Fall Pumpkin Cake

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Fall is here…. The only thing is that I’m in Miami… So fall is…well, nice weather, with soft air, and less humidity. And it gets a little bit colder and nights. But not much leaves fall from the trees, or boots, sweaters and cute beanies.

But still, its fall and fall is pumpkin. Pumpkin decorations, pumpkin colored everything, and of course, pumpkin cake. And I LOVE pumpkin cake.

I’ve tried so many recipes, and this one is for sure the best. It’s from the book Layered by Tessa Huff. Please check out this book, if you love cake, you’ll love this book.

I filled and frosted this cake with maple syrup buttercream, that it’s only adding half a cup of maple syrup to my basic Italian merengue buttercream recipe. You can also try it with cream cheese buttercream, my daughter’s favorite.

In our YouTube channel, we have a tutorial for beautiful fall cake made with this recipe and decorated with buttercream and gum paste leaves, check it out!

 

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Brown Sugar Pumpkin Cake

From the book Layered by Tessa Huff

 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon salt

¼ ground cloves

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoon grape seed oil. (I used vegetable oil and it came out lovely)

1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar

4 large eggs

2 cups pumpkin puree.

 

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans and set aside. Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar for about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, one at a time.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing well in between. Just as the last streaks of flour begin to disappear, stop the mixer. Add in the pumpkin and mix until combined.

Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans. Once cool, carefully slice each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife to create four even layers.

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Our Signature Amaretto and caramelized almonds wedding cake

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Our signature Cake.


I always say that the time preparing a wedding or any other event is often more fun than the event itself. This is certainly true for the part when you do the cake tastings. Who doesn’t like a plate full of different cake and frosting flavors to combine and taste.

But no matter how many of this tastings I did, and how many flavors I presented, the Amaretto cake with caramelized almonds was always the favorite, always our signature cake.


The cake itself is a white sour cream cake you can use as base for many other flavors, or delicious as it is. The amaretto flavor is infused thru the syrup, and the filling, and of course, the caramelized almonds makes it memorable.


Here is how we put together our signature cake.




Sour cream White Cake:

I found this recipe maybe 10 years ago in www.cakecentral.com and it’s been one of my favorites, specially for wedding cakes.



INGREDIENTS

· 1 box white cake mix

· 1 cup all-purpose flour

· 1 cup granulated sugar

· 1/2 tsp salt

· 4 egg whites

· 1 cup water

· ¼ cup vegetable oil

· 1 cup sour cream

· 2 tsp vanilla extract



INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Butter and flour two 8" cake rounds

3. Combine all dry ingredients and whisk together.

4. Add wet ingredients and mix until combined.

5.I use my KitchenAid on low for 2 minutes but you can also do this by hand.

6.Divide the batter between the pans and bake for approximately 50 minutes.

7.Cool in pans on wire rack for 10mins, then turn cakes out onto wire racks to cool completely.


















Amaretto Italian Merengue Buttercream:

The queen of all buttercreams, and my absolute favorite

Serves: 700g or enough for 24 cupcakes or 1, double tier layer cake

Ingredients

· 2 cups sugar (375g), divided

· ⅔ cup water (150g)

· 5 large egg whites (150g)

· pinch salt

· pinch cream of tartar

· 2 cups butter, cubed (4 sticks or 1 pound), cool but not cold

· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

· 1 once amaretto liquor, or to taste.

Instructions

1. You want to make sure that you have everything measured out and ready to go. You also want to make sure that your mixing bowl is clean and free of any residual fat.

2. Mix half of the sugar with the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir just until the sugar dissolves. When your sugar starts to bubble begin whipping your egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. You can add a pinch of salt and/or cream of tartar for stability if you wish. When your eggs begin to look frothy, slowly begin adding your sugar, whipping constantly on medium-high.

3. Continue whipping your egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Ideally your meringue should reach stiff peaks at the same time that your sugar syrup reaches 235 F. Don’t go anywhere! Sugar will reach the temperature very slow, but then burn very fast. If your egg whites are whipping too fast, reduce the mixer speed to medium. You can also adjust the heat on the sugar syrup to make it cook faster or slower.

4. Turn your mixer up to high and SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl. Be very careful not to hit the whisk.

5. Keep whipping the Italian meringue on high until it forms stiff, turn to slow and keep mixing until the bowl is warm to the touch. If you add the butter to a hot merengue it will melt and you will have soup instead of cream.

6. When the bowl feels just slightly warm, switch to the paddle attachment and begin adding your butter a piece at a time. You need the butter to be at room temperature, I take out mine the night before.

