Two cakes for two seasons: a rhubarb ice box cake for Spring and a pumpkin cake for Fall. They both made my “repeat this recipe soon” list and I’m late posting both of them, so they’re here together!
The ice box cake is delightful in the Spring or Summer, but I think I will make it anytime I have rhubarb kicking around. I had big plans to make a few of these and leave a constant supply in my freezer, but luckily my freezer is small and will not allow for such gluttonous behaviour. I found the recipe in the August Bon Appetit and I made it word-for-word, so I will just link to the recipe here. The ginger snap crust is filled with tart, rhubarb ice cream and topped with a mixture of whipped cream and creme fraiche. The creamy top has very little sugar and is exactly how you imagine frozen whipped cream to taste – heaven.
The pumpkin cake is another score from Bon Appetit and I have already made it twice since Thanksgiving. I modified the recipe as I’m not a fan of raisins and excessive chunks in my cake. I also up the booze and zest content in any recipe as a general rule, so I applied that here as well. I tried making this as both a 2-layer and 4-layer cake. While a 4-layer cake always looks impressive, the 2-layer version tasted better in this cake. The frosting overpowers the cake when you get into too many layers and this cake has a lovely flavour of its own. Save yourself the hassle of constructing 4 layers and let it be a floppy, 2-layer mess. J’s sister told me that the messy 2 layers looked artistic. Thanks Lan – I will bring dessert to your house anytime.
Spicy Zesty Pumpkin Layer Cake, serves 10
3 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 T cinnamon
2 t ginger
1 3/4 t allspice
1 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 T vanilla extract
1 heaped T orange zest
1 8-ounce package light cream cheese
10 T unsalted butter
2 T spiced rum
2 t vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two cake pans, line bottom with parchment paper, then dust pans with flour.
2. Sift together flour thru nutmeg.
3. Beat both sugars and oil in large bowl until it looks grainy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add pumpkin, vanilla and zest, beating until well blended.
4. Add flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Pour batter into the 2 pans and smooth the tops.
5. Bake for about 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in pans then invert cakes onto cooling racks and remove parchment paper. Turn cakes over and trim the rounded tops to make them level.
6. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then mix in the rum and vanilla. Beat in the sugar 1 cup at a time and stop adding sugar when the frosting is stiff enough to spread and not slide off the cake. You should use 4-4.5 cups of sugar.
7. When the cake has cooled, assemble as follows: 1 layer of cake, 1/2 the icing, second layer of cake, 1/2 the icing. Easy peasy!