Pumpkin and autumn are the modern Cheech and Chong - where you find one, you're sure to find the other. Now, this is completely justified, as pumpkin is truly a fantastic flavor. However, there are many other tastes that go with it that haven't gotten as much love in the Pumpkin Spice Latte era, including my two favorites, maple and pecan.
While just the thought of these three flavors together should make your mouth water, they're not the easiest to incorporate into a dish. First and foremost, pumpkin puree and maple syrup are both liquidy ingredients, and using both of them in a dough or batter seemed to me like a surefire way of creating a dessert with a disastrous texture. I realized that this could be avoided by using the pumpkin as a frosting, as opposed to using it in the batter. Additionally, pumpkin and maple are both sweet flavors, and a powerful dose of both could definitely overwhelm the palette. This problem was solved by adding a generous sprinkle of ginger to the pumpkin frosting, providing just the right compliment to the sweetness.I frosted the cake in the middle as well as on the outside, in order to distribute the smoothness of the frosting to as many bites as possible.
I candied the pecans on the stovetop in a simple mixture of water, salt, vanilla, and brown sugar, to inject them with as much flavor as possible.
The end result was a cake which combined all three of my favorite tastes of autumn (aside: I used to think that the names of seasons needed to be capitalized) without compromising on texture or flavor.
Why this recipe is good for college students:
- This recipe calls for only the simplest baking ingredients.
Why this recipe is good for those who keep Kosher:
- This recipe (like most cakes) is easily made parve. Additionally, pretty much all flavoring options can be found kosher.
What I would do differently if I made this recipe again:
- Even though I’ve now made two iterations of the same base recipe, the flavor combination options are still endless… what can you come up with?
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- splash vanilla
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- sprinkle cinnamon
- sprinkle ginger