Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

Frost is on the pumpkin, but translated to Mississippi terms, it's raining cats and dogs. I hold firm to my original instinct that spring is my favorite season, but fall comes in at a very close second. The gray English days, the feeling that the world is slowly falling asleep, the beautiful foliage, and the coziness of an evening fire come together for one of the most distinctive times of year.

Last night was particularly spooky: Kearney has discovered the grandeur of the outdoors in the backyard. As soon as I return home in the afternoons, Kearney bolts to the backdoor and begs, whines, pleads, and insists that he be let outside RIGHT NOW. He has very important things to take care of out there. So far the score is Kearney: 1, lizards: 1.

I suppose along with his newfound freedom, Kearney has developed a territory all his own that encompasses the back yard. So at 2 this morning, when he discovered another cat in his territory, Kearney was none too pleased. The noises that came out of that cat raised goosebumps on my arms and the back of my neck. Woken from a deep sleep, my first instinct was to reach for the gun: there must be a zombie in the house. I soon realized it was just Kearney, as Mike was already out of bed and in the living room, trying to placate the feline. I fell back asleep with visions of the big tabby arched on top of a pumpkin.

So I decided to bake this cake.

And the smells this cake emits are almost even better than the taste. Even Mike came in wondering what the heavenly aroma was. And from his adventures in scuba diving, Mike can't smell a damn thing.

The most sincere form of flattery is imitation, so my friend over at The Food Librarian should be sincerely flattered. Like me, she loves bundt cakes and has started I Like Big Bundts: 30 Days of Bundt Cakes leading up to National Bundt Day on November 15th. It's worth the click to see the logo.

For cake
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-ounce can; not pie filling)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

For icing
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Special equipment: a 10-inch nonstick bundt pan (3 quart)

Make cake:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bundt pan generously, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together flour (2 1/4 cups), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.

Beat butter (1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.

Make icing:
While cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk and confectioners sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.

Cooks' note:
Cake can be made 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Inspiration courtesy of The Food Librarian.

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious.



Made by Lena