One of my favorite bands, Paramore, is playing in Nashville tonight. Originally when I had planned on going out of town for Thanksgiving, I was going to stop and see that show on my way out. Unfortunately that is no longer my plan as I decided to stay put and save money. I did see them with No Doubt a couple years back and with Jimmy Eat World before that so it’s not too heart breaking – except that they are the headliners this time. You better believe I will be cooking dinner tonight while dancing around to their music, pretending I’m there. Not that that’s different from a normal day in my kitchen…
In other news, today is National Cake Day! With Thanksgiving nearly upon us I am throwing as much pumpkin at you as I possibly can, including these mini cakes. These individual cakes are made by cutting rounds from a thin sheet cake. The rounds are layered and frosted with a caramel cream cheese frosting and then topping with caramel sauce and candied pecans, resulting in eyegasms. Who wouldn’t want their own personal mini cake?
You can use the leftover cake scraps to make cake balls or if you’d prefer to avoid scraps, make these into cupcakes instead.
One year ago: Arugula Pesto Pasta
Three years ago: Caramel Apple Pie
CARAMEL FROSTED PUMPKIN MINI CAKES
Makes 6 mini cakes
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp heavy cream
8 oz. cream cheese, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 + 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 + 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 + 2 Tbsp cup vegetable oil
Half of a 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup crushed pecans
1 egg white
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Caramel sauce, to drizzle
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Cook over moderate heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Transfer the caramel to a medium bowl and using an electric mixer, beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly and comes together, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions, until silky. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours.
- Meanwhile: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 15×10-inch sheet cake pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.
- In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches, beating well between additions.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the tops. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the Pecan Topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt. Whisk egg white until frothy and discard about half. Add the nuts. Toss until well coated. Add dry ingredients and stir well.
- Spread nuts on a cookie sheet lined with foil, in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Once cool- break the pecans apart and reserve for topping the cake.
- Using a 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, carefully cut 12 rounds from the cooled sheet cake (3 by 4).
- Top 6 rounds with 1 tablespoon of frosting and cover with remaining rounds. Spread each cake with frosting, coating top and sides. Garnish with candied pecans and caramel sauce. (You may end up with extra candied pecans.)
Source: Adapted slightly from The Baker Chick.