Fun Finds For Mom

The story of a cake

Several months ago, I joined a group of girlfriends to celebrate our friend Deb’s birthday. When we were all seated at the table, Deb handed out a wrapped gift for each of us. Yes, it was her birthday, and she was handing out gifts. When we opened them up, we saw that we each had a recipe binder that contained a printed out recipe, and a page she had written for each of us, explaining our  namesake dessert and why and how our personality matched up with that particular treat. Can anyone get more thoughtful and kind than this, I ask you?

My page told me “You are my Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Icing Friend” and explained the ways this cake’s profile fit my warmth and homey goodness. No fussiness or decadence here. Rich without being over the top —  “consistently delicious, humble, yet with its own ‘wow factor’ — a crowd-pleasing cake that makes you feel good when you eat it!” There were mentions of cozy afghans and warm glows on chilly Arizona days. It was me, in cake form.

This morning I got  a text message telling me to go look outside my front door for a surprise. There it was. My namesake cake.

She was right. It was warm and homey, spicy and sweet — and that brown sugary glaze on top was unbelievable. If you’d like to make my special cake yourself (and trust me, you do) here is the recipe. Thank you Deb!

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

2 large eggs

3/4 cup pecan halves

Brown Sugar Icing Ingredients

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup whipping cream

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

Mix the cake

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter or rub with oil the bottom and sides of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch or 11 x 7 x 2-inch pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger onto a piece of waxed paper or into a medium bowl and set aside.

Put the pumpkin, granulated sugar, and oil in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. move the beaters around in the bowl if using a handheld electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to blend each throughly into the mixture. The mixture looks smooth and shiny. Decrease teh speed to low and add the flour mixture. The batter is ready when the flour is mixed completely into the batter. If any flour is clinging to the sides of the bowl, stir it into the batter. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter from the bowl and spared it evenly in the prepared pan. Scatter the pecans evenly over the top.

Bake the Cake

Bake just until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. the cake can be iced when it is warm or has cooled, but let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before adding the icing. Use a small knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan before adding the icing.

Make the Icing

Put the butter, cream, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium high until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, stirring often. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla just to blend it into the mixture. Set aside to cool slightly for about 30 minutes. Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Pour the slightly cooled sauce over it and use a whisk or electric mixer to beat the icing smooth, about 1 minute or less. It will change from a brown to a light brown color. Immediately pour the icing over the cake in the pan. Use a metal spatula to spread it evenly, if necessary. If the cake is warm, the icing spreads by itself. Icing will drip down around the edges of the pan and thinly coat the sides of the cake. This is good. Cool the cake and icing thoroughly, about 3 hours, but mark the portions in the top of the icing as soon as it is firm enough to hold the mark. Cut the cake into 9 squares. A thin metal spatula and a pancake turner work well together to help lift the cake squares from the pan. Serve the cake cold or at room temperature. Butter pecan ice cream makes a good accompaniment.

Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011 in Food & Drink