Baked’s Pumpkin Almond Cake
At this time of year, we go gaga for pumpkin.
Me, included. But just not in pie.
Those of you who have read me long enough know that I love all things pumpkin — just not pie.
As a result, it’s always a challenge to find something pumpkin-y for Thanksgiving that is not the typical pie. Something special enough to serve guests. Something grand enough to be the memorable sweet finale to such a meaningful holiday that we wait for all year-long.
Thank goodness for the guys at Baked bakery in Brooklyn, who have come up with “Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting.” It’s from the newest cookbook, “Baked Elements” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, who gave up their jobs in advertising to open their much-praised bakery known for its homey and ridiculously satisfying cookies, cakes and pastries.
This cookbook, their third, includes 75 recipes that highlight their 10 favorite ingredients — everything from peanut butter to malted milk powder to cheese, and of course, pumpkin.
The intro to the pumpkin cake recipe is a hoot. The guys write that they kid themselves into thinking that a one-layer cake like this one is so much better for you than a two- or three-layer one. Ah, men after my own heart.
The truth is the cake is full of rich and wonderful ingredients. But the fact that it’s one layer does make it easier to bake and frost.
This cake has autumn written all over it. The flavors make you think of roaring fireplaces, fallen leaves and cozy sweaters. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves will do that.
It’s a very moist cake that stays that way even after a couple of days, if you happen to have leftovers. The crumb is quite tender like a cupcake’s. The taste is pumpkin-y and spicy, but thankfully, not terribly sweet.
That’s true even with the frosting, which is a nice change of pace from the usual cream cheese-laden one. Instead, the luscious, thick frosting gets its body from almond butter enlivened with a little vanilla bean paste, a pinch of salt, a couple pats of butter and a splash of almond milk. The result is a frosting that doesn’t taste of sugar, but of rich, nutty almonds. How perfect is that?
For me, it’s the perfect pumpkin treat at this time of year. Take my word for it, you don’t have to be a pumpkin pie-hater to love this pumpkin cake.
Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting
(Makes one 9-inch, single-layer cake)
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
For the Almond Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup almond butter
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 to 4 tablespoons almond milk, to taste
1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, or pumpkin seeds, raw or toasted
To make the pumpkin almond cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter one 9-inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin puree and beat just until incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for a few more seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, then turn the cake out onto the rack. Remove parchment, flip the cake right side up, and let the cake cool completely.
To make the almond butter frosting: Place almond butter, butter, 2 tablespoons of almond milk, 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until frosting comes together and is shiny and smooth. If you prefer a slightly looser frosting, add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons almond milk. If you prefer a thicker frosting, add 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Process again.
To assemble the cake: Transfer cake to a board or serving platter and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top. Sprinkle perimeter with almonds or pumpkin seeds.
The cake can be stored, lightly covered, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
From “Baked Elements” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
More Non-Pumpkin-Pie Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes: Pumpkin Swirl Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate-Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce
And: Kabocha Squash Cheesecake with Walnut Crust
And: Frozen Maple-Mousse Pie with Candied Cranberries
More Baked Bakery Recipes: Nutella Scones
And: Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks
And: Root Beer Bundt Cake
That cake looks amazing! What a fabulous combination.
I wonder if this will work on the husband. He doesn’t like pumpkin pie either but this might just change his mind!
That frosting sounds so interesting! I would love to give this cake a try. While I do like pumpkin pie, I love pumpkin cakes and cookies. Most of all I love roasting my own pumpkin – it makes a serious difference in baked goods.
Laura Dembowski: You can totally roast your own pumpkin to make the pumpkin puree for this cake. In the cookbook, the Baked guys even include directions for that. Though, they think the difference between canned and freshly roasted is pretty miniscule. Still, they enjoy roasting their own for the quiet calm they get from methodically scraping out the pumpkin and picking out the precious seeds. 😉
This cake is just gorgeous! I would love a slice right now, no need to wait for Thanksgiving 🙂
In the previous comment you talk about roasting your own pumpkin. I have very little (almost none) pumpkin experience, because pumpkin skin is so hard and I don’t have the patience to deal with it. Do you think I could roast it whole, with seeds and all? And then maybe the skin would be softer And I could easily cut it and puree the meat?
