Monday, November 02, 2009

Rose's Heavenly Cakes Bake-Through: Cheater's Pumpkin Cake

This week Rose's Heavenly Cakes Bake-Through featured Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream. No kidding. That's the name. Quite a handle. The cake itself is stunning -- baked in two round molds that are then forged together to create a pumpkin shape. Frosted in burnt orange silk meringue butter cream. Little marzipan pumpkin leaves and tendrils to complete the pumpkin ensemble. It's really spectacular.

I was debating whether to try it when I skimmed the following description two pages into the four pages of frosting instruction: "It will bubble up furiously." This sentence made me woozy. I am often called away from furiously bubbling pans to find the red Power Ranger or change a nasty diaper or replay Weird Al's "Eat It" on the iPod. I wrote off this recipe and decided I'd catch up with the bake-through next week for Baby Chocolate Oblivions.

But Rose's headnote started with, "Anyone who has tasted this cake has pronounced it the best non-chocolate cake ever." Would you feel you could miss this cake after that description? I know I didn't. Rose went on to state that a tube pan could be substituted for the round molds. So I decided to bake the cake and skip all the trimmings.

The cake itself comes together extremely simply. It's almost like a pumpkin walnut quick bread. The only extra step is toasting the walnuts, and that's so simple and quick and adds such flavor, I don't feel I can quibble. The cake itself is very basic: Dry ingredients mixed together, wet ingredients whirred up in a KitchenAid, dry ingredients added to the wet ingredients.

I frosted the cake with a simple buttercream frosting -- the kind of buttercream my mom would make to spread on graham crackers for a makeshift dessert. A little red and yellow food coloring to make it pretty and orange. Easy peasy.

I had only two challenges with this cake:
  • It calls for walnut oil. I stood in the oil section of my grocery store Friday night, Sylvia complaining about being contained in the shopping cart, staring and staring at the oils. Then I cursed Indiana for being so backward it didn't stock walnut oil. Then I debated whether to substitute flax seed or safflower oil. Then I noticed that the walnut oil was right in front of my face. Heh heh. My bad. Indiana is a lovely state in which to live.
  • It's taking every ounce of my depleted willpower to not just take a big wooden spoon to the cake and finish it off tonight. It's delicious. In fact, my now official Tasting Panel (Phil, Noah, and Holly, served during commercial breaks on Mad Men) all pronounced this one utterly delicious. We all had two pieces and thought of going for a third, but that would be excessive, right? This is definitely my favorite cake of the three I've baked so far.
Thinking of the trajectory of cakes, in fact, each has gotten better. The Barcelona Brownies were magnificent. The Apple Upside Down Cake was spectacular. This was even better. I'm fearful for next week's Baby Chocolate Oblivions during the Mad Men season finale. Individual molten chocolate cakes and Don Draper: How much wonderfulness can one person take at a time?

Tune in next week...

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