Pumpkin Cake with Almond Butter Frosting

Let’s just state the obvious and get that out of the way.  I love science.  And learning.

But.  That being said, there are some things that I would prefer remain a mystery.  Things I hope no one ever explains to me.  I’m putting this list out there in public to avoid the same devastation I experienced upon learning that baby carrots are not, in fact, tiny carrots that grow with tiny carrot tops on a tiny carrot farm.

They grow baby tomatoes.  Why can’t they grow baby carrots??

Anyways.  The  list.

Fireworks.  Please.  Everyone keep your vast knowledge of chemistry and fire to yourself.  I prefer to continue to believe that fireworks are magic, pure and simple.  How could they not be?  They (often (hopefully)) explode in the air, not in your face! There are so many shapes!  Colors!  Noises!  Fireworks that look like smiley faces?!?!  How?!?!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Delicious cheese sauce.  In powder form.  Don’t tell me about all the cancer that I’m sure is in those things that results in this sorcery.  I have chosen my poison, and it is Kraft mac.  In my book, this is food from the future.

Computers.   The internet.  This is a big one people.  My desire for no one to explain these phenomena to me may stem more from the fact that 10 seconds in, my eyes will glaze over, and I will start thinking about all the TV I don’t have time to watch.  My brain is missing the connections that help you understand computers, wires, switchboards, motherboards, keyboards, wi-fi, and pixels.  And calculus, but that’s something else entirely.  How do the interwebs have so much information?  Why can’t I see little waves everywhere on their way to my little mac?  How does my phone know when I’m touching the screen?!?!?  Ohmagah.  I can’t even.

I have a history of not understanding these things, and making up my own better explanations (which, have now devolved to “Magic.”).  When I was little, I assumed that a very tall, very skinny man lived in each and every stop light, and pressed a button when it was time for the light to change.

I couldn’t make that stuff up if I tried.

You know what else is magic?  Almond butter frosting.  Who thinks of this stuff?!?!?  Oh.  Right.  The geniuses at Baked.  When I first saw the recipe, I thought, “Oh, this will just be like peanut butter frosting, except with almond butter, so it will be healthier, so I can eat more spoonfuls of it before/during/after I frost the cake.”

False.  (Both in the sense that it’s healthier and that it’s basically like peanut butter frosting.)  I don’t even know how to describe it.  It’s nutty (duh) and rich and slightly sweet, and it has that luxurious texture of almond butter – silky smooth, a little too thick to be pourable…but I would drink it with a straw if I could.

There’s something so satisfying about spreading such a simple, delicious frosting over a thick layer of soft, spiced pumpkin cake.  It’s been a long time since I made a one layer cake, and I forgot how rewarding they are.  So little work for such fantastic results.  Another magical success from the Baked crew!

Pumpkin Cake with Almond Butter Frosting

Makes one 9-inch round cake

For the cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (this is originally almond flour in the recipe, but I’m saving my precious stash for a batch of macarons!  I liked the nuttiness of the whole wheat flour in the cake.)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup pumpkin puree (if you’re a better baker than me, you’ll make your own)
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, well-shaken

For the frosting
1/4 cup (= 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup almond butter (make sure you stir it up well before measuring)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 -4TBS almond milk

almond slivers (if desired, for decoration)

1. For cake – Preheat oven to 350F with a rack in the middle position.  Grease and flour a 9-inch round pan and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the pumpkin puree.  Add one egg at a time, beating well after each one.
4. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate the dry ingredients with the buttermilk (3 additions of dry ingredients, 2 of buttermilk), mixing well with a rubber spatula after each addition.  Beat the batter on medium-high for about 15 seconds.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
5. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is dry and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan, then turn the cake out onto a rack to finish cooling.  While the cake is cooling…
6. For frosting – In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and almond butter until smooth.  Beat in the salt and vanilla extract.  Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating on low speed until it’s all incorporated.  Add enough almond milk to reach your desired consistency (I added about 2 TBS), and beat the frosting on medium-high for about 30 seconds until no lumps of powdered sugar remain.  Spread the frosting on the cooled cake.  Top with almond slivers if desired.

Recipe adapted from Baked Elements

Thanks for reading, happy baking, and happy fall!!!


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