Did you miss me?
2013 has been a bit of a rough year for me, and the lack of posts here shows it.
I suffered a knee injury back in January that unfortunately took over my life until just the last few weeks. It’s amazing how something rather simple takes on a life of it’s own!
I’m happy to be in working order again and back in the kitchen! I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen recently, and have quite a few things to share. I’m baking for fun less than I used to simply because I’ve started a carb cycling diet and having baked goodies around the house is more than I can handle. I still bake for family and friends when asked, so I’ll still have some things to share. I’ve been cooking a lot more- and trying to go about it in the healthiest way I can. I’ve got some great recipes to share and I’m excited to do it.
I’m starting with a Pumpkin Spice cake I made twice this week. Once for a paying customer, once for my mom’s birthday. I made it exactly as the recipe called for the first time, and changed a few things up the second time around to see if I could make it slightly less unhealthy. I’m happy to report that both cakes tasted fantastic. I found the cake recipe on the Tastespotting blog via Pinterest a few days ago and am so, so happy I did! The Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the same version I’ve made many times using Sweetapolita’s recipe, Her tutorial is amazing..I highly recommend it, as I’ve encountered every issue she explains…and having read her tutorial again and again, I’m sure she’s saved me from tossing several batches of buttercream.
My mom’s office requested a cake for their monthly birthday party that just happened to coincide with Halloween. I was given free reign as far as the flavors and design of the cake went…and this is what I came up with.
Sorry about the poor picture quality..I had to settle for a pic my mom sent me from the party. I ended up making a pumpkin spice cake with salted caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache. This is the unedited version of the recipe, with about 9000 grams of sugar per serving. The cake got rave reviews from my mom’s coworkers, and the piece I got after the fact was insanely good…which is why I decided to make the cake again a few days later, with a few small changes.
This cake was a slightly healthier version of the first- I substituted white wheat flour for the AP in the original recipe, and I used the Truvia baking blend instead of the granulated sugar. This was my first attempt at using both the wheat flour and the baking blend in a cake, and I’m pleased to say that the cake didn’t taste any different from the first. Both cakes were dense but moist and had an incredible flavor from the spices used. I’m not by any means calling this healthy, as there is still quite a bit of sugar in the frosting…I just wasn’t willing to experiment with the sugar substitute in that way just yet.
I’m not one of those people who do pumpkin spice everything the minute the weather starts to change..in fact I’m not even a big fan of pumpkin pie. This cake, though, is one of my new favorites! I hope you like it as much as I do!
Pumpkin Spice Cake adapted from the Tastespotting Blog
3 cups White Wheat Flour (or All Purpose)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup Truvia baking blend (or 1 cup granulated sugar)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch pans with non-stick spray and parchment paper. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine butter, brown sugar and Truvia in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Continue beating on low speed and add eggs one at a time, then add pumpkin and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add dry ingredients in two additions, beating on low speed until just combined.
Divide batter between prepared pans- I weigh mine to ensure they are equal- about 1 ½ lbs each. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool layers in the pan on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before turning cakes out of the pan and removing parchment paper. Let cool completely before trimming or frosting.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream from Sweetapolita– Please read her tutorial. It will save you many, many headaches and she explains the process far better than I…and has pretty pictures to help you out!
10 large egg whites
2 ½ cups sugar
6 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Other flavoring as desired ( I used the Salted Caramel Sauce from Always With Butter)
Separate eggs, being careful to not get any yolk in with the whites. The slightest bit will make it impossible to get a good meringue base. Cut butter into cubes, and let sit out to soften a bit. Butter should be cool, but not cold and hard.
Wipe the inside of the mixer bowl and the whisk attachment with a bit of lemon juice on a paper towel to eliminate any traces of grease that will interfere with your meringue.
Combine egg whites and sugar in mixer bowl, and stir until combined. Heat over a pot of simmering water, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and temperature reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. (Be careful not to let water boil…you’ll get egg whites cooked to the side of your bowl. Trust me.)
Place bowl on mixer stand and beat on medium to high speed until meringue is thick and glossy, and the bowl no longer feels warm to the touch.
Switch to the paddle attachment and begin to mix on low speed. Add butter, 1-2 cubes at a time until incorporated. Your meringue will get runny, don’t panic. After all of the butter is added, keep mixing until it comes together. It can take some time, but it will happen. This is where the Sweetapolita tutorial saved me from tossing several batches of buttercream. It can appear curdled or too runny, but if you let it mix long enough it will be fine. Once it comes together, add the vanilla and any additional flavorings, then turn the mixer to medium-high and beat until smooth.
Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container, and let come to room temperature. Re-whip if necessary.
What a great combination of flavors this is. I hope you’ll try it out…you won’t be sorry!