Delight your guests with our three-tier spiced pumpkin cake, topped with a delicately sweet frosting and crunchy pecan praline
For the cake
425g pumpkin purée (can be tinned)
200g soft dark brown sugar
300g caster sugar
240ml sunflower oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Zest of 1 orange
375g self raising flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
For the praline
150g caster sugar
For the frosting
250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
2 – 3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 x 18cm cake tins, greased and base lined
Preheat the Miele oven on Fan plus 160°C. For the cake, in a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, sugars, sunflower oil, water, eggs and orange zest. Mix well until incorporated together. In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt and spices.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold in until just combined.
Divide the mixture evenly between the three cake tins. Place the tins on the oven baking tray and put in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Turn out of the cake tins and leave on wire racks to cool completely.
To make the praline, place the pecans on a baking tray and toast in the oven at Fan plus 170°C for 5 – 6 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, place the caster sugar in an even layer across the base of a clean frying pan. Using a medium high heat, allow the sugar to melt and caramelise to become a rich golden colour.
Reserve five to seven nicely shaped pecans, then place the rest on non-stick paper on a baking tray. When the sugar has caramelised, very carefully pour the caramel over the pecans but reserve a little of the caramel in the pan. Allow this to cool slightly, insert a cocktail stick into each of the five reserved pecans. Using the cocktail stick as a ‘handle’ dip the pecans one by one into the cooling caramel. Sellotape the cocktail sticks to the edge of a works surface, allowing the caramel to run off the pecans to make sugar spikes. Leave to cool completely.
Return to the cooled, set pecan praline and break it up into pieces. Place in a food processor and blitz to a rough powder. Set aside.
To make the frosting, place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and add in the icing sugar, maple syrup and ground cinnamon. Mix together with an electric hand whisk to make a very light and fluffy frosting – this will take seven to eight minutes of continual whisking depending on the softness of the butter.
To assemble, place one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand and spread just over a quarter of the frosting over the surface. Place the second cake on top and spread with another quarter of frosting. Finish with the final cake and cover the top with a more generous amount of frosting leaving some frosting to cover the sides. Roughly spread the remaining frosting around the sides of the cake. Run a palette knife under hot water, then use the warmed knife to thinly and evenly spread the frosting round the sides of the cake to create a ‘naked’ finish.
Sprinkle a rim of powdered praline around the top of the cake. Carefully remove the pecan ‘spikes’ from their cocktail sticks and arrange upright on the centre of the cake. Slice to serve. The cake will keep in an airtight container for three to four days.