Spiced Pumpkin Ginger Cake with Caramelized Pears
New Media Publishing
Provided by: Paul Grimes
This towering cake is visually impressive, but it's the heady autumnal combination of pumpkin, cream cheese frosting, and caramelized pears that will have your guests raving.
- FOR CAKE:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon madras curry powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for buttering pans
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
- FOR PEARS:
- 5 Bosc pears, (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and coarsely chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- FOR FROSTING:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- Equipment: 3 (8-inch) square or round non-stick baking pans; a small offset spatula
- Put racks in middle and lower third positions and preheat oven to 350F.
- MAKE CAKES:
Butter baking pans, then chill pans until butter is firm. Dust pans with flour, then invert and tap pans to rid excess flour. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, curry, clove, and salt into a bowl and reserve.
- Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl and reserve.
- Beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until just incorporated.
- At a lower speed, add one-third of flour mixture, alternating with half of buttermilk mixture and ending with flour mixture, mixing until smooth after each addition. Stir in crystallized ginger.
- Divide batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans. Smooth top of batter with a small offset spatula. Tap cake pans gently on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. Bake cakes, rotating pans half way through baking, until a skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let cakes cool in pans, on a rack, 30 minutes. Invert cakes on to racks and let cool completely, 30 minutes more.
- COOK PEARS:
While cakes cool, saute pears in butter until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add rum, sugar, lemon juice, and salt and cook over high heat until pears are tender and juices are deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Reserve.
- MAKE FROSTING:
Beat cream cheese, softened butter, pumpkin, rum, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla in a bowl with a hand-held or stand mixer until smooth. Add confectioners sugar, cup by cup, continuously beating, until frosting is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.