me every year, he can’t bake. And guys, I’ve seen it. I can vouch for that. He is man of few successful baking recipes. It’s one of the reasons we go so well together.

So, this cake. It’s a delicious, warm, fragrant spice cake. In the middle of those beautiful, fluffy layers is a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Finally, the whole thing is slathered in a buttercream bursting with pumpkin and spices. Amazing!

I wanted to go all out for my birthday cake, and trust me, this does not disappoint!

I had a pretty good day. Here’s a picture of some of my birthday shenanigans.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

For the cake:

2 c. brown sugar
½ c. butter, at room temperature
½ c. vegetable oil (I used canola)
5 eggs, separated by yolks and whites
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk

For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting:

1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
5-6 c. icing sugar (as needed)
2 tsp. cinnamon

For the pumpkin buttercream:

½ c. butter, at room temperature
½ c. shortening
½ c. pumpkin puree
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (per your own preference)
5-6 c. icing sugar (as needed)
1-2 tbsp. milk or cream

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush 2 9-inch cake pans with Miracle Cake Release (1:1:1 ratio of flour, oil, and shortening), or parchment paper, and fasten Bake Even strips (if you have them) around pans. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar and butter until will combined. Slowly add in the oil and vanilla, and mix again.

Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold gently into the batter.

Pour the batter into the two prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the centers of the cakes look set and don’t jiggle. Be careful, as these cakes can fall easily.

Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cinnamon cream cheese frosting, add the butter to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes, then add the cream cheese and and vanilla and beat again until well combined and fluffy.

Add in the icing sugar, a cup at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. (I only used about 4 cups of sugar.) Add the cinnamon, and beat again until evenly distributed throughout. Transfer to a smaller bowl and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.

To make the pumpkin buttercream, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream together the butter and shortening.

Add the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, and whip until combined. Add in the icing sugar, a cup at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. If it is too thick your preference, add in the milk or cream until you reach your desired consistency. If it is too thin, add more sugar.

To assemble the cake, cut cooled cakes in half with a serrated knife or cake leveler. Place 1 half of a cake on your cake stand or platter. Spread about ½ cup of the cream cheese frosting across the cake, leaving a small gap around the edges. Repeat with the rest of the cake layers, and most of the cream cheese frosting, but do not put any frosting on the top cake layer.

Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to firm up.

Once the cake is firmer, cover the top and sides of the cake with the pumpkin buttercream. It might be a pretty thick layer, but that’s okay. Spread the buttercream evenly with an offset spatula, and put in the fridge to set.

If you have any remaining cream cheese frosting, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe the frosting around the top of the cake, and around the bottom if you want.

Slice, and serve.

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Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is a classic British dish. It’s usually seen as a side dish served with a roast beef dinner.

Paul brought me home some braised beef and mashed potatoes from his job. He ate his when he got home, but I wanted to save it for lunch the next day. As I was contemplating this awesome meal, I had a really strong craving for Yorkshire puddings.

I have been contemplating making Yorkshire puddings for a long time. I found a Jamie Oliver video where he breaks down how to make proper Yorkshire puddings. After watching the video and keeping Jamie’s tips in mind, I found a Jamie Oliver inspired recipe.

These babies bake up in less than an hour, and are so good! I don’t have a popover or Yorkshire pudding pan, so I just used a muffin tin, and it still worked just fine.

They are also super easy to make, and only have four ingredients! If you have eggs, flour, milk, and salt, you can make these Yorkshire puddings!

Ingredients

Yield: 12 Yorkshire puddings

1 c. milk
3 eggs, at room temperature
4 oz. (approx. 1 c.) flour
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. In a 12-sectioned muffin tin, fill three of the muffin tins on the end with oil. Tip the muffin tin so that the oil flows into the rest of the sections. There should be about 1 centimeter of oil in each tin.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together until lightly frothy. Add in the salt and milk, and whisk again. Add the flour, and whisk again until there are no lumps, and the batter coats the back of a spoon.

Let the batter rest for 15 minutes. Put the oil-filled muffin tin on a baking sheet, and place in the preheated oven while the batter rests.

