A lighter, fluffier pumpkin filling with an unapologetic cloud of whipped cream go into this Easy Pumpkin Chiffon Pie recipe! This no-bake (flakey crust optional) dessert will clear up tons of room in oven for turkey at Thanksgiving.Read More
Tender Pear Cake filled and frosted with a caramel-like Dulce de Leche Buttercream and bits of oat crumble.
Canadian Thanksgiving was over a month ago, but that can't seem to keep my overwhelming feelings of thanks and gratitude away. As the holidays approach, the days grow darker, and the rainy weather keeps us huddled together inside, I can't help but reflect on lucky I am to be surrounded by love, family, and lots of baked goods. So when our family friend and editor-in-cheif of Risen Magazine asked if I'd share my story, I didn't hesitate to agree.
In the "Expressions" section of the latest issue, you will find my full creative journey. From ballet lessons to baby bottles, I discuss my motivations for starting my own cake business to trying to do it all as a working mom to ultimately leaning on a bit of faith that these big, life-changing decisions I've made along the way were the right ones for our little family. Cake design has been my major creative outlet over the past decade, my way of expressing my fears, doubts, joys, and triumphs. Worry blocks creativity, so I've been trying my best to be more patient, a little less controlling, and to embrace the imperfections in life.
This Pear Cake is slightly adapted from my book Layered. The shredded pears nearly melt into the cake and keep it incredibly soft and tender. Adding Dulce de Leche to homemade buttercream is so luxurious. Similar to caramel, the dulce de leche adds a deeper, not-as-sweet creaminess to the frosting. Making dulce de leche from a can of sweetened condensed milk is super simple, but you may also try a store-bought variety.
For an additional layer of texture, I added an Oat Crumble in the middle. The cake is so moist and the buttercream so silky, I really feel like this cake benefits from a bit of crunch. The oat crumble recipe will certainly make more than you need, so sprinkle leftovers over yogurt or roasted fruit!
Pear Dulce de Leche Cake Recipe
For the cake:
2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom (optional)
3 medium pears, such as Bartlett
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cardamom (if using) and set aside. Peal the pears and shred the pears (a box grater works great here) and place in a mesh sieve (or a few paper towels) over a bowl to drain. If they are extra juicy, press down gently with a rubber spatula to release some of the excess liquid (or gently bundle them up and squeeze the paper towels). Set aside.
Using an eclectic mixer, beat together the oil and sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Slowly stream in the buttermilk until incorporated. Add in the remaining flour and mix until mostly combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the drained shredded pears
Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and bake in the pre-heated oven for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
For the buttercream:
2/3 cup prepared or store-bought Dulce de Leche (recipe to follow)
Small batch Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Mix the buttercream until silky smooth. Add in the Dulce de Leche and mix until fully combined.
For the oat crumble (optional):
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and softened
½ cup rolled oats
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Place all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the mixture forms small clumps of what looks like “wet sand.” Dump the contents on a lined baking sheet and spread out. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (stirring halfway) until the crumble starts to crisp and turn slightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack then break up into small pieces (if the pieces are left large, then the cake will be difficult to slice).
For the Dulce de Leche:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Place an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a slow-cooker. Fill with enough water to full submerge the can. Turn the slow-cooker to “low” and cook for 8 hours. Very carefully remove the can from the hot water and let it cool at room temperature. Open the can and store the Dulce de Leche in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Place a cooled cake on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on about 1 cup of buttercream with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle on a generous amount of oat crumble and top with the second layer of cake. Frost the cake with the buttercream and decorate as desired.
For the boarder, fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip (Wilton #104), and pipe interlocking "V's" around the top and bottom edges of the cake. Keep the narrow end of the tip facing up as you pipe.
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.
Between my jumbo bag of Boom Chicka Pop Kettle Corn (my monthly treat to myself for making in out of Costco alive with an active 10-month old) and salted-caramel EVERYTHING, my love for sweet and salty treats has hit an ultimate high. Not only must I end a meal with some-sort of dessert at least about 85% of the time (who's with me?), but I usually follow that up with something that has a bit of salt and crunch. While this might seem a bit much (also probably not very healthy), who is to complain when my cravings result in something as amazing as these Salted Maple Pumpkin Donuts?!?!
I was ultimately inspired by this spice blend from Sweet Is the Spice (thanks to my monthly Hatchery.co box), my husband's love for donuts of all kind, and maple - because we are in Canada after all. Oh, and pumpkin - 'Tis the season!
