Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Icing

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Icing - made December 18, 2013 from The Baker Chick
We had a holiday potluck at work last week and I signed up to bring dessert. How.....not shocking. I remember back in the day when potlucks meant everyone signed up for a dish and brought something homemade. It was always interesting to see what people made, who could cook and, er, who couldn't. Usually there were one or two outliers who couldn't or wouldn't cook or didn't have time and they would sheepishly bring in something storebought, earning some good-natured ribbing.
Nowadays, it seems like the reverse is true where storebought is the norm and homemade goods are less common and garner comment, "wow, you made that?" I think it's a sign of the shifting times where people work longer hours, have more commitments, less time, there's a greater abundance of (some) well-made storebought items and a potluck means picking something up from Costco, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods on your way to or from work right before you need it. When someone is in the office until 10 pm or has to run around picking up kids or taking care of pets or some combination of all three, whipping something up for the office potluck probably isn't high on their list of priorities. So I really can't judge. (Well, I can but in this case, I won't.)
And although I know what it's like to work long hours, especially during this time of the year, I'll sacrifice sleep and (sadly) some of my workout time to bake something to bring. It's not even a sacrifice (except for the lack of sleep part) since I love to bake. At first I was going to make the Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake again since that was a big hit when I first brought it into the office but I had just gotten a sampler pack from Spice Island which contained all the spices I needed for this Pumpkin Bundt Cake recipe and it seemed like the perfect time to try them all.
Normally when I make spice cake or anything pumpkin and the recipe calls for a variety of spices, I usually opt out of all of them except for cinnamon and occasionally nutmeg simply because I don't like my baked goods to be overly spiced. But that would defeat the purpose of my spice sampler so I stuck to the recipe religiously. That was probably a good thing because this cake was delicious. You can't taste any individual spice (at least I couldn't) but they all blended well together to make a nice, fluffy pumpkin cake. I was really good about not underbaking it too much so the texture was moist but not mushy. And of course, as for the icing, brown butter, how do I love thee, let me count the ways.
Pumpkin Bundt Cake and Kahlua Fudge that I brought to the potluck
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs

1 stick butter, melted and browned
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 10-inch bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour; set aside.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined.
  5. Alternately add the  flour and pumpkin mixtures, mixing on low speed, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 5-10 minutes before loosening cake with a small spatula and inverting. Let cool completely before icing.
  7. Icing: Pour the browned butter into a bowl and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  8. Spoon or drizzle over the cake and serve.

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