After resting the batter, take the muffin tin out of the oven, and very carefully pour the batter into the oil-filled cavities. Use a spoon to minimize spills between muffin tin cavities.

Once the muffin tin is full, place back into the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until dark golden brown and puffy.

Serve immediately.

Sourdough Focaccia

I love sourdough! There are so many things that you can do with it. I’ve made focaccia bread before on the blog, and loved it! It’s a really incredible bread with tons of olive oil in it, but a beautiful, crisp exterior.

You can top it with tons of different things. I’ve heard of peppers, olives, cheese, garlic, herbs, or just plain sea salt. That’s the great thing about focaccia. It’s completely customizable.

I originally found the recipe for this sourdough focaccia here. I didn’t change the base recipe, but I put my own spin on the toppings. I kept it simple with a little bit of olive oil, some sea salt, thyme, and a little sprinkle of parmesan.

We all know I’m a carb lover at heart, and this bread is no exception. It is absolutely phenomenal. I love how each time you make it, it can be different. You can change the toppings to match what you are craving, or making for dinner. It goes well on its own, as a side, and as a base for a kick-butt sandwich.

This is a bread that takes some time to make, but the payoff is so worth it.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 – 11×17 pan or 2 – 9×13 pans

For the sponge:

1½ c. sourdough starter
1 c. warm water
¼ c. olive oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 c. flour

For the dough:

½ c. olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
4 c. flour
Herbs, salt, olives, etc. for toppings.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, warm water, honey, olive oil, and flour. Leave in a warm spot to rise for 1-2 hours, until the surface is bubbly.

To continue making the dough, add the olive oil, salt, and flour (a cup at a time). Stir with a wooden spoon, until you get to the last cup of flour. For the last cup of flour, sprinkle it across your work surface. Turn out the dough onto the flour, and knead until the last cup of flour is incorporated. Dough should be smooth and supple, and slightly moist because of the oil.

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, and place the dough inside, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm spot to double in size, about 2 hours.

Oil a large 11×17 pan, or two 9×13 pans, with ¼ – ½ cup of olive oil, spreading oil over the pan evenly.

Punch down dough, gently, and press into the oiled pan, into the corners. If the dough is pulling away, leave for 5 minutes to relax, and try again.

Cover with a kitchen towel, and leave to rise and double in size, about 1 hour. If there is excess oil, do not pour it out! Allow it to cover the top of the dough.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

When dough is ready, and oven is heated, press fingers over the dough to create dimples. If the dough is a little dry on top, brush with extra olive oil. Sprinkle desired toppings (I used sea salt, parmesan, and thyme) across dough, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

Well, when summer comes to a close and fall starts rolling in, my mind starts thinking of warm, cozy flavours. Brown sugar is one of those flavours. It has a very fall-esque quality to me, and I find I bake with brown sugar a lot more come autumn.

Even though I don’t have a regular shortbread recipe on the blog yet… maybe Christmas time? I saw these and had to make them. The list of ingredients is mercifully short, and they were so easy to throw together. About five minutes of prep work, then through the dough in the fridge and wait.

Slice and bake cookies are always so handy. You can usually make the dough in advance, and they are hard to mess up. These were no exception. They are soft, chewy, and have that warm brown sugar flavour.

I found the original recipe here, and the only things I changed were to add all light brown sugar (as I didn’t have any dark brown sugar on hand), and to roll the cookie dough log in plain granulated sugar, because I didn’t have any turbinado or demerara sugar either.

Still, these cookies turned out beautifully, and they are a great way to welcome in the Autumn season!

Ingredients

Yield: Approx. 2 dozen cookies

2¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. dark brown sugar, packed (use more light brown sugar if you don’t have dark)
1½ tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. Turbinado or Demerara sugar, for garnish (or can use granulated)

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugars until smooth. Add in the vanilla, and mix again.

Add the dry ingredients, and beat on low speed to combine. Turn up to high speed until dough is cohesive and sticks together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll dough into a log (if you want a smaller, more manageable log size, divide dough in half). Tightly wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, and up to 5 days.

