Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake With Whipped Cream Cheese + Honey

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

Twenty-seven years ago today, I was born in Portland, Oregon to a warm-hearted midwesterner and a kind and reserved Greek island-dweller. It's funny how when you're a kid you can't even imagine spending a birthday apart from your parents, but then you get older, you move, sometimes far away, and you learn to live life without seeing them. I talk to my mom on the phone pretty much every day, barring any unexpected craziness, and we'll be talking today of course (and maybe even skype!), but I am definitely looking forward to the birthday that I'll be able to spend back home with them again. Nothing can replace the way my mom makes such a big deal about my "special day", or how my dad always looks so proud of me after I blow out the candles, even as a grown-up.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

But because I am far from them, and because I love baking, I made my own birthday cake again this year. Some may think that it's kind of lame to make your own birthday cake, but to them I say a hearty "pish-posh!" and wave my hand dismissively. There is nothing better than making your own birthday cake. Why? Because you get to put EVERYTHING YOU LIKE in it. And for me, that happens to be pumpkin, brown butter, cinnamon, coconut milk, honey, and whipped cream cheese. And as it turns out, all of those things put together makes pretty much the best cake ever.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

And I was extra-excited because I had been saving my sneak peak of Melina's pine & thyme honey from Crete, Greece for precisely this occasion. Available at the end of April, it brought a wonderfully sweet and herbal hint to the whipped cream cheese...and I may have also scooped a large amount directly from the jar and drizzled it all over my slice before eating it. A decision I still stand by.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

I used these striking plates from Q-Squared NYC's heritage collection for the weekend festivities, which brought an extra *pop* to the whole setup. I just love the way blue and orange contrast with each other, there's something wonderfully Mediterranean about that color scheme. The pattern reminded me of a lot of the ceramics you see for sale in Greece, except these plates were much lighter and less breakable than those, which is a blessing for someone with a slightly wobbly dish rack that *sometimes* falls into the sink. You'll be seeing more lovely wares from them again in a few weeks.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

Aaaaand lastly, I finally got around to updating the entirety of my favorite things tab. There's some new additions, and some updated photos for the staple items (i.e. more photos of the kitty playing with his cat scratch wheel. Hurray for cat photos!!! I will eventually add a dog toy of some sort to the list...Probably the one squeaky toy she has yet to completely destroy.) And to top off the festivities, my brother is in town this week so we're all going out to a comedy show tonight for a little birthday outing, and afterwards I plan on stuffing myself with the cupcakes he brought me from his pit-stop in San Francisco. It's going to be a delightful birthday, indeed; and I wish you all wonderful birthdays, as well, whenever they may be. And remember, making your own birthday cake does not a sad-sap make, instead it just assures that your birthday dessert will be as awesome as you are.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake Ingredients | Adventures in Cooking


Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake With Whipped Cream Cheese + Honey



Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake

1 cup butter
3 and 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup vegetable oil
(1) 15 oz can pureed pumpkin
4 eggs
2 and 1/2 cups raw cane sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned coconut milk
powdered sugar for garnish (optional)

Whipped Cream Cheese + Honey

3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
16 oz softened cream cheese

Honey | Adventures in Cooking

First, brown the butter. When making browned butter, it is best to use a stainless steel pan so that you can see the color of the butter change. Heat the butter in a large shallow frying pan over medium heat until melted. Swirl the pan around a bit every couple minutes to help it cook evenly. Over a period of several minutes, you'll notice the foam at the top of the butter start to change from light yellow to a dark tan. Once it reaches the dark tan stage and the butter looks light brown and golden, smell it. It should smell nutty and similar to toffee. Remove from heat and set aside.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger until well blended. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar, honey, warm brown butter, and oil at medium speed until the sugar appears to have dissolved slightly. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add the pumpkin and mix until smooth.

Whisk together the vanilla extract and coconut milk in a small bowl until combined, then add half of the coconut to the bowl, mixing at medium-low speed, and then add half of the flour mixture, and repeat. Once the ingredients have been incorporated, evenly distribute the cake batter between 3 well-greased and lightly floured 8-inch cake pans. Place the pans in the oven and bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until the cakes are golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allot the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before flipping them onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

While the cake is cooling, you can prepare the whipped cream cheese. Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment and whip the cream cheese at medium high speed until fluffy, add a tablespoon of the milk and a tablespoon of the honey, then allow it to whisk for another minute before repeating this process two more times. The cream cheese should look light and fluffy, kind of like a meringue. Once it reaches the desired texture (usually about 3 minutes), you can turn off the mixer.

Layer the whipped cream cheese between the first two layers of the cake, then garnish the top layer with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and serve immediately.



Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake | Adventures in Cooking


37 comments:

  1. Oh, yeah. This looks heavenly. And I love how you styled it! My birthday is a few months away yet, but I should make this cake anyway and use up the dang can of pumpkin puree in my pantry. Besides, I'm forbidden to make my own birthday cake by the guy, who bakes something sweet once a year just for me. Last year I asked him for Carey's Angel Food Cupcakes, which he executed like a boss. That was pretty rad. Sounds like you had a great day! Happy 27th!

