Although I am extremely grateful to be able to sit down to a home-cooked meal nearly every night of the week, sometimes it seems like it takes me ten-times as long to cook for my little family of three as it does to actually eat dinner. By the time I finally coerce the toddler into consuming something other than blueberries and sit down to eat, Brett is already up clearing plates and washing dishes. Come Thanksgiving we multiply this song and dance by what feels like 100. With a few days spent poring over recipes, prepping ingredients, and finally cooking. Then, the meal itself is over in nearly an instant, especially with said toddler.
The idea of a Thanksgiving potluck is a total game-changer. I mean, it seems almost criminal to assign just a couple cooks to serve up an entire smorgasbord of food, right? Sure some traditions are here to stay for good, but why not host a “Friends-giving” feast? Unlike Thanksgiving where family members might be staying in the same home (i.e. fighting for oven space in the same kitchen), a Friends-giving potluck allows everyone to prepare their dishes from the comfort of their own respective kitchens before coming together and sharing. Okay, I know this concept isn’t totally innovative or anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less genius. Plus, friends and good food – can’t ever go wrong with that!
I teamed up with Steph from I Am a Food Blog to showcase our best "Friends-giving" dishes. Take a look:
One thing I particularly enjoy about this concept is that it allows each cook to really concentrate on his/her own signature dish (Like me with my cake and Steph with her Turkey Pot Pie). I mean, how can I put all my love and energy into an epic cake (and you know I’ll be bringing cake) when I have to worry about cranberries and mashed potatoes too? I actually make incredible cranberries, but that’s beside my point. If you are like me, then you’ll let someone else agonize over basting the turkey every 30 minutes or whatever, and then be the hero at the end of the evening that swoops in with a show-stopping dessert, re-awakening everyone’s taste buds from their inevitable tryptophan slumbers. However, this task comes with its own challenge: creating a mouth-watering, homerun of a dessert that will win over an over-stuffed and over-tired crowd (However, if are on Team Savory, be sure to check out Steph's delicious Turkey Pot Pie).
Enter this chai-spiced Pumpkin Bundt® Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze and Pumpkin Seed Praline. Nobody can turn down that drippy frosting, and the glistening crown of praline shards is just too intriguing to ignore. Everyone knows that any good pumpkin cake recipe is going to be moist, tender and full of delectable, warming spices. This Pumpkin Bundt® Cake is no exception.
Using a combination of both Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter and a splash of grapeseed oil not only keeps this cake extra moist until after Thanksgiving dinner is cleared, you can even make it the day ahead and it will still be fresh. Most pumpkin-type cake recipes (pumpkin, apple, carrot, etc.) are usually made with just oil, but you can’t deny the inimitable flavor of high quality butter. Not only does the butter add extra flavor, but by creaming it together with the sugar, it makes for a lighter batter and more tender crumb, too.
Notice how a lot of Bundt® or pound cakes can seem rather dense and heavy? Not this one! Unlike a cake that requires just stirring in oil and the other wet ingredients, this recipe calls for whipping the butter and sugar together – resulting in the sugar crystals cutting into the butter and trapping little, tiny air bubbles in the mixture that helps lighten the batter.
And we aren’t stopping just there – it’s a special occasion, remember!?! I love how the tangy cream cheese glaze pairs with the spiced pumpkin cake. I used spices familiarly found in chai tea – cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, and a touch of black pepper – but feel free to use any combination you’d like.
And the praline!! Pumpkin Seed Praline sounds fancy, but it is actually super easy to make– easier than brittle, in my opinion. The difference is in the ratio of sugar to seed/nut. Praline consists of only a handful of ingredients and comes together in just about 10 minutes. I don’t know what’s more fun – eating it or shattering the glass-like pieces?!
Nervous about unmolding your Bundt® cake for the big occasion? Don’t be! Super soft butter is king when it comes to greasing cake pans. Trust me. I used to think oil reigned supreme since it seems “slippery-er” but butter coats the pans better without pooling the bottom and gives something for the flour to cling onto for that perfect release every time. I like to smoosh in the softened butter into every nook and cranny with a pastry brush before sprinkling in the flour. Just be sure to flip out your cake while it’s still warm!
Pumpkin Bundt® Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon clove
pinch black pepper
¾ cup Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup flavorless oil, like grapeseed or canola
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
14 ounces pumpkin puree
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Generously brush the inside of a Bundt® pan with very soft butter, sprinkle with flour, and tap out the excess. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-low speed with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add in both sugars and mix on medium until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the oil and vanilla. Mix until combined.
With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
With the mixer on low, add in half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add in the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add in the remaining half of the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and few streaks of flour remain visible. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix until smooth. The batter will be thick.
Spoon the cake batter into the prepared pan. Tap the bottom of the filled pan on a hard work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a long wooden skewer or thin paring knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, or until the cake can safely be handled. Gently loosen the edges of the cake with a flexible rubber spatula (but resist the urge to run a knife around the edges or it may cut into the cake). Place a wire rack or cutting board on top of the cake. Holding on to the edges of the pan and rack, carefully invert everything. The cake pan will still be warm, so use oven mitts as needed. Remove the cake pan and continue to completely cool the cake before adding the glaze.
Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, softened
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese and butter with a wooden spoon until well combined.
Gradually stir in the confectioner’s sugar and mix until incorporated.
Add in the vanilla and milk. Stir until smooth. Glaze should be rather thick but still able to drip slowly off of a spoon. Add more milk as needed.
Once the cake had completely cooled, drip the glaze over the top of the cake and garnish with praline pieces.
Pumpkin Seed Praline
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
pinch cream of tartar
1 cup pumpkin seeds
flakey sea salt for sprinkling
Like a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
Place the sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns a medium amber color. Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the pumpkin seeds. Tip the mixture onto the prepared pan and quickly spread it into a thin layer with a greased spatula. Sprinkle with salt and allow the praline to completely cool. Once cool, break the praline into pieces. Serve as a garnish to the pumpkin cake.
The cake may be made a day in advanced. Wrap the cake well in plastic and store at room temperature overnight. If traveling with the cake, consider adding the glaze and garnish at your final destination.
Big thanks to Land-O-Lakes for their participation in the post. Words and opinions are my own.