Monthly Archives: December 2011

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

The name says it all.  It’s a pumpkin spice cake in bundt form… it can’t get any better than that. BUT it does!  Layer the inside with some vanilla cinnamon frosting and you have yourself a moist and delicious cake fit to show off at any dinner party.  I decided to bake this cake as a bundt rather than a 2 layer cake for presentation purposes and time.  I was busy making several different desserts in the kitchen during Thanksgiving and the fastest way to decorate a cake is to not!  So instead of spending a large amount of time frosting a 2 layer cake I saved some time by not frosting the bundt at all.  Do you really want to cover a gorgeous bundt cake anyway?  The cake turned out great with the frosting peeking out through the middle.  I piped the frosting for better presentation rather than icing it in like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This cake was super moist and the perfect amount of spice and pumpkin.  The recipe calls for buttermilk, which is one of my favorite ingredients to use for added moistness.  However, like all holiday baking…a disaster lurks at every corner.  While in the midst of collecting my ingredients to start the cake, I realized I didn’t have any buttermilk.  As anyone knows, going to a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving is like lining up for Best Buy for Black Friday.  It just wasn’t worth it.  So in order to solve the problem…I made my OWN buttermilk.  How do you do that?  This is such a simple and easy option that you may opt to do this for future recipes if you don’t want to spend too much money on buttermilk.

Make your own buttermilk:  Take 1 cup of milk and add 1 teaspoon of vinegar.  Mix it up and let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes prior to using.   Instant buttermilk!  Disaster averted!

I was able to make 2 pumpkin mousse tarts with the amount of time I saved not going to the market and frosting a layered cake.  Thanksgiving baking is all about planning and time management…you can never go into holiday baking blindly.  If you do…..disaster may ensue :).

Pumpkin Spice Cake

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup of light brown sugar – lightly packed
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 2 cups of cake flour or all purpose (cake flour will provide a less crumby cake)
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk at room temperature

Vanilla Cinnamon Frosting

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp of ground cinnamon



  1. Pre heat oven at 350 degrees
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add pumpkin puree and incorporate.  Add eggs into mixture 1 at a time and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Add dry ingredients in 1/3 proportions while alternating it with the buttermilk and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Spray a bundt pan generously with non stick baking spray and fill with batter.  With a rubber spatula smooth the top of the cake.
  6. Place pan into middle rack of the oven and bake for approximately 45 mins – 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Once cake is done, remove from oven and shake pan around to loosen up the cake and immediately remove from pan by flipping the cake over onto a rack to cool.


  1. Cream butter until smooth and then add sugar.  Mix until well incorporated and remember to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the mixture to avoid clumps.
  2. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon and mix on med-high speed until mixture is fluffy – about 5 minutes.
  3. Use immediately or else refrigerate until cake is ready .


Thanksgiving Dessert Attraction

It’s been several months since my last post but the baking has continued.  Pardon the interruption as I was preoccupied with my courses and am currently in the midst of finals and projects deadlines.  Although I should be studying, I deserve a break.

This past Thanksgiving was quite a treat.  The desserts on the menu was a collection of holiday items that I absolutely love: Pumpkin Spice cake with Vanilla Cinnamon Frosting, Pumpkin Mousse Tart, Peppermint bark, and Cheesecake.  I typically can’t wait to scope the market as soon as October ends for cans of pumpkin puree and Thanksgiving decor.  The tantalizing smell of cinnamon spice and holiday drinks created a nice buzz in my kitchen.  My friends and family knows me well enough to anticipate the yearly White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.

Why do I only make this once a year?

Baking a cheesecake is quite time consuming and tedious.  I reserve the cheesecake for our annual family get together because it is the perfect dessert for the holidays.  When baking a cheesecake, the most dreadful moment is *IF* and when you see a crack in your cake.  When I first began baking, I started with making cheesecakes.  As you can guess, I don’t do things the easy way 🙂   In order to achieve a fully cooked cheesecake and no cracks on your cake, it is best to place your cheesecake in a boiling water bath.  The water will conduct the heat and disperse it evenly during the baking process so the top of your cake doesn’t rise dramatically  because the sides are done baking.  With the sides “cooked” the only other place the heat can travel is underneath the middle of the pan as it can not move anywhere else.  The cracks occur when the cake is done baking and is removed from the oven.  The dramatic change in the temperature will cause it to deflate and crack.

My tricks to a perfect crack free cheesecake?

1. Hot water bath

2. When bake time is over, turn off the heat and let the cake sit in the oven for another hour with the oven door closed.  The less peaking the better!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Equipment: 1 – 9 inch spring form pan and 1 pan large enough to place the spring pan into (roasting pan, baking pan, etc) for water bath



  • 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs or graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Raspberry Sauce:

  • 1 (10 ounce) package of raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Part I : Make the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and sugar together.  Melt butter and mix well into cookie crumbs.
  3. Pour crumbs into spring form pan and pack tightly.  *I use the bottom of a glass cup to pack the crumbs in tightly*
  4. Bake in oven for 10 mins and remove and let cool. Once cooled , wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent water from entering into the pan during baking.
*reduce oven heat to 325 once crust has been removed

Part II – Raspberry Sauce

  1. Puree raspberries and place into a small sauce pan.
  2. Add sugar, cornstarch, and water and mix thoroughly to avoid any clumps.
  3. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens (~5 minutes).  DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
  4. Once thickened, pour over strainer to remove seeds and set aside. The mixture will thicken more as it cools.

Part III – Make the filling (reduce oven heat to 325 degrees)

  1. Use a double boiler or place a heat proof bowl over simmering boiling water.
  2. Add white chocolate chips and half and half and mix until melted.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a mixer – mix cream cheese until it is smooth, then add sugar and combine.  Remember to scrape down the sides with each new addition.
  5. Add eggs into mixture one at a time.  Add vanilla once eggs have been incorporated.
  6. Finally, add the white chocolate mixture in 2 additions to avoid splashing of the batter.
  7. ***For raspberry swirl cheesecake – pour half of the batter in then add several dollops of raspberry puree and run it through with a knife for the swirled effect.  Pour the remaining batter over. * reserve some sauce for the top of the cake once cake has chilled*
  8. Pour batter into spring form pan.
  9. Place into a roasting pan and fill pan with boiling water until it reaches about 1/3 – 1/2 of the way up the spring form pan.
  10. Bake @ 325 degrees for 1 hour or until top is slightly browned. You may need to bake longer than 1 hour if the water bath was not as hot and required additional time for the water to reach desired temperature.
  11. Once bake time is complete, turn off heat and keep cake in oven for another 1 hour as it rests.
  12. Chill overnight or at least 5 hours prior to serving.
  13. To remove cake from spring form pan – run a knife under some hot water and run along the edge of the cake prior to removing spring form sides.
  14. Top raspberry sauce over the cake once cake has chilled completely.