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]

 

 

 

 

All the Pumpkin!

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I have some pumpkin plans for the blog this month but, until I get that stuff baked up, here’s a round-up of ALL THE PUMPKIN things on the blog.

Get yo’ pumpkin on!

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Buns

Soft Pumpkin Sandwich Buns

Malted Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Brown Butter Malt Donuts

Maple Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream

Pumpkin Semifreddo

Pumpkin Beer Waffles

Pumpkin Bread with Bourbon Icing

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Soft Pumpkin Sandwich Buns

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So, originally this post was supposed to be a pie…but it turned into a swamp of sour cherries and melted crumble topping, despite the perfect, flaky crust. I mean, we still ate it…but, I couldn’t bring myself to share that fugly mess.

So, I made these tender buns (haha, tender buns…I’m 5). Soft, little buns perfect for post-Thanksgiving sandwicher-y and flavored with Autumn’s ever-present flavor, pumpkin. I made these buns in advance for next Thursday’s turkey burger-ing. I think I may have mentioned before that we are not doing it up Thanksgiving-style this year, but instead making an abbreviated turkey-full dinner and then going to see Catching Fire because I REALLY want to (even though I suspect Sean is lukewarm about it, he’s also nice).

Anyway, I’m going to build these burgers, that taste like thanksgiving in a few bites, on these here buns. I’m excited about it.

Back-to-back bread posts must mean it’s a CARB-PARTY.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Soft Pumpkin Sandwich Buns

Makes about 12, 2.5 ounce buns

These bun can be made in advance (weeks!) and popped into the freezer. It takes an hour or two for them to defrost at room temperature and they are still delicious. I like to split them, spread with a little butter, and toast ‘em up before building burgers or sandwiches. 

3/4 cup warm milk (about 100˚F)

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons yeast

1 large egg

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie mix)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

egg wash: 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon cream

black sesame seeds for sprinkling

Stir together the warm milk, honey, and yeast. Set aside until foamy.

Whisk the egg with the pumpkin and cooled, melted butter in a small bowl.

In a mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour with the yeast + milk mixture, and the pumkin mixture. Turn the mixture on medium and mix for 8 minutes. The dough will be very sticky, we want it this way.

On a well-floured surface turn out the dough and knead it about 5-10 times, adding flour as needed to handle. The less flour you add the more tender and soft the buns will be. Place the dough ball in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic. Allow to rise until doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Prep two baking sheets by lining with parchment.

Punch down the dough and divide it into equal pieces—I use a scale for this and go for 2.5 ounce buns. Roll each dough piece into a ball and set on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the buns with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Preheat the oven to 400˚F and bake 1 pan at a time for about 15 minutes, or until the buns sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving or freezing. [/recipe]