Friday, August 24, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Banana Rum Cream Frosting

I have a tenuous relationship with pumpkin.

Growing up, we lived one town over from 'The Pumpkin Capital of the World".  Morton, IL celebrates the 'Pumpkin Festival' every September via 'punkin chunkin', a pumpkin pancake eating contest, pumpkin chili, doughnuts, shakes, ice cream etc...all merrily prepared and consumed by the kiloton.  Every fall, people in central Illinois go gaga for pumpkin.

Pumpkin ice cream aside, I haven't been sold. I've been duped by the promises of pumpkin too many times. Bland. Muddy. Gummy...gross. I really wanted to love pumpkin, I did. But I always felt like the spices overwhelmed whatever warm, happy flavor pumpkin brought to the dish. Still, I keep trying. Because when pumpkin is right, it's so right. Unfortunately, last year, my shaky relationship with Pumpkin was calculabley derailed by a pumpkin pie I made that, unfortunately, Rachel was present to taste.

There has been one can (yes, can) of pumpkin staring me down in my pantry ever since. Some rum, bananas and caramel were also languishing. After referring to Bon Appetit, I decided that these willing participants could likely make a Pumpkin Party that even I would want to attend. And guess what? Party we did. This cake is just the right amount of bright, boozy, smoky, tangy goodness. Why aren't banana and pumpkin paired often? The mellow nutty flavors blend so well.

Don't take my word for it.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Banana Rum Cream Frosting
adapted from Bon Appetit


3 cups sifted cake flour (I'm lazy and just measure out less than a cup each time, and whisk vigorously afterwards)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Banana Rum icing and fruit and walnut filling
1 17-ounce jar caramel sauce
4 tablespoons dark rum
2 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces, room temperature

(honesty: didn't use these two)
12 tablespoons dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup rum

1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted, chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange peel

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift first 8 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla; beat until blended. Gradually add dry ingredients; beat just until incorporated. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth top with spatula.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks. Run small knife around cakes to loosen. While the cake is still in the pan, run dental floss parallel to the pan to cut the dome off the cakes. Set domes aside for snacking Borrowers. Turn cakes out onto racks.

Stir rum, raisins, and dried cranberries in small saucepan over low heat just until warm, about 1 minute. Or don't. Do whatever you want. I didn't, and I was still happy with me cake. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Drain, reserving rum and fruit separately.

Warm caramel sauce in small saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Mix in rum. Beat in mashed bananas. Cool. When cold, beat whipping cream and cream cheese in small bowl until smooth, and firm peaks form. Fold in caramel sauce. Beat and beat until all combined, firm, and wonderful.

Spread caramel-cream filling over cut top of one of the cakes. Sprinkle with nuts, rum-soaked craisins...whatever. Top with second cake layer, cut side down; press to adhere. Brush top of cake with remaining rum; let stand 10 minutes to allow rum to soak in.
Using rubber spatula, spread remaining icing evenly over sides and top of cake. Sprinkle with fruit or nuts if you desire. Cover cake with cake dome and chill at least 6 hours.

kristen mrdjanov


Yes! Thanks for the love!

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