For my 2nd Aussie-American Thanksgiving, I was much more prepared! I concocted a dessert of classic American & Aussie flavours; Pumpkin, Salted Caramel, and White Chocolate Tim Tams – for this holiday treat. This vanilla spice cake got a homemade pumpkin puree filling between its layers, frosted with fresh whip cream, drizzled with caramel (not homemade – gasp!), and topped with white chocolate Tim Tams. Needless to say, there was only 1 tiny slice leftover, which my waistline is incredibly “thankful” for.
This homemade cake does take a little bit of time, but it simple and fun to make! BONUS, it will make your friends think you are a master baker! For Christmas try dates instead of pumpkin.
RECIPE: Caramel Spice Cake
FROM: inspired by a Chocolate version by Harriet Olafsdottir
MAKES: about 24 medium slices
QUICK TIME-SAVING BAKING TIPS:
1. If you are going to make the Pumpkin Puree filling, you can dice the pumpkin and get it steaming while you prepare the cake mix (they need to steam for 10-15 mins).
2. Make the cake mixture & get it baking. Then drain & put the steamed pumpkin in the fridge while the cake bakes.
3. While you are waiting for the cake to cook & the pumpkin to cool, make the whipped frosting.
4. Return the whipped frosting to the fridge to keep cool, and get your cake toppings ready (smash Tim Tams, etc).
5. Remove cake, & let cool for 30 mins at room temp or put in the freezer for 15 mins.
6. Slice cake in half, if you used 1 pan, with a bread knife & a spare set of hands.
7. Place your cake on your cake base, and spread your desired amount of pumpkin filling.
8. Place the top half on, again a spare set of hands is helpful here.
9. Frost the entire cake & garnish how you like.
10. Keep it cool until you are ready to serve.
VANILLA CAKE BASE
2 1/2 cup All Purpose or Plain Flour
2 1/4 cup Raw Sugar
2 t. Baking/Bicarb Soda
1 t. Baking Powder
1 t. Salt
1 t. Ground All Spice (leave out if you want a plain white cake)
2 t. Vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup whole/full cream milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Raise the temperature 25 F/10 C if you do NOT have a fan forced oven.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients in a mixer.
4. Add the dry mixture slowly into the mixing bowl. Beat on high for 2 mins. The cake mix will look runnier than you will expect – Its okay, just go with it!
5. Butter & flour your cake pan (I used a 25 cm/10 in a springform pan, but you can use square or 2 smaller rounds).
6. Pour in the batter.
7. Put in the middle of the oven for 60 mins (turn 1/2 way inbetween).
8. Remove & let cool for 20-40 minutes (It needs to be cool enough that the whipped frosting won’t melt off).
SWEET PUMPKIN PUREE FILLING
Food Processor These:
1 kilo (2 lbs) of Pie or Butternut Pumpkin (cooked – see steps 1-3)
1 t. Cinamon
3 T. of Maple Syrup or Honey
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 t. Corn Starch/Flour
1. Prep the pumpkin; peel off the skin using a vegetable peeler and then dice the pumpkin into 3 cm/1 in cubes.
2. Cook pumpkin for 10/15 mins on medium-high heat using a stovetop steamer.
3. Remove from heat and strain as much water off as you can. Set in fridge/freezer to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Place cooked pumpkin and all ingredients in a food processor.
5. Mix on high for 3-5 minutes, or until super smooth.
6. Place back in the fridge/freezer to continue to cool.
1. Add all ingredients together in a large bowl/stand mixer, and use the whisk/beater attachment on high until stiff peaks form.
2. Keep cool until ready to use.
A few months back, while I was in the Faroe Islands, I offered to make cupcakes for my friend’s 5-year anniversary party. When she asked me about my recipe, I told her, “well I normally just use any box cake recipe and put it into muffin tins”. She giggled and reminded me how “American” that was of me. She instead was kind enough to share with me how to make her famous chocolate cake from scratch! It has the perfect amount of richness for a chocolate cake. Since she gave me the recipe, I usually make the chocolate version about once a month – it is so good! It always impresses guests too, and what’s better is; its secretly very easy to make!
When it came time for Thanksgiving this year, I decided to try a self-modified version of Harriet’s Chocolate cake for a vanilla cake base. All November long I had been bragging about my favourite Thanksgiving Pumpkin desserts! When I told Aussie friends, I often got a look of unease; similar to when you tell them you like to eat peanut butter with chocolate or that you like peanut butter banana toast. If you’ve never seen this face, then you must ask an Aussie next time you see them – the reaction is priceless!
Anyhow, back to the cake, the modified version worked out great! Honestly, by choosing some homemade and some pre-made/store-bought parts, you can make this recipe go as quick as you like. I made my own pumpkin puree, because it doesn’t exist here, but don’t feel like you need to if you are running short on time. You can pick up a can of pumpkin puree from the shops (depending on where you live), and just add the sweeteners & spices same as I did.
If I had to go back and do it again, even if I had all the store-bought options, I would probably still make it from scratch. From my conversation with Harriet, I realized that I really don’t know how to bake. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to modify a recipe, and combining flavours to make delicious new desserts! Enjoy this recipe, and if you decide to modify it for your next fete, let me know how it goes in the comments below! Thanks for reading and happy baking!! <3 Kell