I prefer using my own roasted pumpkin puree in my fall baking. I even freeze some to use throughout the year. This cake looks delicious. I’m sure that the buttermilk and almond flour add to both it’s moistness and flavor. Thanks for sharing it. It’s on my must try this list. Wishing you and your husband a very Happy Thanksgiving. We will be at my Mother’s in MN.
Oh this cake looks beyond delicious!! I so agree this should be on the try real soon list!
I’m not a pumpkin pie fan either, but pumpkin in other baked goods is cool with me. This looks like a delicious cake for any season. Recipe bookmarked… thanks! 🙂
CookingRookie: If you are using a small pumpkin(and the smaller ones tend to have better flavor and texture), you can microwave the whole thing for a couple of minutes, just until it’s soft enough to get a knife into. I use that trick with all hard small squashes like kabocha and butternut.
Oh yeah, I love indulging in some pumpkin desserts in the Fall. I’m not really a pie person…this looks really decadent especially with the Almond butter frosting!
One question — what is vanilla bean paste?
Today, we drove past a pumpkin patch and I was amazed by the variety and shapes and sizes of pumpkins that you guys have! It’s amazing! :O
I’ve had my eye on this cake. I can’t wait to try it. The frosting sounds incredible!
LisaH: Vanilla bean paste is just what it sounds like. It’s a paste made with vanilla beans. You can substitute vanilla extract if you like. The advantage of vanilla bean paste is the flavor is more concentrated and you get the actual tiny vanilla bean seeds in it.
Hooray, Baked! I love pumpkin (and almonds), too, so I’ve had my eye on this one. Knowing that you liked it will move it even further up my list! 🙂 Have a great Thanksgiving!
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i’m liking the look of that frosting! what an interesting choice to use to top a pumpkin cake!
MMMMMM,..;What a festive & georgous decorated cake is surely is! 🙂 So creative, so special too!
Fabulous cake! I am actually going to be baking it this week as part of the Baked Sunday Mornings challenge. So great to see it in its finished state.
I too love everything pumpkin. (but also pie)
Those Baked Boys are great.
Beautiful pumpkin cake! Pumpkin pie is overrated at this point, so it’s nice to see a delicious cake instead for the season 🙂
mmn. how nice 🙂
Wow, I’m so sad I didn’t find this recipe sooner! I was scouting for almond flour desserts and happened across this recipe and thought the combination of pumpkin and almond butter was just crazy enough to work!
The cake was absolutely delicious! I did go off-recipe here and there – namely mixing about half a cup of pecans into the batter for some crunch (because I didn’t have almonds), adding about a tablespoon of malted milk powder (makes for a richer flavor), adding in some vanilla extract to the cake itself (because I put vanilla in all my desserts), using the entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (because what am I going to do with half a cup of pumpkin?) and using pumpkin pie spice instead of the cloves/nutmeg/ginger (because I had pumpkin pie spice on hand). I also found I had to bake it longer because the cake was still jiggly after 50 minutes in the oven. I forgot to shake the buttermilk too – oops!
The end result was a melt-in-your-mouth cake with a delightfully delicious mix of flavors! I know cream cheese and pumpkin are the timeless classic combination, but almond butter and pumpkin was an exceptionally tasty change of pace. Next time I make this – and there will definitely be a next time – I want to use some sliced almonds in and on the cake.
I was also very pleasantly surprised to find that this cake was not grossly lumpy like many cakes I’ve made with almond flour in the past. I took the cake with me to work and everyone absolutely loved it! This one will definitely be going in my recipe box. Thank you for sharing! I may have to get the cookbook you referenced too!
Hi Ellie: So glad you loved the cake. It’s got such a wonderful homespun taste and texture. I have a friend who makes it every Thanksgiving. Your tweaks sound wonderful, too. I’m definitely just going to use a whole can of pumpkin puree next time, since as you so rightly pointed out, it makes more sense to do so than to have that little bit leftover. Thanks for all the feedback. Happy baking! 😉