Even though it has been incredibly hot the past few days in my mind it's pretty much fall.
Although I love beaches and being warm all the time I adore fall more. All the things I do in the summer - bike rides, wandering aimlessly through pretty little neighbourhoods, being outdoors all the time, flowers, pretty little projects, baking - I can do in the fall, but with tights and boots on, which means I can wear way more of the pretty dresses in my closet! My family also gets visibly less upset when I go to turn the oven on to bake something.
Both things make me extremely happy.
One of my very favourite fall things is pumpkins. I love pumpkin. Pasta, cookies, cupcakes, anything. And, since I refuse to bake anything with canned pumpkin I get very excited when the little orange squashes start appearing at the farmers market!
Amazingly, when I went this saturday my favourite organic mennonite farmers had boxes and boxes of perfect little baking pumpkins. Needless to say I was ecstatic.
Unfortunately, I was so excited to roast the pumpkin and make something delicious that I didn't take a photo. Visualize the prettiest little 4 lb pumpkin and you'll be on the right track.
To roast the pumpkin I cut it in half, scooped out all the seeds (which you can roast later!), cut off the stem and put the halves face down on a baking sheet. I placed the baking sheet on the highest rack and turned the to high, ie. just below broil. It took about 45 minutes to roast this 4 lb pumpkin.
The skin will get charred and black, but when you flip it over (let it cool before you do this, since it's crazy hot) the flesh will be lovely golden orange and super soft, it should peel away easily from the skin. If it isn't soft enough put it back in the oven for a bit.
I usually just scoop out the flesh, mash it with a fork and keep it in the freezer to use whenever!
It isn't a lot of work and leaves you with very delicous, beautiful pumpkin to use for whatever your heart desires.
Doesn't this make you so excited for fall?
What my heart happened to desire on this particular day was cake. Layer cake with large amounts of frosting. Not cupcakes with delicate little swirls, but an entire cake that I could frost with an offset spatula and mass quantities of buttercream. I really wanted to frost something, it's a very calming experience.
However, the dilemma was what cake recipe to use? Instead of looking for hours through multiple food blogs and getting incredibly distracted I decided to modify a Martha Stewart recipe I had for pumpkin cupcakes. Like I said, I really wanted to frost something.
The result was pumpkin layer cake with chocolate cinnamon buttercream. It was rather delicious!
|mix your dry ingredients together. cinammon, ginger and nutmeg make me instantly think of fall.|
|mix your sugars with your (lake) of melted butter. add the dry ingredients and mix.|
|mash the pumpkin and add it to the batter. it becomes the most beautiful orange colour - and tastes rather delish!|
|spread the batter evenly into two circular cake pans. I ran out of flour so I dusted my pan with cocoa.|
|bake until set and let cool. because of the pumpkin and whole wheat flour the cakes won't rise very high.|
|place one cake on a cake stand/plate and frost the top with a good amount of buttercream. |
place the second cake on top.
|frost the top and sides with an offset spatula and the remaining frosting.|
As mentioned above this cake recipe was modified from this Martha Stewart cupcake recipe. I changed around some of the ingredient measurements and also swapped in some whole wheat flour. I was slightly hesitant that it would make the cake really dense and heavy but it didn't and it slightly balances out the large amont of butter used!
pumpkin layer cake
modified from Martha
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup salted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups pumpkin puree
Whisk together the flours and spices. Since I was a bit afraid how the whole wheat flour would react I sifted it to remove some of the bran/hull so it would be less dense.
In another bowl whisk together sugars and melted butter. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until batter is smooth.
Stir in pumpkin puree. Batter will be quite thick. I slowly added small amounts of milk to the batter to bring it more to the consistency of brownie batter. Start with a tablespoon, mix, add a bit more (I think I used 1/4 cup) and keep going until its not as dense but is nowhere near soupy.
Grease and flour (I used cocoa powder because I was out of all purpose flour) two 8 inch circular pans. Pour an even amount of batter in each and smooth over.
Place in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes or unitl tops of cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 20 minutes and then turn out, running a knife along the edges of the pan to loosen the cake.
The cake will be short and dense and kind of sticky from the oil in the pumpkin and the butter but I promise you that its cooked!
Let cool and frost.
chocolate cinnamon frosting - chocolate and cinammon is my favourite combination, and I thought it would go especially well with the flavours in the pumpkin cake.
modified from my favourite frosting recipe. I use the same base for every buttercream but this time the flour is replaced by cocoa powder.
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
a lot of cinammon
Mix icing sugar and sifted cocoa powder. Add butter and beat until it begins to get smooth. Add milk a little at a time until its thinned out but is still quite stiff, you don't want it running off the cake! Add the cinammon. I started with a tablespoon and kept adding more because I really wanted to taste the cinammon. In the end I probably used 3 tablespoons but definitely start with one and add a bit at a time tasting along the way because it will quickly go from just right to way too much spice!
Frost the cake! You can leave it in the fridge while your cake cools and let it come to room temperature before frosting.
Slice yourself a lovely little piece, sit in the warm almost-autumn sun and get very excited about the lovely cool weather, leaves and boots that lie ahead! xo.