Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

When the girls and I thought about doing a post about pumpkins, I was excited. I had never purchased a pumpkin before and I was eager to try something new. I decided on making a pumpkin cake (because cake is often delicious and I was craving cream cheese icing) and headed for the store to pick my perfect pumpkin. “Woohoo”, I thought, “my first pumpkin purchase!” As I entered the grocery store, I saw the giant bin of pumpkins right at the entrance. With wide eyes and a smile, I walked over to the pumpkins and looked inside the bin to find nothing but three sad, black-spotted, mangled pumpkins rotting in isolation. “S%*#!!!!!! I really need to stop procrastinating!” After recovering from my mild self-induced panic, I settled on pumpkin in a can and hoped, with everything crossed, that they weren’t out of canned pumpkin too (the stars must have been at least somewhat aligned because I found the last can of pumpkin puree in the entire store).
The recipe is adapted from the following website (I pretty much followed it exactly except that I added four ounces of cream cheese to the glaze and two more tablespoons of milk):

Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel
To start, I buttered and floured my pan and made the streusel. Yum! I love streusel. I put the finished streusel topping in the fridge while I made the rest of the cake to keep the butter cold.

Then, it was time to mix the dry ingredients...
The next part of the recipe caught me a little off-guard….”um, an electric mixer?”…oops…should have read the ENTIRE recipe before embarking as I did not have an electric mixer. I mixed the wet ingredients by hand. This took a long time. I recommend you use a mixer but if you do not have one, a little elbow grease goes a long way. It was actually nice to make the entire thing by hand…felt like I could put more love into it and made me think fondly of my ancestors making cakes before mixers were even invented. First, I mixed the butter with the brown sugar... 

Then, added the eggs (one at a time), sour cream, and pumpkin... 
Like with most cakes, the recipe then called for mixing the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. This is my favourite part…seeing it all come together…

The recipe calls for a cake pan but I wanted a loaf instead. You can use the left over batter for muffins if you wish (that's what I did). The batter for this cake is thick and a bit hard to spread in the pan. I found it helpful to dip my fingers in flour and use them to pat the batter into the bottom of the pan.
I then layered the batter and the streusel until the pan was about three quarters full and then put the cake in the oven.

When the cake was in the oven, I thought, “well, that wasn’t too difficult”. As you will soon realize, this was a premature thought. I went to check on the cake and found that it was OVERFLOWING onto the bottom of my oven! I may or may not have started swearing again…
It was not a huge amount so I thought I would just leave it (I think I was actually in denial because, in hindsight, this sounds like a crazy decision)…it turns out, it was a crazy decision. The spilled batter started to smoke (quite a bit) and once my kitchen became a smoky haze, I decided to turn my oven off for fear of fire. “Oh no, this is a cake disaster,” I thought... this too was premature as it was about to get much, much worse. I was worried that the smoke would penetrate my cake, my cake with so much love and care baked in, so I decided to remove the cake from the oven until the smoke cleared. I reached in to grab the cake and the foil pan collapsed onto itself and a third of my cake fell onto my open oven door! “No, THIS is a cake disaster.” I took a deep breath, asked my husband for help, and cried a little. I started to take the road I often take by saying some not-so-nice things about myself to myself. I saw my cake splattered all over the oven door and the pan all warped and messy with overflowing batter and then I thought… “So what? I can handle this. I will clean up the batter and bake what is left of the cake…the pan had too much batter in it anyways :).” I did just that.

When the cake was out of the oven, I let it cool as instructed and then topped it with the cream cheese icing.

It’s not the prettiest cake but it’s darn delicious. In fact, it’s really, really delicious.  Super soft, super moist, crunchy pecans, cream cheese frosting…yum! This was truly an adventure in baking. Wouldn’t have been Halloween- festive without a Halloween-nightmare-cake-destroying trick, and a yummy pumpkin treat!

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