Holiday Recipes - Desserts
- ½ cup milk
- 1 recipe Brown Butter Graham Cheesecake (below)
- 1 recipe Toasted Pepitas (below)
- 1 recipe Pumpkin Ganache (below)
- 1 recipe Pie Dough Crumbs (below)
- 1 (6-inch) cake ring
- 2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long
- Put a piece of parchment or a Silpat on the counter. Invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or Silpat from the bottom of the cake. Use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. These are your top 2 cake layers. The remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
- 2 cups pepitas, lightly salted
- 1 stick (8T) butter
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 egg
- 5 ½ tsp grapeseed oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 ⅔ cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 T ginger
- Pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)
Layer 1 (bottom)
1. Clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
2. Put the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
3. Dunk a pastry brush in the milk and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the milk.
4. Use the back of a spoon to spread the brown butter graham cheesecake in an even layer over the cake.
5. Sprinkle one-third of the toasted pepitas evenly over the brown butter cheesecake. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
6. Sprinkle one-third of the pie dough crumbs evenly over the toasted pepitas. Use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
7. Use the back of a spoon to spread one-third of the pumpkin ganache as evenly as possible over the pepitas.
Layer 2 (middle)
1. With your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
Layer 3 (top)
2. Nestle the remaining cake round into the ganache. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining ganache. Give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. Garnish the ganache with the pie dough crumbs and remaining pepitas.
3. Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
4. At least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days).
5. Slice the cake into wedges and serve.
Directions for Toasted Pepitas
1. Preheat your oven to 325.
2. Spread pepitas on an unlined baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
3. Let cool.
Directions to Pumpkin Pie Cake
1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. On low speed, stream in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous, with no streaks of fat. Don’t rush the process. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. On very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Detach the paddle and remove the bowl from the mixer. Dump the pumpkin puree into the bowl and, with a spatula, fold them into the batter.
6. Pam-spray a quarter of sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.
7. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.
8. Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
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