We have reached the summit! And it tastes delicious.
All week we have been slowly building a Pumpkin Ginger Caramel Cake. Each day we’ve explored one building block. That is all baking is; different building blocks that come together in various ways to create amazing combinations, like Legos. I bite my thumb at the thought that baking is too difficult because of the measuring, exactness, the science or that it lacks creativity. Once you know a few of the pieces, a few methods, the doors open and that is when creativity flows.
Each of the three pieces that make up this cake can be used in many other ways besides just this cake. But have I mentioned that this cake is INCREDIBLE? Alright, diatribe over.
So far, we’ve made a dreamy creme mousseline infused with fresh ginger and a silky salted caramel sauce. This is the final piece: a pumpkin sponge cake untainted by spices resulting in a simple yet pure pumpkin flavor.
Pumpkin Sponge Cake Recipe
1 3/4 c (360g) sugar
3/4 c (175ml) milk
1-15oz can (400g) pumpkin puree
2 1/2 c (375g) all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp (12g) baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c (150g) vegetable oil
For the sponge cake
Preheat oven to 325F (163C). Prepare two large sheet pans by greasing with butter, or spray, and lining with parchment paper. Or use three 9″ round pans. Whatever your preference.
Using whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar until thick, pale and tripled in volume. While eggs are whipping, combine puree with milk. Mix together dry ingredients.
Sift one third of the dry ingredients into the egg mix. Fold in with rubber spatula. I prefer using a whisk instead of a spatula. It helps breaks up any lumps of flour, and goes faster. Whisk only until just combined so as not to lose volume. Add a third of the milk and pumpkin mix. Whisk (or fold). Continue alternating until all wet and dry is incorporated. Add oil and whisk to combine.
Pour half the batter into each sheet pan. Even out batter. Bake for 20-25m until cake springs back to touch. Slide cakes out of pan and let cool.
Now for the assembly!
Pumpkin Ginger Caramel Cake Recipe
For my cake, I used 3 rectangular layers each half sheet pan size, reserving my 4th layer in the freezer for another use. Regardless of how many layers you have, or the shape, the strategy is all the same.
With room temperature caramel, lightly glaze one side of each cake layer except for the one that will eventually sit on top. Keep this caramel layer uber thin, less than paper thing. Chill cakes 5m. While chilling the cakes, whip up your creme mousseline on a mixer fitted with whisk if it was made previously.
Take out cakes. Spread about 3/4 to 1 c of creme on the bottom layer of the cake. Creme should be at least 3/4″ thick. Chill for 5m. Remove cakes. Place second layer caramel-side up on top of the creme on the first layer.
Trick: So as not to break the thin rectangular cake while doing this, I pulled the parchment back on the bottom just a little bit and set the edge of the cake on the first layer. Then I slowly peeled the parchment back while laying the cake down. Just like putting an inspection sticker on your car.
Add another layer of the creme. Chill 5m. Remove cakes. Place final layer on top of the cream, smooth side up. Chill cake for one hour, or up to a day, wrapped. When cake has thoroughly chilled, use a serrated knife and cut the ragged edges off the cake revealing the layers. Proceed to eat ragged edges. YUM. Cut cake into pieces while cold for clean cuts.
Finish with a drizzle of the salted caramel over the top of the cake. I also added a bit of piped creme on top for extra ginger flavor.
If you are still unsure about a great dessert for the holidays, look no further. Make this cake a week in advance and freeze. All the pieces can be made at different times and stored separately in the freezer for lengthy periods, if needed.