Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Autumn birthdays

Having an autumn birthday seems kind of awesome, if only for the seasonal food themes that spill over into dessert. Particularly pumpkin, to which I am a recent convert. After failing to see the point of pumpkin desserts most of my life, I made these chocolate-pumpkin tartlets and have had to rethink my whole position on this matter. Seeking to explore the combination further, I volunteered to follow up my first-time catering gig with a November birthday cake for SP's husband without revealing my agenda.

"He'd love something with pumpkin," she suggested.

You don't say.

Pumpkin spice cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting
I made the cake using a double batch of my favorite Victoria sponge recipe, adding about a cup of pumpkin and a healthy teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. I baked it in four layers, and filled and frosted it with an adaptation of my standard chocolate frosting recipe. The slight tang of the cream cheese helps to cut through the rich sweetness of the pumpkin, and the combination is pretty sensational. Could be a great Thanksgiving dessert, as well as a perfect autumn birthday cake.

4 blocks/4 oz/120 g unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 block/8 oz/240 g cream cheese, softened
1 lb/450 g powdered/icing sugar, sifted if necessary to remove any lumps
~2 Tbsp/30 ml milk

Using a hand mixer, beat together the chocolate and cream cheese until well combined, then gradually add the sugar, beating in until the mixture achieves a smooth, glossy consistency. Add milk as needed until the frosting reaches a consistency that is suitable for spreading, but will still hold its shape.

Makes enough to generously fill and frost one two- or four-layer cake.


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