Hazelnut Crunch Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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Guys, cake!

Yesterday was a day that called for cake…even though I didn’t have any left, I wish I did. It was one of those frustrating, frantic, half-assed days where you’re pulled in different directions and nothing gets accomplished. Days like that deserve something sweet. In my case it was a Reese’s pumpkin eaten over the sink with a gulp of cold coffee between ringing doorbells, barking dogs, a startled baby, and a project I just couldn’t seem to get through. But I wanted it to be a piece of this cake with a side of coffee…that was still warm.

This cake is a moist pumpkin and spice number with little bits of hazelnut suspended in the batter, iced with a brown butter + cream cheese concoction, and sprinkled with crunchy hazelnut candy. It’s got it all: tender-spiced cake, a buttery-tangy frosting, and lots of crunchy-sweet texture. It’s a dream boat and a sure-fire cure for one of those kinda days.

I don’t mean to get all complain-y, but some days are better than others and cake days are definitely the best!

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Hazelnut Crunch Pumpkin Cake

Makes 1, double layer, 6 inch round cake OR 1, 9-inch square cake.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teapoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cups finely chopped, toasted hazelnuts

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, browned*

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease 2 6-inch round cake pans and line with parchment circles (you can also bake this cake in a 9-inch square pan).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and hazelnuts. In another bowl whisk together the browned butter, brown sugar, bourbon, eggs, and pumpkin puree until combined. Fold the butter-pumpkin mixture into the flour and spice mixture until just combined and there are no longer streaks of flour throughout. Divide the cake batter between the two cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake in the center of the oven for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks for 15 minutes before turning out the cakes and cooling completely. Cool the cakes completely before frosting—it is even better to wrap the cooled cakes in plastic and place them in the refrigerator to chill before frosting.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, browned*

4 ounces softened cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Using a mixer, beat the browned butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the salt and beat in the confectioner’s sugar gradually until smooth and spreadable.

Hazelnut Crunch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

1 heaping cup toasted hazelnuts

Place a sheet of parchment on a sheet pan and set aside.

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves and becomes a deep golden amber color—don’t stir it, but you can swirl the pan if you need to. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and hazelnuts. Pour the mixture onto the sheet pan and cool completely. Chop the cooled hazelnut crunch coarsely and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To assemble the cake:

Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake stand, spread a heaping scoop of frosting on top of the layer and spread evenly, then sprinkle with a handful of the hazelnut crunch. Place the other cake layer on top, pressing down lightly to adhere to the first layer. Pile several heaping scoops of frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly to the edges of the cake, spread the excess frosting over the sides of the cake, evenly. Scrape any excess frosting off with an off set spatula for a “naked-cake” effect, or spread thickly for a more traditional look.

*To brown the butter, place it in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, let it melt. It will bubble and foam. Once it begins to foam, whisk it constantly until deep brown bits begin to appear and the butter smells nutty like toffee. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before using. [/recipe]

 

 

 

 

Super Easy Coconut & Walnut Fudge

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Hey! I have this totally festive and celebratory fudge for you all! It’s so damn simple, I mean, literally 2 ingredients, plus mix-ins for flava.

Why is this fudge festive AND celebratory? Well, 2 reasons…

1. It’s the holidays, y’all! I’m sure you already knew that…that’s where the festive comes in. 2. Sean loves holiday fudge and we have a major reason to celebrate him, as he just landed a new job is a far-off and distant city–Portland, Oregon!

So, we are totes moving in a few weeks. We found out the officially-official news just last week and are in a whirlwind of packing and purging and holiday planning. We are super excited since this position (with his current company) is a total step up and will bring us SO MUCH CLOSER to our beloved family and friends…like, a day-trip in the car away, instead of a 3-day driving marathon. Also, I hear Portland is a pretty cool place, so it will be totally exciting to explore a new city.

