Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake
For the cake:
3/4 cup, (12 tablespoons), unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar - originally calls for 2/3 cup
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 can of pumpkin puree, or homemade puree
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Move the oven rack to center of the oven.
2. Grease and flour 2 round cake pans that are 9x2 inches. Use parchment if desired. My cake did fine without it.
3. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Every minute or so, stir or roll the butter around. The butter will foam and begin to turn a nutty shade with bits of brown . This will take about 4 minutes. Pour into a bowl and cool.
4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In another bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, buttermilk, sugar, pumpkin and mix well.
5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients together in intervals. Mix in the brown butter. Do not over mix this batter. You will not need and electric mixer for this cake.
6. Divide the batter evenly into the 2 cake pans and smooth the top. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until done. Toothpick inserted into cake should come out clean. Cool the cake in pans for 10 minutes. Run knife around the cake and invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely.
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 cups powdered sugar
1. In a heavy pan, brown the butter just as you did for the cake. Pour into a small bowl, and set it in the freezer for 12-15 minutes. Don't let it get hard on the top. Butter needs to be cool to add to the frosting, but don't let it get too hard. Or, you could pour the butter through a small mesh sieve to catch the small browned bits. You won't pour the brown bits into the frosting. Take a spoon and spoon out the cooled butter, taking care to not scrape up the browned bits.
2. In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese well; mix in the brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in the cooled brown butter, and the powdered sugar in with the cream cheese. Beat until creamy. If the frosting is too stiff, add about a tablespoon of cream, or milk.
Assemble and frost the cake:
Place one cake on your cake plate. Add about 1 cup frosting, or your desired amount, and spread evenly to the edge of cake. Place remaining cake on top of frosting. Frost sides and top of cake. Decorate with pecans.
For Pecans: Mix 1 cup pecans, tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Toast in a skillet for a few minutes, or in the oven. Cool nuts completely on a paper towel lined plate. The original recipe calls for more nuts, and uses them between the layers of the cake, and then piling the rest on top of cake. It also calls for candied ginger, which I did not use.