Lightened-up pumpkin cake is dressed with a rich cream cheese frosting and decorated with toasted coconut
It’s a pumpkin dessert! Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, to be specific.
I’m going to disclaim here that there’s nothing super special about it, other than that it is one of those honest to goodness simple cakes, without much fuss, but with enough good looks that it gives eating it a bit of ceremony. Plus it’s fall and it seems that i wouldn’t be a food blog worth my salt if I didn’t post something pumpkin this month, right?
It started out because I made a few carrot cakes and happened to have extra frosting, extra coconut, extra time and an errant can of pumpkin the pantry. Granted coconut doesn’t typically dress a pumpkin cake, but this is one of those I do what I want sort of cake.
I used sugar and spice and all things nice, including a nice heaping tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (yes, that much). OR, if you’d rather piecemeal the spice, I’ve got a kick-butt blend for that, too. Applesauce with oil keeps it nice and moist and makes us feel a little less guilty for making it with three layers of frosting (if cake guilt is a thing for you, because it really isn’t for me!). Nuts are usually my jam, but I didn’t have enough, so we’re nut-free today (but I suggest pecans or walnuts, toasted and salted if you’re doing it). Though this cake was an afterthought, it should really be more of a forethought and eaten regularly with friends over tea. Or Thanksgiving (sorry, Canada for being late to the game!).
As for the frosting, it’s my go-to cream cheese. Equal parts butter and cream cheese mean it’s not too heavy on either, just the way I like it. Feeling like maple? Throw in some extract and it’ll be splendid.
And finally, this is is a mini cake because I live in a mini-household, a party of two, one of whom only likes the frosting (though I suspect you have some in your household are the same). It fits a 6” round, or an 8” square and is just pumpkin-perfect enough to get you in the fall mood.
- 1/2 (15-ounce) can canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 TB pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 brick cream cheese, room temp
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 TB whipping cream or milk
- 2 cups toasted coconut
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, sugar, salt and spice and beat until blended. Add the eggs and pumpkin and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients and blend well, careful not to over bake.
- Butter and sugar a 6" x 4" round cake pan (or an 8" square), and add the batter. Tap it lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles and bake until a tester is clean, about 60 minutes for the round, 35 for the square. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes and remove to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting: whip the butter and cream cheese until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla and salt, and slowly add the sugar and cream, as needed, until you have a smooth frosting.
- Once the cake has cooled, slice into 2 or 3 layers and evenly frost. Line the outside with toasted coconut as you wish.
Written after happy hour, and a very large pour.