Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream

I solemnly swear never again to laugh, snicker or giggle at any baked confection immoralized on Cake Wrecks.

With that said, I had an inkling this was a serious assignment when Marie wished us Good Luck. "This mission, should you decide to accept it....." came to mind.

I baked the cake Saturday night. It went together without any mishap. The tricky bit was getting the walnuts out of their skins. Cooled, I gave them a spin through an ancient turn key nut chopper for a finer texture. The baking cakes filled the house with a glorious aroma. They turned out of the molds easily and there sat two of the cutest, most perfectly formed little pumpkin halves ready to be tucked away for the night.

Brandishing a new instant read thermometer, I had a go at the Creme Angalise. The sugar and water turned a beautiful shade of amber but refused to reach the required temperature, because of course, I didn't notice the fine print instructions never having read them at all. It started smoking and smelled horrid.

When I poured in the milk, it not only refused to foam, it immediately curdled. I took the term "Burnt" a little too literal and whisked in the eggs. It didn't help. Thank goodness Marie had posted, solving the thermometer mystery. I started over and magically the concoction turned into the most lovely caramel creamy confection.

With this new found success, I figured whipping up the Italian Meringue would be a snap. My unearthed hand mixer seemed to be missing its beaters. The trusty hand crank egg beater was pressed into service. It worked like a charm.

Totally on a roll, I felt quite confident making the sugar syrup and instead managed to produce rock candy in three minutes. A couple hours and many egg whites later, I poured the hot syrup straight into the very patient meringue.

Adding the lovely Creme Anglaise to the creamed butter did not go well. I followed Rose's instruction to heat the pan over simmering water. The butter mixture smoothed out and accepted the meringue. It looked beautiful, tasted fantastic and this was the point I realized perhaps I had become a little too emotionally invested in this Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream.

I couldn't bare to add the orange food coloring paste which consisted mainly of artificial ingredients. It was so delicate and pure, this caramely, orangy, vanilla-y perfection. I began frosting the little pumpkin and it turned into a colassal mess.

By this time it was after midnight but I was determined to mold marzipan. After all, how hard can playing with Marzipan be? As it turned out, not quite as easy as Play-Doh. .

The bowling ball was adorned with marzipan modern art and my husband only too happy to have the first taste.

"This is better than anything at Starbucks."

I loved the flavor combination of this cake with the orange undertones in the buttercream.
I loved it so much I sent half of it to my daughter's office. Her office loved it and one co-worker asked to take home the last remaining pieces. They volunteered to taste test any and all future Heavenly Cake Bake-throughs. This cake was a definite hit.

Nut chopper thing

Ta Da!

I'll have a Venti Hot Chai No Water Tea Latte, please.


  1. Yay Vicki, you made it! Your pumpkin cake turned out looking lovely & delicious!!! And i loved how you decorated it! You have all these cute equipment! I like the nut chopper thing!

  2. looks great and delicious! I know what you mean about getting emotionally invested in the buttercream... it's a serious business :)

  3. Congratulations! I enjoyed your cake story -- lots of suspense, but a happy ending.

  4. Hahahahaha... your cake wrecks comment had me laughing out loud!!

    So glad you survived this baking experience!


  5. ב''ה

    Well done. I also was not so happy with the food coloring...

  6. Your tale makes me even more glad that I didn't try the more elaborate buttercream. But with all that, what a great-looking cake you ended up with!

  7. Vicki - I'm glad you survived the buttercream adventure. Great writing too! And your cake looks very nice and cute. It does not look like a bowling ball. I think you're being too hard on yourself.

  8. You deserve a badge or a medal for your adventure. And you pulled out all the stops for this one stem, tendrils leaves and all! It looks great - not a cake wreck.
    Incidentally, one of my favorite cakewrecks is when they write "Leave Blank" in icing across the cake.