I can't even imagine a time before sea salt and caramel went together. So sweet, so salty - so delicious! When I made a cinnamon caramel sauce earlier this season, I thought I would try it without the salt. Even though it was packed full of other yummy flavours, it was just not complete with a pinch (or a few) of salt.
Equally sweet but much more Canadian and donut-approved, I figured maple glaze would be perfect for my pumpkin donuts but could also stand to be kicked up a notch with a bit of sea salt. After baking off the donuts, I dunked them in a bath of classic maple glaze then gave them a sprinkling of both Maldon Sea Salt and the Sweet & Salty Surrender blend.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur
Pumpkin Donutsmakes about 10 to 12
1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil 1 whole egg 1 egg yolk 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons maple syrup 3/4 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a donut pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, and egg yolk.
- Add in the sugars, maple, and pumpkin. Whisk to combine.
- Sift in the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
- Fill the wells of the donut pan about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the donuts comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack before dipping in the glaze.
Maple Glaze adapted from Broma Bakery
1 cup icing sugar, sifted 1/4 cup maple syrup a couple drops of molasses 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Combine all of the ingredients until together until they form a thick, but smooth paste. Add only enough milk so that it is slightly fluid. Use immediately.
- Place the maple glaze in a shallow dish just big enough to hold the donuts.
- Dunk the top surface of each donut into the glaze and let dry slightly on a wire rack.
- Just before the glaze completely dries (just a few minutes), sprinkle with sea salt and/or Sweet & Salty Surrender blend
- To prevent from making a huge mess, I like the fill the donut pan with a piping bag. The batter can be rather fluid. I find it best to fill a disposable piping bag, then snip off the tip once the batter is already inside so that it does not spill everywhere as I fill it up.
- If the donuts are stored overnight, the salt will begin to dissolve. They might look funny, but will still taste equally delicious the following day.
Side note: You guys! Boom Chicka Pop has a Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Kettle Corn for the holidays! If you are looking for a Christmas gift for me, just send me BIG bags of this!!
Lately, I've see the most lavish cake recipes with a hundred different ingredients and outlandish flavour combinations and I think "What happened to a good 'ol buttermilk cake and fudge frosting? Or a classic carrot with not-too-sweet cream cheese icing?"
I know, I know - I can totally be guilty of trying to reinvent the wheel, er cake, too. And while sometimes we are better off not throwing all of the trendiest ingredients into one cake (I bet there is a miso-matcha-cardamom-tahini cake recipe with brown butter & salted caramel frosting out there somewhere, hehe), other times we should in fact jazz up a classic.
With the holidays just around the corner (no really - Thanksgiving is next week), NOW is the time to go ahead and add that extra drizzle of caramel, throw on those unnecessary sprinkles, stick on some gold leaf, and light a few sparklers on top while you are at!!
(Anyone else thinking of the scene from Love Actually at the department store when they are trying to package up the mistress' necklace? Might as well dip it in yogurt next, am I right?)
Well, I have done just this! And yes, I just justified (or at least tried to) why its okay to go all-out and switch up a perfectly good recipe. Once you try this Pumpkin Tiramisu, you will understand. I hope.
Truth be told, I actually don't care for traditional tiramisu. They are usually a bit too booze-foward for me and I hardly understand why anyone would create a recipe that revolves around lady fingers. However, this is not why I felt the need to change it. I get that a lot of people love them some tiramisu (it is a classic, after all), so I wanted to make a seasonal dessert that everyone could get behind, tiramisu lovers and tolerates alike!
Here's what I have to say about this Pumpkin Tiramisu:
"Traditional tiramisu or “pick me-up” is all about the booze, coffee, and creamy filling. Sticking with the classic dessert-theme, I created an old fashion Heritage frosting (aka Ermine or Cooked-Flour) that still utilized tiramisu’s familiar mascarpone filling. This type of frosting is creamy and fluffy – it still reminds me of the filling used in a regular tiramisu, yet not nearly as rich and without the eggs. Instead of rum or marsala wine, the cake layers were brushed with a soak made from coffee liqueur to better compliment the pumpkin flavor. A shower of chocolate shavings or cocoa powder over the top makes this cake even more stunning and awe-worthy for the holidays."
Head on over to The Cake Blog for the full recipe!