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

Buttermilk Angel Biscuits

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Hey, there! While I am away snuggling this brand new babe and trying to navigate parenthood (aka keep him alive) I’ve asked a few friendly bloggers to share a recipe with you. Next up is one of my favorite storytellers with just enough snarky attitude to make me comfortable, Erika of Southern Soufflé

Buttermilk Angel Biscuits by Erika Council

First, let me say how much I adore Cindy.. aka my “sista in snark” and I’m honored that she would allow me to guest post on her wonderful space.

Of course I had to bring biscuits to this guest posting party.

Light fluffy buttermilk angel biscuits to celebrate the angels that are baby boys..

Angel Biscuits are a cross between yeast rolls and grandma’s buttermilk biscuits and (in the south) are sometimes called Bride Biscuits.

Buttermilk Angel Biscuits by Erika Council

Growing up, there was a saying. “The chicken bathes while the biscuits rise” This meant your chicken only needed to sit in that buttermilk for as long as the angel biscuits needed to rise.

But, this was normally on a Sunday and Sunday morning Granny would make those biscuits and set about preparing her fried chicken then we would head to church. On a good day.. a  good Southern Baptist Methodist AME Zion day, church would end as the sun was going down. So I’d be dammed if them biscuits hadn’t risen to hell and back by the time we got home.  So our Sunday Buttermilk fried chicken and biscuits were always heavenly.

Buttermilk Angel Biscuits by Erika Council

Angel Biscuits were also what we took celebrate a new life, so I thought I’d keep the tradition going and make some in honor of Cindy and Sean’s little angel.

With the help of my angel who has become a very curious 3 year old green bean hater, that some days finds issues with wearing pants and is not cool with potty training.  So yes, he will be a grown man wearing pull-ups because I am losing that battle, and my husband thinks it’s all funny so I’ll blame him.

Boys are one of the sweetest most precious of miracles. (Don’t tell my teenage daughter I said that because right now she hates everything) They bring non-stop action and the warmest of hugs and snuggles.

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And bugs and dirt and other things they find in the garage or outside.

“Here Mommy.. Look.. See”

My son has developed my love for biscuits. He stands at my legs and peeks over the table every time I make them. Which of course makes him the first in line to get one fresh out of the oven.

These are little more time consuming then your simple “self rising flour” cream biscuits that I normally favor.  However, the flaky buttery centers are well worth “waiting out the rise” .

Buttermilk Angel Biscuits by Erika Council

Much love and all the hugs and kisses to Cindy…

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Buttermilk Angel Biscuits

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp)

¼ cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp. warm water (105- 110 degrees)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ cup of shortening

½ cup butter

1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Dissovle yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Cut in the shortening and butter by breaking into pieces and scattering over the flour mixture. Work in by rubbing fingers together in a snapping motion (or use a pastry cutter) until mixture looks like crumbled feta cheese.

Make a well in the center of the bowl. Now add the yeast mixture to the 1 cup of buttermilk. Then stir in the yeast/buttermilk mixture just enough that the dough leaves the side of the bowl and ingredients are incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, add flour to your hands and proceed to knead the dough about 10 -15 times. Sprinkle with more flour if the dough becomes too sticky.

Pat the dough out to ½ inch thickness (using your hands), cut the biscuits out using floured biscuit cutters (mine are 2 inch cutters). Place each biscuit onto ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart cover with tea towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes (or until doubled in size).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted butter and serve while hot. [/recipe]