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    1. I bet this would make for a tasty batch of cupcakes, too! And your man is so sweet, Jeremy is great with the grill but I don't think I've ever seen him do any baking aside from making cookies once or twice, and even then it was with much pleading from myself. But I understand, baking can be very tedious and tricky! Especially angel food cake, that's so awesome he was able to make them for you, such an awesome husband! :)

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  2. Ahh goodness, your photos are beyond gorgeous and Happy Birthday!! I wholeheartedly agree, I love making my own birthday cake, it's the best!

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    1. Yayyyyy for making your own bday cake!!!! It really is so much fun, and then everyone is all impressed when you pull out the cake at your birthday party and you can be all like "yeah...I made this." And then you eat it and it tastes like everything you love about cake. It's an all-around win!

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  3. happy birthday dear..yay to March baby and turned 27 this year too. I have yet to make my birthday cake although its way overdue. I love everything about this post and pictures, i cant stop looking.

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    1. Thank you so much, Dixya!!! 27 seems like it's the year you start to kind of feel like an actual grown-up, at least for me so far haha :)

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  4. Happy birthday!!! This is the perfect celebration cake. Love everything about it especially the brown butter part ;)

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    1. Haha, thank you Zainab!! Brown butter is my faaaaavorite, I just love the nutty and warm flavors it adds to pastries and cakes.

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  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Eva!!!!! I hope your birthday yesterday was as wonderful and perfect as this cake is! Your blog is such a joy to follow -- wishing you another year of beautiful foods and sights and times (and so that we can live them vicariously too!) Happy happy day! :)

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    1. Awww thank you, Cynthia!!! I think my favorite part of having a blog has been making friends with so many other bloggers, yourself included :) I'm so happy you enjoy following my blog as much as I enjoy following yours!

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  6. This cake is totally up my alley!! I love this recipe!!

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  7. Great! Love the cake, love your post!

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  8. this is MIND BOGGLINGLY BEAUTIFUL!

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    1. Awwww thank you Molly!!! You are the best!! <3

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  9. Damn, this cake is all sorts of gorgeous. Will you pretty pretty pretty please make me a special cake for my birthday someday!? And I don't think it is sad at all that you made your own cake. If you love cooking then it all makes sense to me. Hope you had a beautiful day my dear. Portland sure missed you...

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    1. You bet your buns I will!!! Here's hoping I'll be in town next year to make you the tastiest gluten-free cake a red-haired lass could ask for :)

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  10. OOOHHHHH this cake looks just awesome!! It is just marvelous! :)
    I am quite far (French girl who loves going on your blog..) to taste this cake, and I am not you could sent me a cake like that by postmail but anyway I will continue to follow your blog

    xx

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    1. Awww thank you my dear!!! I doubt the mail service would be gentle with the cake either, haha. It would likely come in a smushed cake-frosting ball of some kind! But luckily the recipe is here so you can make it and keep it perfectly intact :) Thank you so much for following!!

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  11. Happy birthday Eva!! Χρόνια πολλά!
    I wish you all the best and may you always be so creative and inspiring.
    I love your cake, it looks stunning.

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    1. Awww evharisto poli, Magda!!!! (I can never figure out how to make my keyboard type Greek, one of these days I'm going to sit down and figure it out, darn it!) Your words of kindness are very encouraging :)

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  12. Such a gorgeous cake! Sounds delicious to, happy birthday!

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  13. happy birthday to you! a lovely cake for yourself, so worth it!

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    1. Thank you, Yelle!! It was definitely worth the effort, so tasty! :)

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  14. pumpkin in march! you're such a rebel! it's a gorgeous and creative cake, eva. :)

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    1. Hahaha, thank you Grace!! I usually try to stay seasonal, but gosh darn it it's my birthday and I've been craving pumpkin for months haha :)

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  15. Awe! Happy birthday! I hope you get to celebrate with your parents soon.
    I am so happy that you're owning making your own cake. I always insist that my husband make my cake for me (mostly because I thought it was sad to make my own cake). I think I'll help him next year! ;)

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    1. Aw thank you, Puja!!! You should definitely lend a hand next year, and put some of your favorite sweets in it :)

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  16. Awe! Happy birthday! I hope you get to celebrate with your parents soon.
    I am so happy that you're owning making your own cake. I always insist that my husband make my cake for me (mostly because I thought it was sad to make my own cake). I think I'll help him next year! ;)

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  17. What a beautiful cake! Happiest of birthdays to you :)

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  18. Everything in this post is beautiful!!! Love the cake, and it's so sweet how your dad looks at you with pride. :D It's so amazing that our parents always look at us the same way--even when we're adults!

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  19. these photos are incredible...and the cake looks amazing. wow, yeah, just wow.

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  20. Oh my gosh this does look and sound delish. I don't think I've ever seen pumpkin in a tin here in Bunbury, Western Australia, do you think I could replace it with fresh mashed/steamed pumpkin??

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  21. Hi!!!I've just found your blog and I love it!!! You are such an artist!!!
    =) Greetings from Spain!! =)

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  22. This is so gorgeous !! I'm in love with it ;))

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