And even though things may be a little more than hectic around here, I’ve still gotta get my holiday-treat on, so easy is the name of the game and this fudge is exactly that. No stirring of boiling sugar and chocolate and hoping/praying for a smooth, grain-less result. We’re just melting with a side of stirring, then we’re done. Not a grainy bite of candy in site, just creamy-dreamy chocolate and coconut + walnut goodness. BOOM, easiest holiday treat ever!

PS, I’ve never been to Portland and won’t make it  there before our move in January, so any recommendations or affirmations would be greatly appreciated. I AM SO EXCITED!!

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Super Easy Coconut & Walnut Fudge

Adapted from Heather Baird for Betty Crocker

This recipe can be made in the microwave or on the stove top. For microwave instructions, click the link above. 

1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 bag (12oz.) chocolate chips, I like semisweet

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 cup toasted coconut

Prepare an 8x8inch baking pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment, leaving a few inches of overhang on two sides for easy removal. Secure the parchment with binder clips.

Fashion a double boiler out of a heat proof bowl fitted over a saucepan with a few inches of simmering water, taking care that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Add the condensed milk and chocolate chips and stir until the chips are melted, the mixture is well combined, and smooth. Remove the bowl from the top of the sauce pan and stir in the vanilla, followed by the walnuts and coconut, until well combined. Scrape the fudge mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Allow the fudge to cool to room temperature before covering with plastic and placing in the refrigerator to set for several hours. Once set, cut the fudge into cubes and serve (or gift)! [/recipe]

Cinnalmond Bites and a Giveaway!!

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Hey, guys!

I’m super excited to share this recipe today because it comes with a giveaway for the cookbook No Bake Makery, for you! Though it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, I love an opportunity to give you stuff. I’m a gifter and I love it. BUT! let’s talk these little cookie, truffle bites.

These little bites are dead-easy to make. Everything gets whirled in the food processor all at once–chocolate cookies, cinnamon toast cereal, almonds, salt, a teensy bit of milk, and some honey.  The dough is then scooped, rolled, and chilled before getting dressed with some candy coating (or tempered chocolate). These bites are sweet-sweet-and-salty. I could see kids going crazy-nuts for these (and they could totally help!), but they make the perfect two-bite indulgence–which is sometimes all I want, just a few bites of sweetness.

No Bake Makery is a cookbook of sweet little treats by Cristina Suarez Krumsick (Tweet or Like), in the book you can find the recipe for these Cinnalmond Bites, along with dozens of other little, two-bite, no-bake treats…Now, for the giveaway details!

To enter, simply leave a comment sharing what your favorite no-bake treats are, as well as a good contact email address. I will choose one winner at random Wednesday, May 15th. Unfortunately this giveaway is only open to US residents with non-PO Box addresses.  (Don’t fret, I have another giveaway schemed up that will be open to all :)

*A copy of No Bake Makery was provided to me by the publisher, as well as the giveaway copy. As per usual, all opinions are my own. 

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Cinnalmond Bites

From No Bake Makery

The recipe calls for almond milk, but I’m sure you could use whatever milk you’d like. These are also great from the freezer. 

12 chocolate sandwich cookies (Like JoesJoes or Oreos)

1 cup cinnamon toast cereal

5 tablespoons sliced almonds

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cups candy melts or candy bark (or temper some chocolate, if you dare)

Line a cookie sheet with wax (or parchment) paper and set aside.

In a food processor, process the cookies and cereal until fine crumbs form, about 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the almonds and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and process for another 30 seconds. Add the honey and almonds milk and process another 30 seconds. Transfer to a clean bowl.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (I chilled the dough for 30 minutes before beginning this step). Place on the prepared cookie sheet and chill another 45 minutes.

Roughly chop the remaining almonds and mix with the remaining cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Melt the candy coating according to package instructions. Dip balls into the chocolate and place back on the sheet, sprinkle with almond mixture, and chill until coating is set, about 1 hour. [/recipe]