Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's Baking Time; Pumpkin Cake.

Ok, so couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to a friend retirement birthday party. The dinner was held at a the Ollin Farm here in Longmont. Under a heated tent the guests were seated in round tables of about eight people each. Live music featured by a very talented guitar player. The food was prepared on site by a Chef and his team, using many of the fresh produce from the farm, which was wonderful and right there with the idea to always use local whenever possible.
The food was outstanding! I don't remember when was the last time I had such a wonderful meal, but I am pretty sure was in my parents kitchen back in Italy! The vegetables were cooked perfectly, the meat was to die for. And of course after all the good food and the laughter, the desserts were served. Oh my oh my! Among pastries and hot coffee there were two three layers round cakes. One was a chocolate and I think toffee crunch of some sort, the other was a Pumpkin cake. I shamelessly asked for both! I couldn't resist, I needed to taste them and see if I could get some new idea.
The chocolate cake was very good, moist, tender and the frosting light and flavorful, but the pumpkin one really amazed me. I was expecting a good cake and it was one of the best cake in its category, I have had. It was moist and light and at the same time dense, just the right amount of spices, the frosting was real buttercream, not too sweet, real butter buttery and light. It reminded me of a Buttercream I use for a sour cream chocolate cake, that I discovered few years ago, while I was on a mission to find the best chocolate cake.
I have been obsessed with that cake since then. I never made a pumpkin cake so I researched little bit on the net to see if any of the many recipes would caught my attention. I found one on the Libbys web site. Its a sour cream pumpkin cake, the original recipe is for a bundt pan, but I baked it into a three nine inches round pans. The cake itself baked very nicely, and is tender and light. Unfortunately I made the mistake of overbeating the batter after I added the dry ingredients, and the cake had tunnels, you know holes all over the baked cake that happen when the mix is overworked etc. I wanted my son to have some fun, he was feeling lonely and bored because none of his friends were available to play with him that day. He helped measuring all the dry ingredients, in which he is really good at, but I did get distracted in the process and oops! Anyway the cake turned out tasty and suitable for the next step: Frosting it. I made the Buttercream I have been making for the past three years, from the Baking Illustrated book, called "Rich Vanilla Buttercream Frosting". I also made different variations like caramel or coffee, it is very versatile. To the original formula I added about a cup of fresh pumpkin puree' and lots of pumpkin spices.
The final product was tasty and satisfactory, not at all sweet and rich in taste and texture. There are few things that I will change next time, like making sure I finish the batter by hand instead the stand mixer, bake the layers in 2 round pans but cut each of the layer in half, I liked the fact that the layer of the original cake were thinner, more like a torte. I am happy with the overall result, but I will keep baking until I bake the perfect pumpkin cake, same as I did for the chocolate one, I will need lots of tasters! Do I see hands in the air??

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