Monday, February 12, 2007

The cake

So last night we went to a little potluck get-together with other grad students, mostly married with kids. We have discovered that these are a lot more Sabbath-appropriate than the all-call grad student parties, as you can imagine. (At the latter, there's no way three bottles of wine would last the whole evening, for one thing.) The food at these parties is generally fantastic as the participants come from all over the world. Last night we had entries from China, Nepal and Chile.

And from Utah Mormonism, of course -- my contribution. I pieced it together from recipes in the Farm Journal cookbook I got from Grandma Irvine when she moved (the cake -- spices added by me) and the Lion House Christmas book I got this year (the frosting), plus a little pumpkin cream filling I made up myself.

I have to say, in my humblest way, it was amazing. And a huge hit, even with the international crowd -- not always super fond of sweets.

Pumpkin Spice Cake A La Mama

Pumpkin Spice Cake
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature (the recipe calls for shortening, but I say never!)
1 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c canned solid-pack pumpkin
1 tsp. maple extract

3 c all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice

1/2 c whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with cooking spray and placing parchment or waxed paper in the bottom (cut to fit). Then spray again over the paper.

Cream butter well, then slowly add sugars, eggs, pumpkin and maple extract.

In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. (I always just whisk them together because I don't have a sifter. It works fine.)

Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk as you beat on medium-low speed. As soon as everything is incorporated, stop mixing. You do not want to overbeat this cake, or it will get chewy -- there is a lot of wet stuff to activate the gluten in the flour.

Divide the cake into the two pans you have prepared and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the cakes test done. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Then cover your rack with parchment or wax paper and turn cakes out to cool further.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cream Filling
1/3 c corn starch
2/3 c brown sugar
pinch salt
1/4 c dark corn syrup or molasses
2 c whole milk

1 egg, beaten in a small bowl

1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter
1/2 c solid pack canned pumpkin

Whisk together corn starch, sugar and salt in a medium sauce pan. Gradually stir in milk and corn syrup.

Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Boil and stir one minute. Add half of mixture to egg in bowl, stirring briskly. Re-incorporate egg mixture into pan. Re-heat to boiling; boil and stir one minute.

Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla, then stir in pumpkin. Allow to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1/4 c butter
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Hot water as needed

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Stir in powdered sugar gradually. No powdered sugar clouds. Add vanilla and stir. If frosting is too thick to spread, add hot water, 1 tsp at a time, until it is soft enough.

Cake Assembly
Put a smear of frosting on your cake plate to hold the cake in place. Center the first layer on the plate.

Top with pumpkin cream filling. You might not use it all -- that's okay. Use your judgement. I used about half of my mixure. You want it to be about 1/2 inch from the edge of the cake. You will have better luck with this the cooler the cream has become. It will be more solid as it gets cooler.

Place the top layer on the cake.

Frost around the edges at the middle between the two layers first. Don't think of it as spreading frosting; just kind of tuck it in to seal in the pumpkin cream.

Then frost the rest of the cake. You should have just enough frosting! I did! Lucky I didn't let G steal any ... mean, mean me!

I decorated the sides of the cake with sliced almonds and the top with a sprig of chocolate mint from my herb pot.

I am really sorry I didn't take a picture. I need to establish that habit now that I have my own good digital camera. I guess you will just have to make your own cake!


Bek said...

I love recipies from the MAMMA!! This looks great.

I love that your group of friends is so diverse. We try and find that here, but it is harder than you think (even w/ Stanford).

I made your Carnitas the other day. Heaven. Seriously. I had to change the recipie a little bit but it was divine.

I have a question, do you pick just the meat out or do you drain the water out and keep the salsa stuff in it when you roast it. I wasn't sure....

SalGal said...

You're making my birthday cake this year, right? ;)

Ana said...

OK, the carnitas, you don't roast with the liquid. You want them to get kind of dried out and almost candied.

And yes, Sally, I believe I am about due for making you a birthday cake.

Dana said...

So.. you gonna whip this baby up in Park City? HUH! :P
Sounds delish!

Victoria said...

This sounds devine! Thanks!

Kari said...

Does look like a yummy recipe!! MMmmm!!

To one of the bloggers who I've read for almost the longest, Happy Valentines Day, Ana!!