Cheesecake-Stuffed Pumpkin Spice Cake with Bourbon Glaze
Baking is something I just recently started getting into. I think I've always had the creativity it takes to bake, but zero of the skill needed to actually bake something. My lack of baking skills is a long-running family joke - partially due to the brownies I made one time that could have doubled as shoe soles, and partially due to the chocolate chip cookies that could have been cement pavers. Regardless of my baking mishaps, I have gotten better. A lot better. People actually eat things that I bake now.
When we started registering for our bridal shower & wedding, I added a ton of baking pans - a muffin tin, angel food cake pan, bundt pan, etc. Brian was a little skeptical, knowing that baking isn't my calling. But they stayed on the registry, and I got them for my shower! As excited as I was to try them all out, I knew I should have started with something that was easy. Something that would have been nearly impossible to mess up (like a box cake mix). That didn't happen...
Luckily, living with a chef means I have needed to step up my game in the kitchen and this cake was no different. I figured it was either go big or go home - and since I was already home, I needed to go big. It's no secret that I love pumpkin spice everything - PSL, Pumpkin beer (like my favorite from Southern Tier Brewing Co), pumpkin spice coffee creamer, even pumpkin spice potpourri. And I especially love pumpkin roll with a cream cheese filling. Knowing the basic steps of making a pumpkin roll, I didn't have the tools (i.e. - jelly roll pan). That's where my creativity kicked in a little. I found two recipes for pumpkin spice bundt cakes and combined them to make my own. There are people who prefer more of a pumpkin flavor, and then those who like the spice flavor more. I'm right in the middle. I want to know there's pumpkin and spice. Then I found a recipe for a traditional cream cheese filing and made that for the "stuffing."
On the verge of biting off more than I can chew, I knew my cake needed a glaze - and what better way to top off this cake with a bourbon
glaze. I didn't want to use top-shelf bourbon for the glaze, not being 100% certain that it would turn out, so to cut the bite of a middle-tier bourbon, I added brown sugar. It was the perfect combination - sweet, rich, and still boozy. This icing can be made without the bourbon, if you want this to be a family-friendly cake. It will still taste delicious!
While in the pantry getting baking supplies, I stumbled across a container of pecans. Lightbulb. What better way to top a pumpkin spice, cream cheese stuffed, bourbon glazed cake than to candy some pecans?!
Full disclosure, I didn't make a true candied pecan. But it's pretty darn close. The final product turned out better than I could have ever imagined - the cake was moist and rich and perfect for fall. Truly, the hardest part about this cake was washing the mixing bowl so many times. While this may have been my first bundt cake, it certainly won't be my last.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp Gentleman Jack (or your bourbon of choice)
1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Drizzle of EVOO
1 Tbsp Honey
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, loosely packed
1. In a mixer, combine oil, powdered sugar, and eggs and mix until light and fluffy. Slowly begin incorporating the flour.
2. After well mixed (it will be very dough-y and not look like cake batter), add the spices, canned pumpkin, and baking soda. Mix until combined and smooth. Pour into large bowl and set to the side.
3. In a clean mixing bowl, begin making the cream cheese filling. Cream the egg and sugar. Mix in other ingredients until smooth and creamy. This takes about 10 minutes.
4. In a greased bundt pan, pour half of the pumpkin spice cake mix. Carefully layer the cream cheese filling on top. Spread with a spatula, then top with the remainder of the cake batter.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. While the cake is baking, heat a drizzle of EVOO in saute pan on medium. Spread chopped pecans evenly and coat with honey. Once the pecans are covered in honey, sprinkle brown sugar and stir. Cook for about 8 minutes until the sugar melts. Spread out on parchment paper and let cool for about 20 minutes.
7. Once the cake is out of the oven, let cool for 10 minutes before turning over onto a cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
8. To make icing, mix powdered sugar, brown sugar, melted butter, and bourbon in a microwavable bowl. Microwave in 20-second increments and stir until the ingredients are mixed and icing is smooth.
9. Drizzle icing over cake and top with candied pecans.
This cake is best served with a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream - but that's just a personal preference!