Spiced Fresh Sugar Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I played with this recipe, made it twice, and compared it with my mother’s wonderful pumpkin cake recipe. The final result is a total winner, with half the fat of my mom’s spectacular, richer version and half the sugar as Martha Stewart’s. I compensated by boosting the spice profile considerably and using fresh pumpkin from the garden.

Martha says not to use fresh pumpkin. Lies. Of course fresh is better. The flavor is so much more pronounced and the texture is a good thing. This is not a overly sweet pumpkinish cake. This is a Spiced Fresh Sugar Pumpkin Cake! It’s a rewarding difference. To make your own pumpkin puree, take a look at this super tutorial from Oh She Glows.

I like the cream cheese frosting and it makes this cake decidedly dessert, even though it’s not a particularly sweet frosting. My mom scraped off all her frosting, so I made another batch into cupcakes and they were a lot like muffins unfrosted. Either way, they were wonderful. Super moist, autumnal, and just complex enough to be satisfying in that especially satisfying way. Make! Eat! Celebrate something!

Spiced Fresh Sugar Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Everyday Food, November 2005

Ingredients:
Cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
2 eggs
3/4 cups sugar
2 1/3 cups fresh sugar pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch round springform baking pan or 6 large muffins cups or 12 regular muffin cups. Or line the muffin cups with papers. Really, just prep whatever pan you have that will fit.

In a the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar, beating on low and then medium high for at least 5 minutes. I don’t know why I think this is so crucial, but it worked, so don’t skip. Add the eggs one by one and mix well. Add the pumpkin puree, mix well, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix well again.

Into another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low until smooth.

Turn batter into prepared pan, and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 45 minutes (or 25-30 minutes for large cupcakes or 15-20 for regular cupcakes). Cool cake 10 minutes in pan, then turn out of pan, and cool completely, right side up, on a rack.

Make Cream Cheese Frosting: In a the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar until smooth.

Spread top of cooled cake with frosting. Cut cake into wedges and serve. Or if you skipped the frosting and made cupcakes, wrap them up and take them along with you for the perfect midday, post gym, early morning, bored at work snack.

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