Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Speculoos Cream Cheese Frosting

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Not one to be dressing up in costumes and doing up the home, I do relish the opportunity to make a themed cake. This one, however, was done at the last minute. Having overslept, this cake only started at noon, came out of the oven at 3, then was totally dressed by 6... much too late to shoot in daylight (contrary to what my kids think ... I do not only bake for Instagram). Still, not a bad effort.

The frosting though, was an interesting story. I knew I wanted to incorporate Biscoff aka Speculoos aka cookie butter in this cake, and at first it was going to be the crust, having made a crusted cake before here, where it was so popular with the family. But remember the oversleeping part? Well, there was no time to make this happen at 5pm. Besides, although I had 'stock' Italian meringue buttercream (it keeps well for 10-14 days refrigerated) and 'stock' ganache, I didn't have anything to sandwich these cake layers. Insert clipart of lightbulb here. So I grabbed the processor, chucked the cookies in there, then added some cream cheese and a bit of butter and voilà ... Speculoos Cream Cheese Frosting was born, in under 5 minutes. Including light bulb moment ;)

Not surprisingly, that was the highlight of the cake. That being said, I do really enjoy the moist and flavorful cake just on its own, which is now beside me with my coffee as I write this post. It could also be a tea cake, made in a brownie pan with some streusel and ... aha ... another lightbulb moment! Though this time, I heard the 'Intel inside' tune in my head. LOL! Another post for that idea coming up soon :)

The cake is easy to put together and yes, may require three bowls, but it's worth it. And if, like me, you like it spiced, go ahead and add that cinnamon, there are so many proven benefits for that bark. It's loaded with anti oxidants, is an anti inflammatory, and may cut the risk of heart disease. Fortunately, we get 'fresh' bark from Manado, where my Mom comes from. Nutmeg, mace, cloves and anise are also grown there and now you understand why this Spice Islander shoves a whole lot of spices everywhere. So now, after all this rambling, I am delighted to give you the recipe for my Pepon Cake...

What?? Pepon? Yes, yes, it's one and the same. The word pumpkin originates from 'pepon', a Greek word to mean 'large melon'. Then the French mutated it to 'pompon', then the Brits said 'pumpion' and finally in America as the colonies settled in, the word 'pumpkin' came to be. 

Pepon (Pumpkin) Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp Fuel with Flavour's Pumpkin Spice
I added 2 more tbsp of cinnamon because I love it ;)
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 cups pumpkin purée
3/4 cups milk
3 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature

1. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, salt, pumpkin spice, more cinnamon if you're so inclined, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin purée, milk and vanilla, and set this aside as well.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until one has fully incorporated into the batter before you add the next.

6. Crank the oven to 350F. It'll be ready on time, I promise!
7. Now add the pumpkin purée mix into the batter.
8. In 2 additions on low speed, fold the dry ingredients in, mixing just enough to work in the flour, taking care not to over mix.
9. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until it passes the skewer test. 
10. Rest the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting the cake out to cool completely.

Speculoos Cream Cheese Frosting
12 Speculoos / Biscoff / Cookie Butter Cookies
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup butter

1. In a food processor, blitz the cookies to coarse crumbs. 
2. Add the cream cheese and butter, mix until it is even. 

Although this is great for between the layers, the coarse texture and thick consistency may not work in the cake's exterior. Use this Italian meringue buttercream instead.

All treats and no tricks this time! Happy Halloween!

Dare I show you my cake innards? Well we are baring it all in this pic, where a scoop of Speculoos cream cheese frosting is sitting pretty on a layer of cake before being spread out to sandwich the next layer. Love how the cookie bits give it that crunchy texture!

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