Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Caramelized Nuts

Pumpkin is one of my favorite fall flavors, one that I occasionally like to use during other seasons. That’s one reason why I like canned pumpkin – it’s available year-round and it’s quicker and easier than using homemade pumpkin purée. I’d like to make my own pumpkin purée someday, but for now I’ll stick with the canned stuff.

This cake is chock full of pumpkin flavor, and the cream cheese frosting and caramelized nuts add a nice bit of sweetness and crunch.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Caramelized Nuts

Pumpkin Cake 1

 

 

Pumpkin Cake 2

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (9 ounces) pumpkin purée
  • cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • large eggs (room temperature), yolks and whites separated 

Frosting

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (AKA confectioner’s sugar)
  • pinch of cardamom

Caramelized Nuts

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used pecans and walnuts), crushed

Instructions

  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper, and spray the paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.
  3. Use handheld or stand mixture to mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and salt. Add egg yolks one at a time.
  4. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites until they’re foamy and white in color. Fold into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick or knife. You can cover the edges with tin foil and cook longer if the middle is not quite done. Let the cake sit in the pan for 20 minutes after you take it out of the oven, then carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a surface that will make it easy to frost.
  7. Make the frosting: Use handheld or stand mixture to mix the butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the cardamom and mix until incorporated.
  8. Caramelize the nuts: In a small saucepan, caramelize 1 tbsp sugar, moving it around in the pan frequently so it doesn’t burn. Once it’s turned a nice golden brown, add 1 tbsp of butter and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens a bit. Add the nuts and stir to coat. Pour nuts onto parchment paper-lined plate to cool.
  9. Once the cake has fully cooled, frost to your liking, then sprinkle the caramelized nuts on top.

Source: Adapted from Food 52.

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