If you have been following along for a little while you may have read my post about making biscuits with my son. It was such a fun experiment but, it turned out that there was a typo in the recipe in my new baking cookbook. It was such a bummer, but I made them again and it all worked out. A few weeks ago I had a major baking weekend where I baked 3 recipes in a weekend and 2 of the ones I chose were from the same cookbook. Sadly…neither or them turned out as amazing as I expected but only one had an explosion…the Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Streusel.
When reading about this recipe it sounded like a perfect fall treat. Something sweet with warm spices that would help you feel like you were wrapped in a hug on a cold rainy day. I decided to make this to go with a winter squash soup served over rice and roasted vegetables. This is one of my favorite fall dinners and I am trying to decide how often is too often to make it… The flavor of this cake is amazing! The streusel is sweet, with a slightly salty kick from the roasted and salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds). The brown butter also brings a richness to the whole cake without over powering all the other flavors. By adding the whole can of pumpkin the cake has a velvety texture that melts in you mouth.
Unfortunately….although I followed the instructions EXACTLY (which I am working very hard on doing now that I am trying to learn new skills) this cake exploded out of the pan! Not just a little either…like 4 large piles of batter were spewing out of the sides of the cake onto our pizza stone that we keep in the oven for temperature regulation. It was a slowly erupting cake volcano. I even made the whole recipe again the next day to see if maybe I just messed something up while rushing to finish it the first time I made it…nope…same exact results!!
“I left a few pieces of cake at work that night and one of my coworkers took the container home and finished it off because he liked the cake so much” – Kevin
With all that being said…this cake really does fit the bill if you are looking for a fall dessert that just might taste SOOOOOOO much better than it looks!
I turned my oven to 350 F degrees to get it preheated before I began working. Then, the first steps of this recipe call for making the topping for the cake. In a medium sized bowl whisk together, flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt and pepitas. Next, in a sauce pan I browned the butter. I did this by melting the butter over low to medium heat, swirling the pan every once in a while, and watching it very carefully. When the milk solids at the bottom of the pan begin to turn pecan brown and smell nutty, I pulled the pan off the stove. You have to be careful because the butter can go from browned to burnt very quickly. I poured the melted butter into a small bowl and allow it cool to room temperature. Then, I poured the butter over the dry ingredient mix and stir it with a small spatula until all the ingredients are moistened. Finally, I used my fingers to clump together bits of the topping into whatever sizes you prefer. I did a mix of large grape sized pieces and smaller pea sized pieces.
While the browned butter was cooling, I took the time to prepare my 9 inch cake pan (which I later realized is too small….next time I think I would do either a 9-by-13 inch pan, 2 loaf pans, or 2 8-inch pans…or some combination of pans that I have and work for the amount of filling…still need to figure that all out.) Anyway….I liberally buttered my pan and then I folded a parchment square in half, and then in half again. Next, I folded it in half on a diagonal so that it came to a point in the middle. After that I held it up to the pan to try to estimate where the point would be right in the middle of the pan. Then, I used my scissors to cut an arc where the edge of the paper would fit inside the pan. I opened the paper the check to see if I cut a circle that fit inside my pan. It took me a few tries. I just refolded it and trimmed more until I created a circle that worked for my pan. I placed the parchment circle over my buttered pan and then went to work on the cake batter.
Into the mixing bowl of my mixmaster went butter, sugar and brown sugar. Into another mixing bowl, I put flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I whisked all the dry ingredients together. I let the mixmaster run on speed 6 for 5-7 minutes to let the butter and sugar mix and fully incorporate together. Next I mixed in the eggs one at a time. I made sure to let the mixmaster run between additions making sure that the eggs were fully mixed into the sugar and butter. I also scraped down the sides of the bowl and the paddle between eggs. I mixed in the vanilla next and made sure to let the mixer run after adding it also, giving it time to incorporate.
The pumpkin was mixed in after the vanilla. I gave the mixer time again to run, but my batter looked a little broken at this point in both attempts. Next, I poured a third of my dry ingredients into the batter and mixed it on low, just until the flour disappeared. Then, I scraped down the sides of bowl and the paddle. Next, I poured in half of the milk and mixed it on low, just until the milk disappeared. Then, I scraped down the sides of bowl and the paddle. I repeated this again with the flour, then the milk and ending on the flour. I again felt like the batter was slightly broken but I didn’t want to keep mixing it in fear that I would overwork the gluten and it would be tough when baked.
I poured the batter into the cake pan and smoothed it out with an offset spatula and then topped it with the streusel topping. I put the cake in the oven and set my timer for 55 minutes. I came back half way through the baking and saw the volcano happening in my oven and realized that there was nothing to do about it at the moment and waited for my timer to go off. At 55 minutes, I opened the door and slightly moved my pan, the whole cake moved in a wave and I knew that I needed more time. It ended up taking about 75+ minutes for my cake to bake. I tested it with a wooden skewer and pulled it out of the oven when only 1 or 2 crumbs still stuck to the skewer from the middle of the cake.
At this point we were late for delivering dinner and dessert to our friends, so I was a bit rushed and forgot to take any more pictures….sorry guys! I continued to follow the recipe instructions and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then I ran a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and inverted it onto a plate. Right away, I put a piece of parchment paper over the inverted cake and then my cooling rack on top. I inverted it again and let the cake cool on the cooking rack. This whole process was a bit messy. Due to the spillage in the oven, cutting around the edge was hard without some of the topping being knocked off. Also, inverting the warm cake and then quickly turning it again, made me feel like I slightly squished it and it wasn’t as nice looking as I was hoping.
Thankfully, my loving husband picked up his phone when I called in a slight panic realizing I never took a picture of the final product he was still delivering. He snapped a quick photo for me to be able show you guys that although it is not the most beautiful cake, it is worth making for a fall treat. Our friends were so sweet letting us know that it was worth the wait and that they enjoyed it! The second batch that had similar results was super tasty, and quickly shipped to work with Kevin so that I didn’t eat the whole cake – its just so easy to take a small slice, and then another, and then another…
- This cake is really delicious – although VERY homemade looking
- The pepitas give this such an unexpected salty surprise in the streusel topping that this cake stands out from one note pumpkin cakes I’ve tried in the past
- I am still dissatisfied with the Bake from Scratch cookbook – so sad
- I still have more to learn about cake batter…any one have any tips??
Recipe: Pumpkin Cake With Browned Butter Streusel
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup roasted salted pepitas
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 can pumpkin
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 2/3 cup AP flour
- 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- For streusel: In the medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook until butter turns a medium-brown color and has a nutty aroma, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pepitas, sugar, and salt. Drizzle with browned butter, and stir with a wooden spoon until combine. Crumble with fingertips until desired consistency is reached.
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
- For the cake: In the bowl of a mixmaster with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium-high speed until combined, 5 – 7 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduces mixer to low; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and pumpkin, beating just until combined.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with milk – beginning and ending on flour. Beat until just combined each time. Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth the top. Sprinkle on streusel.
- Bake until a wooden pick interred in the center comes out clean. Begin checking around 55 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the the edge of the pan to loosen sides. Invert onto a plate and then invert gain onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
Recipe Adapted from Baked From Bake from Scratch