I was really looking forward to making this cake. I just love pumpkin. As soon as the first cool days of fall arrive I start craving pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread and pumpkin muffins so I really couldn’t wait to make this cake. Unfortunately, by the end of the week my schedule was so full for the weekend that I wasn’t sure I would have the time to make it. As luck would have it I had a few hours of Friday after work so I set about making this cake. Because of the small amount of time that I had I didn’t get to really do anything fancy with it other than get it baked and slap on the frosting so I appologize for the lackluster presentation but at least I got to make it and I WILL be making it again.
I usually shy away from all the specialty pans on the market. Everytime I have ever purchased one I found that I used it for the one time I bought it for and then a couple years later it ended up in someones garage sale having never been used again. I seriously thought about buying this pumpkin pan. I was serious enough to go to the kitchen store to get it and when I got there and saw the size of it and the $35.00 price tag I turned around and walked right back out of the store. I imagine with a little searching I could have found it cheaper but then again, I am sure it would have been destined for the garage sale table after one use so I decided it wasn’t really worth it. I ended up using a standard bundt pan for the cake.
I toasted and de-skinned the walnuts. Measured and mixed the dry ingredients and set about beating the wet ingredients together. Once mixed I added the dry ingredients and mixed until combined. Poured the batter into the prepared pan and put it in the 350 degree oven. In my convection oven the cake took 35 minutes to fully bake.
While the cake was baking I set about making the buttercream. Now I have to admit that I often find some of Rose’s directions a bit fussy and overcomplicated and I have to wonder if all these extra steps are really worth the effort. Those were my thought when I read the directions for this buttercream. I must have read through them at least 5 times to make sure I was fully understanding what she was telling me to do. These were all techniques I had done hundreds of times yet her instructions seemed so complicated. All that heating and boiling and taking the syrup off the heat and then refrigerating it and then rebeating. Add to that the fact that my instant read thermometer only goes to 220 degrees and with such a small amount of syrup my regular candy thermometer was too big to get an accurate reading. I finally decided that I was adept enough at making caramel and Italian meringue that her instructions were unnecessarily complicated and I did it my own way. Reading her instructions I thought it would take me at least an hour to put this together. It ended up taking me about 25 minutes to get it finished. I can understand alot of her warnings and precautions but if I was making this for the first time having never done these techniques before I think I would have really been intimidated. In the end I loved this buttercream. It has a very bright orange flavor and then just that hint at the finish of the burnt carmel. I will definitely make this again. I think it is a perfect finish for this pumpkin cake.
To make the creme anglais I separated the eggs and beat the yolks and set them aside. I scalded the milk and set it aside. Imixed the sugar and water until the sugar was dissolved, then boiled it until it reached 370 degrees. I added the milk and whisked the mixture until combined and smooth. I then continued to cook the mixture until it reached 170 degrees. I took it off the heat and strained the mixture and set it aside to cool. When cool I stirred in the vanilla.
To make the Italian meringue I whipped the egg white until foamy and added the cream of tartar. I continued whipping until soft peaks formed and slowly added the sugar and continued whipping until firm peaks formed. I then mixed the sugar and water until the sugar dissolved and then brought it to a boil. Once it was boiling I slowly added it to the whipped egg whites and continued beating until stiff peaks formed. Then set it aside to come to room temperature. I whipped the butter until very creamy, then added the creme anglais and mixed until combined, then added the italian meringue and mixed until incorporated. Then I added the orange zest and concentrate and combined until smooth.
Once the cake was baked I let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes and then unmolded it onto a cooling rack to cool completely before I frosted it. All in all I think this was a top notch cake and frosting and the next time I make it I will make sure I have enough time to frost it smoothly and make some marzipan decorations for it.
Next Up: Baby Chocolate Oblivions