This is a friendly reminder that it is, in fact, October. That means the temperature should be below 90F. Can you get it together so we can enjoy fall baking, pumpkins, sweaters and boots?
I don’t know where you are but I can almost guarantee it’s not hotter than Southern California was this weekend. Seriously, it was the first weekend of October, and it felt like summer. I went kayaking. It was breezy, hot and perfect. Then I wore a dress to dinner, with only a tiny cardigan, and had a rack of lamb. It was delightful.
I also baked a cake.
I won’t lie, the temperature was slightly less than perfect for cake, but it happened anyway. And since it’s October, I finally allowed myself to give in to the pumpkin season. But in the spirit of moderation, I made a tiny cake.
6 inches, 2 layers and wonderful.
Full sized layer cakes can be too much. 6 inch cakes are my favorite.
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cinnamon Apple Filling
cake adapted from All Recipes
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 apple, diced
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rum (optional)
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 cups powdered sugar
First make the cake. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Using a mixer, beat together sugar, oil, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Add eggs one at a time, beating one minute after each. Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined. Pour batter into 2 6-inch round cake pans greased, flours and lined with parchment paper. Bake about 30 minutes (this will vary depending on your oven, start checking after 25 minutes) or until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool completely. (Note: you can make the cake a day in advance, just be sure to cover with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out)
Next make the filling. Melt butter in a pan, then add apples, cinnamon and sugar. Stir to combine and allow to cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Add rum and cook for an additional minute or two, or until all the liquid is gone. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
Next make the frosting, beat together butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Add powdered sugar until you get desired sweetness and texture. You want it to be firm enough to hold, but not so thick you can’t spread it. Set aside.
Now assemble the cake. Level off each of the layers using a serrated knife or cake leveler. Place one of the layers crumb-side down on a plate or cake circle, put a few pieces of parchment paper along the edges to keep your plate/cake circle clean. Put some of the frosting in a ziplock back and cut off a corner. Pipe some frosting around the edge to create a barrier for the apples (you don’t want them falling all over the place). Like this:
Next, place the apples in the center, spread them as evenly and possible (because no one wants a crooked cake).
Then place the second layer on top, crumb side down.
And then frost! Remember to do a crumb coat first. Don’t worry about getting too fancy, with a thick enough coat of frosting you can grab a spoon and make awesome swirls…
I’m totally in love with this type of frosting decor. It’s a little bit hap-hazard but still nice looking. And if we’re being honest, I totally want my wedding cake frosted like that with just a few flowers on it… but back to fall…
Pumpkin. Apple. Spices. What’s more fall-like than that?
So go ahead make yourself a little cake (or just double the recipe if you want to make the standard 9 inch layer cake). If California would get with the program, I think I’d enjoy Fall flavors a little bit more.
Not to jump the gun, but I can’t wait til December, at which point gingerbread will be appropriate. In the meantime let’s enjoy the Fall with flavors like pumpkin and apple.
Also, let’s not forget, I go to Peru in exactly 5 weeks, where it will be summer! Talk about seasonal confusion!
What’s on your Fall agenda?