For how much I love all things pumpkin, I have little interest in Halloween. The décor is tacky (you won’t find skulls or spiders in the West Elm catalog), the menu is limited and commercial (Kit Kat or Butterfinger? Take ONE), and the outfits are impractical and misleading (Oh, so you’re not a prostitute? Then why are you dressed like one?) To my luck, my friend Theresa happens to have her birthday right before Halloween, so I’ll tie those two celebrations together in my own way: Pumpkin birthday cake, here we come!
Theresa’s lovely sister, Michaela came over to assist with the baking. Naturally, we had dinner first. I made goat cheese and mushroom mac & cheese (recipe coming soon!) and she brought a salad. It’s important to not bake on an empty stomach to avoid the mishap of eating all of the batter before the cake gets in the oven.
Beware… the number of times you taste as you go can add up and make you feel pretty terrible at the end. Whoops!
The recipe didn’t call for any spices, so we added about 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
Since this recipe actually calls for (3) 8” cake pans but I only had (2) 9” pans, we made a few “taste testers.”
So moist, so flavorful, so fall.
We ended up with a ton of leftover icing, which means I need to find another creative use for it….
Since both of us had chevron iPhone cases, we decided to attempt a chevron cake. With the help of our homemade stencil and Dutch chocolate sprinkles, it actually turned out pretty fabulous.
Pumpkin Dream Cake
(Recipe from The Novice Chef)
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease 3, 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl/stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin and vegetable oil. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk.
Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and immediately place in freezer for 45 minutes. (This keeps the cake moist by immediately stopping the baking so the cake does not continue to bake when you remove it form the oven.)
For the frosting: In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth.
Assemble the 3 layers with a thick layer of frosting in between each layer. Then apply a thin crumb coat on the top and sides. Pop back in the freezer to harden the crumb coat for about 10 minutes.
Apply one final thick and even layer around the outside of the cake. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.