Baking Contest Finalists: “…Is It Pumpkin I Said?”

Another one of our favourite finalists of the Baking Contest was this brown butter pumpkin cake with whipped cream cheese and honey frosting. Beautifully presented, and the perfect cake to eat on a winter night, with a soft blanket and a good book.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • (1) 15 oz can pureed pumpkin or 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • powdered sugar for garnish (optional)


Whipped Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 16 oz softened cream cheese



  1. Preheat the oven to 176 degrees celsius.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger until well blended. Set aside. In a large bowl mix together the sugar, honey, warm brown butter, and oil until the sugar appears to have dissolved slightly. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then add the pumpkin and mix until smooth.
  3. Whisk together the vanilla extract and coconut milk in a small bowl until combined, then add half of the coconut to the bowl, mixing at medium-low speed, and then add half of the flour mixture, and repeat.b178c3363e87363e42ddad15e7af35ee
  4. Once the ingredients have been incorporated, evenly distribute the cake batter between 3 well-greased and lightly floured 8-inch cake pans. Place the pans in the oven and bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until the cakes are golden around the edges and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allot the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before flipping them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. While the cake is cooling, you can prepare the whipped cream cheese. Whip the cream cheese at vigorously until fluffy, add a tablespoon of the milk and a tablespoon of the honey, then whisk for another minute before repeating this process two more times. The cream cheese should look light and fluffy, kind of like a meringue. Layer the whipped cream cheese between the first two layers of the cake, then garnish the top layer with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and serve immediately.
Browning Butter: Heat the butter in a large shallow frying pan over medium heat until melted. Swirl the pan around a bit every couple minutes to help it cook evenly. Over a period of several minutes, you’ll notice the foam at the top of the butter start to change from light yellow to a dark tan. Once it reaches the dark tan stage and the butter looks light brown and golden, smell it. It should smell nutty and similar to toffee. Remove from heat and set aside.
Homemade Pumpkin Puree: Cut the top off of one small to medium sized cooking pumpkin, then cut the pumpkin into smaller, easier to manage sections (i.e. sixths or eighths). Scrape the seeds out of each section, but make sure to leave most of the flesh on each pumpkin section. Arrange the sections in a large 13 x 9 inch baking dish (I often use a brownie pan) and pour approximately 1 to 2 cups of water over the pieces, making sure a nice shallow pool of water is in the pan. Bake at 180 to 200 degrees celsius for an hour and half or until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes or until cool enough to scrape the flesh from the pumpkin. Place scraped flesh into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You can also add nutmeg and cinnamon to the flesh before blending to achieve the full autumn flavor that is found in the canned pumpkin purees.
Editor’s Note: You can find another festive treat, The Butternut Squash Cheesecake, in the Cottage Kitchen between Dec 1-7th, 2014 with 50% of the cost going towards Women and Children First. 
Images courtesy of Adventures in Cooking on Pinterest.