Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pumpkin Cake With Rum Raisin Walnut Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie, but that is not the reason why I left it off my Thanksgiving menu.
The real reason was that, since I had houseguests the week leading up to Thanksgiving, I decided to do my baking ahead of time and keep it in the freezer until the holiday. I knew the apple pie would freeze well, but I had some trepidation about freezing a pumpkin pie. I thought the custard would get too weepy and make the crust soggy. I thought about making the crust and the filling, freezing everything separately, and baking it on Thanksgiving. This, however, would complicate my already complicated oven plan.

Instead, I decided to make this three layer pumpkin cake.
Pumpkin cake
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups fresh roasted pumpkin*
Zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three eight-inch cake pans.

In a bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar and vegetable oil using a hand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add pumpkin and vanilla, and mix.

Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add the other half of the four and mix again.

Evenly divide cake batter between each of the three pans and bake for 30 minutes. Using a toothpick, check that the center of the cake is cooked. When the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.

Cool on a rack. When the pan is cool enough to handle, remove from the pan.

Rum, raisin, and walnut filling
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 shots of dark rum

Combine raisins, walnuts, and rum. Let mixture soak for at least two hours. Can be prepared a day ahead.

Cream cheese frosting
16 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Using a hand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Slowly mix in sugar, one cup at a time until the frosting is light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla.

To assemble the cake
Ice the top of the bottom layer. Add half of the raisin walnut filling. Ice the bottom of the second layer and place on top of the first layer. Repeat with the second layer. Place the third layer on top. Ice top and sides with a light layer of icing, known as a crumb layer. Let icing set in the refrigerator. When firm, use the remaining icing to ice the top and the sides. Decorate with orange zest and candied ginger.

* You can use canned pumpkin as well.

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