brown butter pumpkin layer cake

I should post.

I know I should post but frankly I haven't really been cooking. I guess I could go on and on about how this is my favorite time of year and this cake will be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal. How the cake is Fall on a plate. Moist, spicy, sweet... blah, blah, blah.

But what I really want to tell you about is what happened this morning... something that has nothing to do with cake, baking, blogging, cooking, or my favorite time of the year.

Around nine AM I went to go get my hair cut. The hair salon is in the middle of a strip mall with a liquor store and a dry cleaner with a walls of large plate glass windows surrounding two of the four sides of the building. The hair dresser and I sit down to talk about my hair, what I want done, how short, the usual. After she gets done washing my hair and sits me down (up, up, up goes the chair... yes I am that short) She starts chopping off inches of hair, layering, brushing and combing and in the middle of this BOOM! and the building is shaking.

What the hell?

Both of us get up to see this car WITH A LITTLE KID IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT driving across the lot about to drive into another building. When I mean little kid I am talking from 3-5 years of age. We both run outside and to left of us the dry cleaners walls and door have been knocked out by the little kid thinking he's playing Grand Theft Auto and he's about to hit another car and building when Mom comes running out of the liquor store yelling (and I quote), "YOU LITTLE SON OF A BITCH YOU ARE GOING TO GET ME IN TROUBLE!" and the mom throws the kid in the passenger seat and takes off and leaves the scene of the crime.

It had the making of a good America's Stupidest Criminals episode. Little kid driving because Mom is making a 9AM liquor store run, hit and run, and best thing of all...

Like all stupid criminals she left her cell phone in the middle of the parking lot.

brown butter pumpkin layer cake: fine cooking oct/nov 2010


1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree (not spiced pumpkin pie puree)
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pans
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk


1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups walnuts
2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoons table salt
1-1/2 tablespoon (heaping) chopped crystallized ginger


4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 oz. (1-1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar

make the cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter the parchment, and flour the pans.

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk 1-1/2 cups of the pumpkin puree with the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until very well blended. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated (It's going to look greasy for a second and like it will never incorporate. It will). Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the pan bottoms or parchment, and cool completely.

make the topping:

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook until the walnuts brown slightly, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ginger. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool in the skillet.

make the frosting:

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until the solids settle at the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the bowl to the freezer and chill until just firm, about 18 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter from bowl, leaving the browned solids at the bottom; discard the solids.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and the brown sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.


Put one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread 1/2 cup of the frosting on the layer. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture over the frosting and top with the second layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake (I decided not to frost the sides) with the remaining frosting. Arrange the remaining topping in a ring 1-1/2 inches in from the edge of the cake and serve at room temperature.


The Yummy Mummy said...

OMG. Did you make that shit up? Seriously...:)

Hilary said...

OK that is freakin' hilarious. Also, glad you're back, I enjoy your posts and how you keep it real.

SaintTigerlily said...

So...that's "bad" parenting, right?

I'm compiling a list...

Katie said...

YAY! You posted!

me again said...

First of all, this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and I think I just discovered what I will bring to the family dinner...pumpkin cake, YUM!
Secondly, you really do lead an interesting life, y'know? That's one memorable haircut!
Thanks for the recipe and thanks for the smile and thanks for posting both.

Melissa said...

Only you, K, I swear to god...

Jennifer said...

People are funnier than shit when they are stupid! That cake looks yummy I cant wait to make it!

Liam said...

Oh my god wow. That is really something else.

auntjone said...

Full disclosure: that was me in the parking lot. Sorry if we disturbed you.


Actual full disclosure: when I saw the cake picture I literally said out loud "Oh, you BITCH!" because the cake looks freaking fantastic and I'm trying to drop 50 pounds. Ok, 45.2 pounds. Guess I'll have to plug this recipe into the Weight Watchers site and see the potential damage.

Glad you're posting again. Sorry if the world/karma/kids/ex-husband have been causing you grief.

Penny Pincher said...

This looks so good. I'll put it on my list of things to try in six weeks when I'm off this crazy diet! Can't wait for Thanksgiving, that's for sure.

Amazing, the things you see/overhear some parents saying!

Kimberly300 said...

OMG this is awesome.. where were you? (I live in Goodlettsville) did the cops nab her with the phone? too funny..

cake looks amazing too (as always)

Amy said...

He'll probably grow up to be a NASCAR racer. And make millions. My kids will get a college education and be broke like me. Ah, life.

One piece of pumpkin layer cake, please.

Vickie said...

This is the funniest damned post ever. Thanks for sharing your hillarious adventure.

oneordinaryday said...

Oh my gosh! I can't believe you actually saw all that happen!!!

(BTW, the cake DOES look like Fall on a plate!)

tamilyn said...

glad my kids are legally old enough to drive me to the liquor store.....

Elizabeth said...

Browned butter? Pumpkin? Cream cheese frosting? I'm in.

Mags @ the Other Side of 50 said...

This is exactly why I don't carry a cell phone.

That cake looks freaking delicious.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm more disturbed by the fact people like that reproduce.

The cake sounds wonderful, though.

Lunch Buckets said...

Just another reason to be glad I never get out of bed before 9 on a Saturday!

That cake looks delicious. I think I might try it as a cupcake :)

Melissa said...

I don't comment often but had to say I'm glad you posted-I really enjoy your blog.

Cali ʚϊɞ said...

freakin hilarious!!