So are we all tired of pumpkin yet? Last year I found myself dreading November as I felt like everything out there was pumpkin this and pumpkin that. I had absolutely no desire to make anything pumpkin at all, though in the end, I did create a popular Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bar with White Chocolate Swirl. Yet this year I’m slightly obsessed with pumpkin. First I made these Halloween inspired Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies and then my Pumpkin Chess Pie Tart. It’s as if I’m making up for missing out last year. Perhaps that explains why I found myself back in the kitchen, busting out the canned pumpkin one more time to make a Pumpkin Bundt Cake.(Jump directly to the recipe.)
Thankfully my friend Peter was having a brunch a few days after I whipped it up. He had requested that I bring something sweet for it, and here I was, with bundt cake that needed eating. I apologized to him when I had brought it though, as I had already partially sliced it up to photograph. Yes, I’ve become that blogger. The one that brings a cake already sliced up to a party. I hang my head in shame. Thankfully no one at the brunch minded. Of course, I was sure to bring another baked good that was unadulterated and untouched. I’m not THAT rude.
Of course, the cake was quite popular. My friend Hadley loved it, despite it arriving in the state that it was. I don’t think I’ve seen his eyes light up like it did when he took a bite since we went shopping at the Saks Men’s store and he came across a full length Yves St. Laurent overcoat. On the other hand, my friend Annie was not as impressed with the cake, but then she’s more of a salty savory person, not so much a sweets person. Thankfully in the Venn diagram of food that we appreciate together where I veer into the sweet and she veers into the salty we have the overlapping section of French Fries. We’ve had many a conversation over a pile of crisp and salty pomme frites!
But back to this cake, this lovely, sweet, dense, rich cake. I want to use all the accolades that you would normally pour onto a cake that is this good. Perfect for Thanksgiving! Smells like Fall! Comfort food at its best! But I can’t. I can’t demean this cake in that way, reducing it to clichés. All I can tell you is that I’m happy that my pumpkin kick hasn’t worn off. Pumpkin this, pumpkin that, bring it on! I’ve got three more cans of pumpkin in my cupboard. I can’t wait to see what I make with them.
Pumpkin Bundt Cake
By Irvin Lin
This marbled pumpkin bundt cake has an added punch of autumnal flavor with the bay leaves and brown butter. Make sure to use fresh bay leaves as the dry ones are great for long simmering stews and soups but not so much for a cake like this.
1 15oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cup (230 g) 2 sticks butter, unsalted
3 cups (420 g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups (400 g) white granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 oz (115 g or half a brick) cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
3 tablespoon whole milk
1. Preheat an oven to 350˚F and generously grease with butter a bundt cake pan then dust it lightly with flour. Place on a rimmed baking sheet or pizza pan. Empty the can of pumpkin into a large nonstick skillet. Add the bay leaves and cook on high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the pumpkin has been reduced to 1 cup. Set aside to cool.
2. Remove the bay leaves and wipe them off. Place them in a clean skillet with the butter and heat on medium high heat. Cook the butter, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until it melts and the butterfat starts to brown a bit. Turn the heat off and let the residual heat continue to brown the butterfat. Once the butterfat is a rich brown color and there’s a nutty aroma coming from it, carefully remove the bay leaves (I use chopsticks as it’s hot and I’m Asian, but a fork or tongs will work) and pour the butter into a bowl for a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Be sure to scrape the brown bits into the bowl as well!
3. Turn the mixer slowly on, increasing the speed to medium high and mix for a minute or two to cool the butter. In the meanwhile, as the mixer is beating, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using a balloon whisk, vigorously stir the dry ingredients together until they are evenly incorporated. Once the butter has cooled a bit (it’s ok if the bowl is still warm to the touch) add the sugar to the butter and beat until blended, another 30 seconds. Add the eggs, one at time, beating between additions. Wait until the egg is incorporated before adding the next one. Stir the vanilla extract into the milk.
4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix to incorporate. Add 1/2 the vanilla milk and mix to incorporate. Repeat, alternating with the dry ingredients and the milk, ending with the dry ingredients. Spoon 2/3rds of the batter into the bundt pan, smoothing it out to make sure it is evenly distributed. Add the spices and the cooked pumpkin puree to the remaining 1/3 cake batter and stir to incorporate. Spoon the pumpkin batter over the vanilla cake batter. If you want, you can swirl them together with a butter knife, making figure eight shapes in the bundt pan. But I just decided I wanted more of a layered look this time round so I didn’t bother (also all my butter knives were dirty at the time).
5. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 45 minutes then unmold onto a wire rack to cool completely. You want the pan to still be warm to the touch still but cool enough that the cake has set as a hot cake is fragile. If the cake cools too much it may be hard to unmold, so just place it back in the oven set at 350˚F for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the sides of the pan are warm again.
6. Once the cake is cooled, make the ice by placing the cream cheese in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth, then add the powdered sugar. Sifting is important or the sugar will clump up and it’s crazy hard to get the clumps out of the ice. Beat until the sugar is incorporated then add the vanilla. Beat and add the milk, one tablespoon at a time. The icing should be thick enough to drizzle over the cake. If it looks too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it looks too thick, add an extra teaspoon of milk at a time. Spoon the icing over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides artfully and then let set for an hour before serving.
Makes 1 bundt cake, serves 12
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And while you at, check out these awesome bundt cakes from around the web:
Use Real Butter’s Chocolate Chunk Bundt Cake
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The Baker Chick’s Caramel Latte Bundt Cake
Completely Delicious’ Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake
Baker’s Royale’s Zebra Bundt Cake