Way back in June, I found that Aldi was stocking canned pumpkin in their “American” specialty aisle. I went a little bit nutso and bought several cans. However, pumpkin is a flavour I always associate with autumn and Thanksgiving, rather than the lighter flavours and fresh fruits of summer baking. Yesterday was September 1 so I felt justified in baking this cake as we finally edge closer towards the fall.
I also wanted to do something more interesting than your standard cream cheese icing, so I decided to make dulce de leche buttercream. My stove broke last week so my plans were almost foiled until one of my friends graciously let me use his hob for a few hours. Disaster averted! The icing itself tastes wonderful and I love the rich caramel flavour of the dulce de leche. In fact, the dulce de leche creamed with the soft butter tasted so good that I almost stopped right then and there. I did decide to continue with the recipe, but I’m definitely going to use it as a filling for a tart or cake or something. It was just too delicious not to!
The icing was runnier than I intended it to be, so be aware if you do decide to make it! I ended up putting a dowel in the centre of the cake to stop the two layers from sliding and eventually just put the whole thing in the fridge to chill overnight. It still tasted fantastic, it was just a bit more difficult to spread than usual. I might add less cream next time, but I didn’t want to increase the amount of sugar because the icing was plenty sweet enough.
The cake itself was very moist and delicious. It was given rave reviews by my friends who generously gave up their time to come to mine to be taste testers. ;) The pumpkin flavour is more subtle than in a dessert such as pumpkin pie. The main flavours are of the spices in the cake, while the pumpkin itself is more of a background flavour. The pumpkin does give this cake an amazingly moist and smooth texture, which is a bit like a good carrot cake, but less crumbly. Overall, I can’t wait for another occasion to make this cake.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
makes one 8″ two layer cake
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup/250ml vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tin of canned pumpkin (tricky to find in the UK, but it is available in some supermarkets!)
- 2 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Prepare two 8″ round cake tins as previously described. Preheat the oven to 250F/175C.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together on medium speed the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract four about 1-2 minutes. The mixture should look paler and the volume should be increased.
- On low speed, mix in the canned pumpkin until mixed throughout.
- Gently fold in the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Mix by hand until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Ice with dulce de leche buttercream (recipe below) and press 100g of toasted, chopped pecans onto the sides (optional).
Dulce de Leche Buttercream
makes enough to generously ice and fill one 8″ two layer cake.
- 1 can of homemade dulce de leche (see here for instructions)
- 1 cup/250g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups/500g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup/60 ml double/whipping cream
- Cream the butter and dulce de leche together until light and fluffy. It’s important the butter is soft so that there aren’t any lumps when you cream the two ingredients together. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low, gradually and in the icing sugar. Make sure you don’t add too much at a time!
- Add the double cream and beat on high until light and fluffy. My icing was a bit thinner than I normally like it, so you may want to add a little less double cream than this.