It has been a very rough week – one of the roughest ever – personally, at work and just in general. It seems to be on going on and on, this, and it’s hard to buck up and just deal sometimes. But it’s Christmas party time with the ladies (and now our new dude) of Public Health and I am SO looking forward to not having to listen to people or the phone or work my ass off overtime like I’ve been doing. My contribution this year is dessert. Since someone whispered in my ear “pumpkin shortage” around Thanksgiving time, I purchased more cans than I actually needed of the stuff. So when this absolutely delicious cake crossed my radar, I had to use up some of that pumpkin for it. I’m talking about browned butter in the cake batter AND in the frosting, people. BROWNED BUTTER. I need it in my life.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake
recipe from Evil Chef Mom
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup butter (12 Tablespoons)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
Heat the oven to 350. Butter and flour two round 9 inch cake pans (or just spray ’em down with Baker’s Joy like lazy old me). Melt the butter in a light bottomed pan over medium. Cook, swirling carefully occasionally, until the butter is foamy and browned and has that wonderful nutty aroma. Scrape into a bowl and let it sit until cool, but don’t let it get solid. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. In your mixer, mix the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add in the browned butter (beating on low) until it’s incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Bake until a tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling racks. Let cool completely.
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the walnuts and cook until they’ve browned lightly. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed. Stir in the ginger. Remove from the heat and let cool in the skillet.
Frosting: (this here is the AWESOME part)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
8 ounces cream cheese (I used 4 ounces cream cheese and 4 ounces mascarpone)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Heat the butter in a pan over medium, swirling occasionally until foamy and browned. Scrape this into a bowl and set it in the fridge to firm up. With your mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese (and/or mascarpone), and brown sugar on high speed until it is light in color and the sugar has dissolved. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and continue beating until fluffy.
Put a cake layer on a plate. Spread some frosting on the layer. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture over the frosting and top with the second cake layer. Frost the top of the cake (it says you can also frost the sides) but I didn’t have enough to do that. That may or may not be due to repeated tastings of the frosting. Hey nobody saw me, they can’t prove a damn thing. Arrange the remaining nut topping in a ring around the edge of the top frosted cake. Serve at room temp.
Happy Christmas from my ladies at Public Health: from left to right, Helen, our Lactation Consultant and maternal health guru (this little lady has EIGHT kids, people, EIGHT), Patti, RN and fellow Bob Dylan fan, Susan, our now retiring Emergency Response Coordinator, Patrice, Afton’s RN and all around cool, cool lady, Teresa, my Kemmerer counterpart (TERESA! i need her in my life), our sweet boss lady, Connie, et moi.
Baking Music: the entire soundtrack to Funny Girl. It’s a super mood lifter, I swear.