By Libbie Summers (recipe from my book, Sweet and Vicious-baking with attitude, Rizzoli 2014)
Photography by Anna Heritage
Assisted by Candace Brower
Thanksgiving pumpkin pie…expected.
Thanksgiving Salty Pumpkin Spice Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting…astounded.
Salty Pumpkin Spice Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cayenne
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
1⁄2 cup plain yogurt (nonfat works fine, but I prefer whole Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe to follow)
Fall Leaves for decorating, washed and dried
For Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
1⁄2 cup milk
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the four, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add the pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add the “our mixture and mix until combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared baking pans. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 20-30 minutes) Let the cakes cool in their pans while you prepare the frosting. Frost in between the layers of cake leaving the sides without frosting. Decorate with beautiful leaves and serve. Remove leaves before slicing.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and stir in the milk. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the cooled caramel mixture and beat until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla paste and beat for 1 minute.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use, bring to room temperature and beat until creamy. Add a little confectioners’ sugar if needed to bring the frosting back to a creamy consistency.
If you’d like to kick up the heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the finished frosting.