This cake may look similar to the Apple Cream Cheese cake I baked last week- but the pecans and the bundt pan are the only things they really have in common. I was invited to a Harvest Party last weekend, and the host requested I bring a pumpkin dessert, knowing I am always looking to bake something amazing and even better-give it away. I just can’t have entire cakes sitting around my house. Not with my 20 year (gulp) reunion looming in a week. I was reading a recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine, and came across this cake- pumpkin pecan cake with a burbon brown sugar glaze, and finished off with candied pecans. I could not resist. The party was decked out with amazing food and even better wine, and I was so happy to contribute this festive cake.
I love this cake, as in totally smitten in love. Now let me preface by saying I am a pumpkin lover. I love pumpkin ravioli, muffins, bread, and especially lattes. So it was not a huge leap for me to love a pumpkin cake. That said, the burbon element of the cake adds such an incredible depth of flavor to both the cake and especially the glaze. It’s really special. This is an ideal cake to bring to an event, as so many of the parts can be made ahead of time. The magazine suggests the cake will have the best flavor profile if you bake it a day before you serve it, and store it wrapped in plastic at room temp. The candied pecans can be make a week in advance, and stored in an airtight jar.
Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the pecans for 8 minutes, then cool and chop.
Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a small bowl mix the buttermilk, burbon and vanilla. In the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil, slowly, until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.
Add in the milk mixture and mix, then slowly add in the flour. Mix until just combined. Stir in the nuts with a spoon, gently. Fill the prepared pan with the batter, and shake the pan to make it even. Wrap on the counter to remove air bubbles.
Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, testing at 45. Mine went 50 minutes, and the tester came out mostly clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a plate and transfer to the cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely- 3 hours- before you ice the cake.
Heat the sugar,honey and water in the pan until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the nuts until well coated. (I increased the nuts to 1 1/2 cups so I would be assured ample snacking opportunities while I was working) Remove to an oiled pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove to the nuts to a parement sheet to cool. Try to separate them before they cool.
In a saucepan combine the brown sugar, burbon, butter, agave and salt. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is a smooth liquid. Add the cream, raise the heat to high, and boil for 1 minute. Stir constantly. Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the powdered sugar. Once whisked in, switch to a rubber spatula and stir vigorously to make the mixture as smooth as possible.Pour the mixture into a measuring cup (there are 2 cups of glaze) for easier glazing of the cake. Let the glaze rest for 5 minutes.
Place the cooling rack on top of a sheet tray before you glaze the cake, to keep the drippings contained. If you are anything like me, you are going to want those drippings to dip the left over candied pecans into! Once the glaze is a little set, but still pourable, pour in an even motion around the top of the cake. Allow the glaze to pool over the inside and outside. I had the hardest time glazing the apple bundt cake, and I have to say that transferring the glaze to a measuring cup and pouring made all the difference! Arrange the candied pecans on top of the cake in a pretty pattern.
- ~the cake~
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg (fresh grated if possible)
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons burbon
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sunflower oil
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 4 eggs, room temp
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 cup pecan halves, roasted and chopped
- ~the candied pecans~
- 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup pecan halves
- oil for the pan
- ~the glaze~
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar (I used light)
- ½ cup butter
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1½ tablespoons burbon
- pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ~the cake~
- Preheat the oven to 350º
- Prepare a bundt pan or a tube pan with butter and flour.
- In bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.
- In a small bowl mix the buttermilk with vanilla extract and burbon.
- In a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium high until light and fluffy. 5 minutes.
- Scrape the bowl and add the oil, mix until combined.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well in between.
- Mix in the pumpkin.
- Reduce mixer to low, and add the buttermilk mixture.
- Pour in the dry ingredients and mix until just barely combined.
- Stir in the pecan pieces by hand.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and wiggle it to get the batter even.
- Bake at 350º for 45-55 minutes. Mine went 50.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. (3 hours)
- ~the candied pecans~
- heat all the ingredient except the nuts in a pan, and stir unti the sugar dissolves.
- Stir in the nuts and make sure to coat them well.
- Pour the nuts onto an oiled baking sheet, bake for 8 minutes.
- Remove the nuts to a piece of parchment to cool.
- Try to separate the nuts as much as possible.
- ~the glaze~
- In a saucepan combine the brown sugar, burbon, butter, agave and salt. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is a smooth liquid. Add the cream, raise the heat to high, and boil for 1 minute. Stir constantly.
- Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the powdered sugar. Once whisked in, switch to a rubber spatula and stir vigorously to make the mixture as smooth as possible.
- Pour the mixture into a measuring cup (there are 2 cups of glaze) for easier glazing of the cake.
- Let the glaze rest for 5 minutes.
- Place the cake on a wire cooling rack above a sheet pan- so the sheet pan catches the overspill.
- Pour the glaze slowly and evenly down the cake, from the center, so that it pools over both sides.
- Decorate the top of the cake with the candies pecans.
- Let the glaze set up for 20 minutes, then pull the cake from the rack and place it on a serving dish.
- Store at room temperature and serve the same day.