Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin Birthday Cake

This week, one of my closest friends at school turned 20 years old.  Since it's October and officially fall now, I decided to make her a pumpkin cake:)

I had been itching to make something with pumpkin for a few weeks now.  Finally, after 3 Sundays of staring longingly at the baking aisle in Trader Joes, hoping that those bright orange cans of pumpkin would materialize, they finally arrived!  If there had been a Trader Joes employee nearby, I probably would have hugged them.  

The batter was super smooth, so I figured that the cake would be pretty moist.  and it definitely didn't disappoint! the pumpkin certainly adds to both the flavor and the texture of the cake:) 

and of course, the most fun part of baking a cake (in my opinion) is the frosting.  Since this cake wasn't too sweet, i decided to make a chocolate cream cheese frosting to go with it.

The cream cheese was slightly tangy, which complements the soft flavors of the pumpkin, and the chocolate added some sweetness to the cake as a whole.

and that officially ends my attempt at being a fancy food critic:)

Coming back to the original point of the post, yay for birthdays!

Pumpkin Birthday Cake (recipe adapted from Food and Wine):

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2   teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup 2% milk

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
4 cups confectioners' sugar

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9 x 13 pan, or two 8 inch round cake pans.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Continue to beat the eggs while incorporating the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla extract.  Alternate between sifting in the flour mixture and the milk, until the batter is smooth.  Pour the batter into the cake pan(s) and back for 35 to 40 minutes.  Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes before lifting out of the pan.   Cool for another 30 minutes before frosting.

To make the frosting:
Combine the softened butter, cream cheese and cocoa powder.  Add in the confectioners' sugar in 1/2 cup increments, while beating with an electric mixer.  Using a high speed on the electric mixer, beat the frosting until it resembles the desired consistency.

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