Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Browned Butter Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Spiced Bourbon Pumpkin Glaze

Because everyone else is doing it. That's an acceptable reason to do something, right? All the predictions of what 2012 will bring got me thinking. It always does. I’m always wrong. Let’s move on.

Julie’s Grand Food Trend Predictions of 2012!
[Let’s be honest, this list is grand as in lofty. My lofty notions of what I wish 2012 would bring. One can dream, right?]

  • First off, I just need to say that macarons are not a new trend. They’re an old trend. They are not the new cupcake. Cupcakes are not out. Both are delicious, infinitely adaptable to many flavors, and portable - and thus will remain around until people decide they hate sugar. Cakepops, pies, donuts, and any obscure French pastry may join alongside them, but they will not replace them.
  • Already trendy vegetables will find new ways of staying on peoples' plates. Kale chips and roasted Brussels sprouts are so 2011. They’ve officially been introduced to the masses. Now that the initial shock has passed that these past-maligned veggies are as tasty as they are nutrient-dense, we’re ready for new ways to eat them. Less approachable ways. Like raw! Massaged kale salads and shredded sprouts slaws I’m looking forward to seeing you on a restaurant menu or two! One can dream...
  • Quick pickles. 2011 was the year of savory canning. We discovered we could mass-produce not only blackberry jams and dill pickles, but also our own tomato sauces, and pickles of the non-cucumber variety. And kimchi? That was a craze all its own. While acidic, fermented foods are fabulous in their funkiness, who has time for all that? Tossing crunchy raw veggies with a quick salt/vinegar/sugar solution produces quick and refreshing results to liven up richer dishes.

  • Approachable game. Game meats are nothing new, but I’ve traditionally seen them at nicer restaurants, setting their menu apart by offering something beyond just the same ol’ proteins. I’m all about fine dining on squab leg and venison loin, but I think we’ll see more rabbit burgers and wild boar meatloaf - more casual restaurants using game to reinvent the classics. Because, inextricably, the classics are always boring and need reinvention yet we are unwilling to let them stray too far from our forks.

  • Exotic spices are no longer very exotic. You know smoked paprika has arrived when you can buy it in the big bulk container at Costco. And that’s a great thing because smoked paprika makes a lot of dishes more yummy, and I go through it, well, in Costco quantities! Finding cardamom used to be such a treasure hunt, I would covet the lone jar I was able to locate, only breaking it out for the most appropriate of flavor pairings. Now each spice company not only sells garam masala right alongside the curry powder, but I’m thinking we’ll see ras el hanout and zaatar in the near future as well.
  • Food trucks and craft breweries are reaching critical mass, a girl can only get ripped off eat and drink so much, but they are another trend that’s not going anywhere. I foresee the not as well executed places falling on hard times while the real gems will be just fine. After all, both of these trended so hard in the first place because of crazy internet buzz. People will still buzz about the places that are worth while. And yes, sour beers are the new IPA. Glad I’ve finally started developing a taste for them.
  • I have no idea what the next diet fad will be, but vegan and gluten free have proven to be such a profitable marketing scheme for food companies, I’m sure something will pop up. Perhaps something as simple as sugar-free? Sugar is the latest evil, after all. But I just don’t see that happening. It’s also an addiction. While I might disagree, the world at large would argue that eggs (runny eggs!) are not habit forming. Nor is sourdough bread. Supposedly. If I had my way, the next fad would be “reasonably sweet”. I’m all for sugar, just not in the ridiculous quantities we use currently.

That’s it! My wishlist for 2012. Can we get on this, people? Take to the interwebs! #hashtag things! If we can get runny yolks on rabbit burgers at Applebee’s by September, I’ll learn to brew killer beer at home and give you all a bottle. Promise.

This whole exercise was really just to distract from the fact that I’m posting a recipe with nothing more than this grainy Instagram picture a couple of shoddy pics I shot on my iPhone. The holidays have really thrown me for a loop and come 8pm on a Tuesday night I am decidedly unwilling to break out the fancy camera to get the money shots while I drool all over the floor in anticipation of stuffing my face with the confection in question. Sorry.

The confection in question contains really amazing things that will make you drool everywhere too. Browned butter. It’s very 2011. It makes things buttery (obbbbviously), with a nuttier flavor. You know how I love the nutty flavor. … Please resist the dirty joke I just opened myself up for. We have cake to talk about. Pumpkin cake. Oh yes.  We’re not over the pumpkin yet are we? Good. Because it’s delicious. I know come December 1st, every fiber of my being screams for gingerbread flavored anything. But this cake is very heavy on the spice. Including ginger. Not pepper though. Good in gingerbread, but cardamom is best when it comes to pumpkin. And of course it has bourbon. The smokey flavor goes swimmingly with the browned butter. Bourbon, browned butter, and pumpkin. In a cake. You can forgive the picture now, right?

And let’s not forget the glaze. I love glaze on a bundt cake. The way it oozes over the cake when you first mix it. Watching it harden into a shiny shell, like it’s protecting something precious. Because it is protecting something precious. Unless you mixed up the salt and sugar. Then it's not so precious anymore. Then there's the panic that sets in when it slides right off the cake because you didn’t thicken it enough, as you hurry to scoop it up and re-pour it so you can get adequate glaze coverage. Oh yeah, that’s another reason I didn’t take any beauty shots. Thicken it right, people. You won’t want any paltry coating of this glaze. I used the remaining few tablespoons of the canned pumpkin puree in the glaze to boost the pumpkin oomph. And of course more bourbon. Oomph indeed! With the maple syrup and spices, I wanted to eat just a bowl of glaze. I might have licked a scoop or two off my finger, but you'll never know for sure.

So here’s to pumpkin, a food that will always be trendy. And delicious.  And remember to always brown your butter.

Please resist the dirty joke I just opened myself up for, and instead tell me what you'd like to see hit it big in 2012.

Browned Butter Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Spiced Bourbon Pumpkin Glaze

Cake adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

For the cake:
6 oz. (¾ cup) unsalted butter
8.5 oz. (2 cups) AP flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
7 oz. (1 cup) granulated sugar
7.5 oz. (1 cup) firmly packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup Greek yogurt, room temperature
3 TB bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 TB bourbon
1 TB maple syrup
2 TB pumpkin puree
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg (optional)
pinch of fine sea salt
1-2 TB milk, if needed

For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with baking spray.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter turns a rich, golden brown, swirling or stirring often so it doesn’t burn. Keep a watchful eye. It goes from brown to black very quickly. Pour the browned butter into a small bowl and let it stand until cool but not solidified.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and bourbon until well combined. Whisk in the browned butter until it’s well blended. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until it is just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan and cool it completely on a cooling rack.

For the glaze:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, bourbon, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree, until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Add the spices and salt and whisk to combine. Add the milk (if needed), a small amount at a time, until the glaze is thin enough to pour and drip, but thick enough to stay mostly on the cake. Glaze too thin will pour right off the cake. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar until your desired consistency is reached.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the completely cooled cake. Give it a few minutes to set up, then slice and enjoy.


  1. Loved this post and your predictions for 2012! I could definitely deal with a rabbit burger or two in my future!

  2. What a yummy cake recipe. I like the nutmeg addition in the ingredients. Happy New Year!

  3. I love you sometimes whimsical list. Very entertaining! :)

  4. i need a bundt pan - they're so beautiful!

  5. I love baking bundt cakes! Pumpkin bundt sounds divine. Especially with that gorgeous glaze. :)