As many of you know, we love to bake. And baking is especially enjoyable during the fall, when the weather is cool and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice take on fresh scents that beckon to the holidays. We’ve been baking with pumpkin lately, experimenting with various cake recipes for a bake-off we participated in.
We took home second place to a delicious Italian cream cake, but had a blast. If you like pumpkin, cream cheese, and pecans, give this simple recipe a try. You don’t even have to cream butter and sugar together, so have no fear! This recipe is easy and delicious.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (we use canola)
4 large eggs
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin (we use Libby brand pumpkin)
1 (8-oz.) package full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 cups pecan halves
Vegetable cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. TIP: As a general rule, use shortening to grease cake pans. Don’t forget to flour them too!
- Prepare the cake: Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a bowl until well blended.
- Beat together the sugar and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add all 4 eggs, and beat until blended. Add flour mixture, and beat until blended. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake at 350° for 25 to 27 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from the pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
- Once the cakes are completely cool to the touch, prepare the frosting: Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until blended. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. TIP: Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the top of the cake layer before putting the rest of the frosting on the layer. This is called a crumb coat, and will help keep the tender cake from tearing as you frost it.
- Prepare the pecans: Stir together the corn syrup and sugar. (Mixture is very thick.) Stir in pecans. (This wasn’t super easy for me because the syrup mixture was so thick, but don’t worry. The syrup-sugar mixture will melt in the oven and coat everything completely then.) Coat a piece of parchment paper in a jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, and spread pecans on parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the pecans from the oven, and spread into a single layer using a fork. Let cool completely. Use the pecans to decorate the cake as desired.