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pumpkin cake with salted caramel frosting

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Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total: 110 minutes

Servings: 12

Cost: $4.65 /serving


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Step 1

Preheat oven to 350*F., grease and lightly flour the sides of your baking pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper (see notes for pan sizes).

Step 2

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, then set aside.

Step 3

In another large bowl, whisk the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and stir (stir vigorously by hand or on medium speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds or so).

Step 4

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until completely combined.

Step 5

Divide batter into prepared pans and bake cakes until the tops are slightly rounded and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean (no wet batter).  I used 2, 6" pans and baked them for about 40 minutes.  If you are using 8" pans the time will be a bit less (check after 25 minutes).  Cupcakes will bake in 22-24 minutes. (See notes below on cake sizes)

Step 6

Cool the cakes in the pans about 10 minutes, then (carefully) remove from pans and cool fully on a cooling rack.

Step 7

Warm the heavy cream in a bowl in the microwave and then set aside.

Step 8

In a large saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir gently to incorporate the ingredients.

Step 9

Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring gently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.

Step 10

Stop stirring and allow the mixture to boil undisturbed until it begins to darken in color.  You want the mixture to reach a honey color, but no darker.  The syrup will change from light in color to dark very quickly, so it's important to watch closely and remove the pan from the heat as soon as it's light-medium honey color.

Step 11

Once removed from heat, carefully and slowly pour in the warm heavy cream (the mixture will hiss and bubble).  Stir to full incorporate the cream.

Step 12

Add butter and salt and stir to combine.  Add vanilla.

Step 13

Allow sauce to cool a bit, then pour into a jar. Cool at room temperature, then cover jar and store in the refrigerator.

Step 14

Add pecans, brown sugar, butter and water to a heavy bottom saucepan and cook over medium heat.  Stir to combine ingredients.

Step 15

Allow the mixture to come to a boil and boil, while stirring occasionally, until most all of the water has evaporated (so there is not much sauce in the pan, it's move of just a coating on the pecans), about 5- 10 minutes.

Step 16

Remove pan from heat and add salt and cinnamon.  Stir well.

Step 17

Spread the nuts onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet and break up any clusters. Allow to cool.

Step 18

Cut cold butter into a few large pieces and then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.

Step 19

Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined and smooth.

Step 20

Add about half of the powdered sugar, then while the mixer is running, pour in the caramel sauce.  The caramel sauce should be no warmer than room temperature.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Continue blending and add the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.

Step 21

The frosting should be thick, creamy and fluffy.  If by chance you kitchen is very warm, or the caramel sauce was too warm when you added it, place the bowl of frosting in the fridge to firm up, then beat once more before use.

Step 22

Level and split cake layers as desired.

Step 23

For easy assembly, add the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip.  This is optional.

Step 24

Begin with a layer of cake on the plate or cake stand of your choice.  Add a layer of frosting by piping a large spiral, then spread as needed with an offset spatula.  Alternatively, scoop a large dollop of frosting onto the cake layer, and spread as needed with an offset spatula.  Add a drizzle of caramel sauce on top of the frosting.

Step 25

Repeat layers of cake, then frosting, then a caramel drizzle.

Step 26

On top of the cake add a generous topping of candied nuts.

Step 27


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