Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream

Hello everyone. I disappeared for a little bit, didn't I? I was out of town, I've had house guests. The usual reasons why I stop posting for a bit. However I am back, I am four cakes behind in the bake-through, and fall is here.

Time for Pumpkin cake.

pumpkin cake with burnt orange silk meringue buttercream

October 11, 2011
Name of Cake: A Fall Cake
Occasion: House guests, and HCB
Constituents: a pumpkin bundt, frosted with burnt orange silk meringue buttercream

This is a wonderfully moist and spicy cake that can be baked in a 10-cup bundt pan or, if you like specialty pans, can be baked in a pumpkin mold. Guess which option I chose? If you guessed bundt, you are a winner. The cake assembles fairly easily and quickly, especially since it is an oil cake so there's no butter to warm up. Sadly, the cake doesn't need an entire can of pumpkin puree, so if you got ideas for the leftover pumpkin, leave a handy comment. With the toasted walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg, this cake is quintessentially fall. The fact that it is made with my favorite light muscovado isn't a bad thing, either.

The bundt unmolded with such a lovely crust that I was reluctant to cover it up with frosting, but I did it anyway. I was curious how the burnt orange frosting would pair with the pumpkin cake, which is traditionally frosted with the popular cream cheese frosting.

pumpkin cake with burnt orange silk meringue buttercream

Rose's Silk Meringue Buttercream is her version of the more ubiquitous Swiss or Italian Meringue Buttercream. The latter buttercreams require stabilizing a meringue, either by warming the whites and sugar over a double boiler or adding a sugar syrup to the beaten meringue. Then the butter is beat in, then the flavorings, and the frostings are complete. The Silk Meringue Buttercream starts with making a creme anglaise, in this case a caramel creme anglaise. Then an Italian meringue is made. Then softened butter is creamed, the anglaise beat in, and lastly the meringue and any other flavorings (in this case, orange zest and orange juice concentrate). In comparison, the Swiss and Italian Meringue Buttercreams are easy, richly buttery and silky smooth. Not too sweet, and capable of a good flavor punch. The Silk Meringue Buttercream is impossibly light, silky, and offers another big flavor punch. It takes more time, but at this point in my RHC journey, all the steps are easy. My one complaint about the Silk etc Buttercream is that is it really persnickety: if the butter, creme anglaise and italian meringue aren't between 70 and 75°F, the mixture will not emulsify. There will be curdling and oilyness and it will not be outstubborned by vigorous beating like a Swiss or Italian etc Buttercream. Obviously this has happened the three times I've made this frosting, so I am kind of on the outs with it.

Although it does not say so in the recipe nor its header, the cake and frosting really don't come into their own until after 24 hours. The night I made the cake, I shared it with the Stooges and Cabbage. It was only ok; the frosting just tasted orangey and didn't blend with the cake, which just tasted of spices. Cookie thought we were eating carrot cake. However the next day, and even on the third day, the cake was still moist as day one but had the pumpkiny flavor we had expected, and the orangey frosting finally felt like a team player. I am sorry to say that the caramel tones in the frosting have diminshed over time--or at least don't hold up against the orange and the cake. I do think the Burnt Orange buttercream would be a nice compliment to a dark and spicy carrot cake.

pumpkin cake with burnt orange silk meringue buttercream

A great fall cake that stays moist and flavorful for days. The frosting, although time consuming, is also delicious but I would prefer it on another cake. This cake just doesn't need the extra bells and whistles.

ETA: This week, the HCB are baking the Molten Chocolate Souffle and Lava Cakes, which were a terrible failure for me. Read my woes here!


  1. This turned out beautifully. It's good to know that it needs a day to age.

  2. Good choice on the bundt pan--I made this in the pumpkin pan, and all I remember (along with how good the cake was) is what a pain in the ass it is to make fondant leaves and stems.

  3. Your cake looks so grand! Beautiful and perfect bundt cake.

    The leftover pumpkin puree you can make into pumpkin bread maybe? has a lot of pumpkin recipes.

    All I remembered about this cake was how utterly failed the smbc was. Congrats on your success!

  4. Marie, yeah there was no way I was going to do anything with fondant. You were such a trooper!

    Jenn, thanks! I have thought about pumpkin bread, or another round of pumpkin muffins (I made those a couple of weeks ago). I understand how easy it would be to make a failed SMBC; try it again I bet it would turn out better!

  5. The cake unmolded perfectly. I'll make a note for myself that this cake works in a Bundt pan too. I remember baking this as a sheet cake in a 9x13 pan to feed a big crowd.

  6. Hanaa, did you have to alter the baking powder for a sheet cake? I bet the crowd loved it.