**Chilling the dough is MANDATORY. If you don’t chill the dough, you will get a monster cookie the size of your cookie sheet. I chilled mine overnight, and it worked just fine.**

To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350°F, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

On a clean work surface or large plate, spread the garnishing sugar, unwrap dough logs, and press the dough into the garnishing sugar to adhere.

Slice logs into 24 cookies, arrange on cookie sheets, and bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until just golden brown around edges.

Let cool on pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Kahlua Chocolate Cake

Yes, that’s right, Kahlua Chocolate Cake. I made this months ago for a dinner party that Paul and I hosted, and it did not disappoint, but I completely forgot to post it! It’s been sitting in my Drafts folder for months. I am so sorry to deprive you of this beautiful cake!

That’s the way the blog works, honestly. I make a recipe, if it passes the test, I write it up in a blog post. When I get pictures, I add the pictures and schedule the post. (Not going to lie, it’s WAY easier to do stretches of baking and schedule them, than try and make something at least once a week.) I’m shocked though, because this post was all done (sans edits about how I forgot to post it), pictures and all, just wiling its time away in my Drafts folder. Sad day.

Either way, I am trying to remedy the situation, so, on to cake!

This cake is delicious! I will say, however, it is sweet and rich. Take it slow, with small slices. It is a bit of a beast, but still, coffee and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

I didn’t have enough icing to do the fancy frosted edge, but I did have some Dutch chocolate sprinkles, so those served as a garnish.

The best part is I didn’t use my mixer for the cake, so I was able to use it for the icing! Usually I have to do a huge load of dishes between making cake and icing. Win-win.

I found the original recipe here, and followed it to the letter. I am sorry about my picture quality – I use my cell phone camera, because I don’t have a regular camera for photography, and I wasn’t able to get the cleanest slice, but the cake still tasted great! I’m not a monetized blog, this is all just me, making recipes that I find and love, so I am still fairly “amateur” in the blogging world, and as such, do not have the fancy camera equipment to do amazing food staging. I work with what I have in my kitchen.

Anyways, make this cake, and pour yourself a big glass of milk to go with it. You’ll need it! Still, this cake is a great way to wake up your sweet tastebuds, and to impress your friends!

I’m not going to keep rambling on whilst there is cake to be made!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8 or 9-inch layer cake

For the cake:

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
¾ c. milk
1 c. vegetable oil
½ c. Kahlua
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ c. coffee

For the frosting:

7 tbsp. Kahlua
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
1¼ c. shortening
10¼ c. icing sugar (as needed for consistency)
Chocolate sprinkles, for garnish

To make the cakes, preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare three cake pans (8 or 9 inch pans work) with Miracle Cake release, or line with parchment paper on the bottom and sides. If you have them, wrap “Bake Even” strips around the pans. (Damp strips of towels pinned around your cake pans work as well. That’s what I use.)

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, and whisk to combine.

Add in the eggs, milk, oil, Kahlua, and vanilla, and whisk again, until well-combined.

Add the coffee to the batter, and mix well. The batter will be very thin.

Divide the batter evenly between prepared cake pans, and bake for 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and leave on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

To make the frosting, heat the Kahlua in a small saucepan until it just begins to boil, then add the espresso powder. Stir until dissolved.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter and shortening until smooth. Add about half of the icing sugar, and mix again, until smooth.

Add about half of the Kahlua mixture, and mix until smooth, then add the remaining icing sugar, and beat again, until well-combined.

Add as much of the rest of the Kahlua mixture as you need, until frosting is your desired consistency. The more Kahlua mixture you add, the thinner the frosting will get.

To assemble the cake, trim your cake layers so they are flat (if you didn’t use “Bake Even” strips).

Place one of your cake layers on your serving dish, and top with about 1 cup of frosting, spread into an even layer. Repeat with the second and third layers of cake.

Frost the outside of the cake evenly, decorating how you prefer. Press sprinkles into the bottom sides of the cake, and on top (if you prefer).

Slice and serve. Store in an airtight container.