7. Continue to beat the butter in on medium-high until the buttercream is smooth and there are no remaining pieces of butter. Now it’s time to add your flavoring, in this case, our delicious amaretto. Use more or less depending of your taste.

For the Chocolate Variation:

1. When your butter has been completely incorporated, pour your chocolate in all at once and immediately fold it in with a spatula or beat it in with the paddle attachment. You want to make sure that your chocolate is melted but not hot and it is also still warm enough to flow freely in a continuous stream. If your chocolate is too hot, you will melt your butter cream; but if it is too cool, then you will have pieces of chocolate in your frosting.






Caramelizing almonds

½ cup sugar

2 cups slivered almonds

Have a nonstick mat ready next to your pan

In a nonstick medium pan melt the sugar until it reaches a light caramel color. Immediately pour in the almonds and fold to cover with the sugar.

Pour the mixture in the nonstick mat as flat as you can and wait until is completely cold.

Use a food processor to brake it in to coarse pieces the size of peas.










Our basic recipes

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You can choose to by a cake decorator or a pastry chef. Or you can be both. What’s the difference? Pastry chefs create new cake and fillings and of course plays with as much combinations as possible. But if you are a cake decorator, if your main job is to create artistic cakes putting more emphasis on the outside appearance, probable you will have a couple of high quality delicious recipes you recreate again and again, of course that doesn’t mean that if a client ask for something different you’ll say no. it only means that you have your favorite go to recipes you use again and again because they are always reliable and that allows you to put more of your creativity on the design and execution of your cake.

Here are our staple recipes.

Our Vanilla Cake:

1 box white cake mix, 15.25 oz

1 cup sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

4 egg whites

1 cup water

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon Vanilla.

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, sugar, flour, salt, egg whites, and sour cream, beat with an electric mixer until combined, 2-3 minutes.

  2. Spray a 8 inch round pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before adding frosting.


Chocolate cake

· ¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

· 1¼ cups hot water

· ⅔ cup sour cream

· 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour

· 2 teaspoons baking powder

· 1 teaspoon baking soda

· ½ teaspoon salt

· ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

· ½ cup vegetable shortening

· 1½ cup granulated sugar

· 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

· 3 large eggs, at room temperature

· 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract



1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream and set aside to cool.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until ribbon like, about 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

5. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

6. Fill 8” pan about ½ full and bake 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.




American Buttercream
Ingredients

1.    1-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.

2.    2 pound confectioners' sugar

3.    Pinch fine salt.

4.    2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream the Butter and start adding the buttercream very slowly until it’s all incorporated. Add flavor and color





Pound Cake -ideal for carving

1 pound. Unsalted butter

1 pound. powdered sugar

8 large eggs divided

1 pound self-rising flour, sifted

zest of two lemons

2 tablespoons Vanilla

½ cup milk

 

Preheat oven at 350 F Grease 3 - 8” pans

Cream butter and lemon zest

Add powdered sugar until combined and mixture looks very pale

Add egg yolks and vanilla

alternate flour and milk until incorporated

in another pan, whip egg whites until the mixture is firm.

Fold egg whites in to cake mixture

divide between pans

bake for 1 hour





 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: Makes enough buttercream to cover a standard 2 layer 8" round cake

Ingredients

·       600g | 1.5lb unsalted butter, softened

·       280g | 10oz egg whites (8 large)

·       500g | 1.1lb granulated sugar

·       1 tsp pure vanilla extrac

Instructions

1.     Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix delicately with a whisk until well combined.

2.     Place that bowl over a bath of simmering water and stir delicately with a whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is slightly warm and frothy. Be careful not to let the water boil, you don't want the egg whites to get too hot. The goal is not to cook them but simply to get them warm enough for the sugar to melt. Also, make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time, to make certain that no crystals of sugar get left behind.

3.     Set the bowl on the stand mixer equipped with the whisk attachment and beat the egg whites on high speed until they get super light and fluffy and have cooled down to room temperature, about 10 to 12 minutes.

4.     Lower the speed to medium and, with the motor still running, add the butter to the meringue, about a quarter of a cup at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate between each addition. Once all the butter has been added, add the vanilla extract and then crank up the speed to high and let the buttercream fluff up and "tighten" for about 2 minutes.

 

·  Your buttercream is now ready to use. Use it a room temperature. It will get very hard on the fridge.

 



Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

· 24 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

· 2 cups heavy cream

· 2 tablespoons Honey

Step 1

Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil over low heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk the ganache gently until silky and smooth.

Step 2

To make the filling, transfer 1 1/2 cups of the ganache to a medium bowl. Set the bowl over ice and whisk the ganache gently until thick and spreadable.