Perfect as an autumnal and Halloween showstopper, to both trick and treat your friends and family with. From easy peeler deceiver ‘pumpkins’ complete with chocolate orange match maker stalk, to my pumpkin spiced edible pot pourri, a whole mix of fun and flavours is on show.
The cake itself is made up of a deliciously spiced and moist sponge, with a generous helping of mixed nuts folded through it. Being a big coffee and pumpkin spiced latte lover, I’ve also included an option to soak the cakes with a coffee syrup-with or without an extra shot of alcoholic ‘spirit’!
A tangy cream cheese buttercream frosting fills and tops the cakes layers, adding a moreish bite to the slices and edible canvas upon which to decorate the cake with. It’s creamy palette very much inspired by the colour of the Laura Ashley Pumpkin spiced candle, the scent of which carries through into the cake and decoration.
From spiced biscuit leaves, to an assortment of dried cranberries, citrus slices, pumpkin seeds and more, the edible autumnal confetti is a delicious and striking way of decorating the cake.While at the same time filling bowls (ideally pumpkin shaped!) to serve alongside it. Fooling your guests and trick or treaters into thinking its pot pourri!
The dried citrus slices can easily be achieved, by thinly slicing some of your unpeeled easy peelers and laying them on to a few sheets of kitchen roll to soak up the juices, before transferring on to a baking tray lined with non stick parchment and drying out in a very low oven.You can do this after baking your cakes and biscuits, having turned off the oven and placing the tray in there for a few hours, or even overnight. If you happen to have a dehydrator, then using one here is ideal. Apart from making the perfect dried citrus slices, it also makes your house smell like an orangery! An extra pumpkin spiced one if you have the cakes baking and candle burning too!
From pumpkin lanterns to chinese lanterns, more citrus pops of colour and taste are highlighted through the addition of physalis on the cake.
One slice to two, there’s certainly lots to go round and entertain both the baker and those devouring this cake.You can also easily make cupcake sized versions of the bake too, decorating each one with an assortment of the edible confetti and easy peeler pumpkins.Whatever your preference, be sure to enjoy, ideally with a pumpkin spiced latte!
FOR THE CAKE
300g butter, softened
300g light muscovado sugar
6 eggs, beaten
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp mixed spice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g self-raising flour
150g mixed nuts, chopped into pieces
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
150g butter, softened 300g icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract 300g full fat cream cheese
FOR THE BISCUITS
150g butter, softened
150g light muscovado sugar 1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
300g plain flour
FOR THE DECORATION
pumpkin seeds, mixed nuts, chopped hazelnuts, copper clusters, star anise, cinnamon stick, rosemary sprigs, physalis, dried cranberries, clementines, dried citrus slices, chocolate orange matchmakers, orange smarties and reeses pieces-whole and broken into pieces, edible gold dust and glitter
Begin by making the biscuit dough. Using a hand-held electric whisk, or in a free- standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 3–5 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Break the egg into a mug or jug, add the vanilla extract and beat with a fork. Gradually add the egg to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and spices into the mixture in batches, mixing in each batch gently, to make a soft dough.
Halve the dough and pat each piece into a rough disc (this makes it easier to roll out later). Put into two food bags, or wrap in clingfilm. Refrigerate for several hours, preferably overnight, to firm up. Just remember to remove the dough from the fridge 15/30 minutes before rolling out to make it easier to roll out once chilled and rested. You can also freeze one batch of the dough to use at a later date, unless your wanting to make a big supply of biscuit leaves and edible pot pourri!
To make the cakes, begin by pre-heating the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
Using a hand-held electric whisk, or in a free-standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for 5–10 minutes or until the mixture is very light and creamy and takes on a pale café-au-lait shade. Break the eggs into a mug or jug and gradually add to the creamed butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl as you go. Next beat in the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Sift the flour in batches into the mixture and fold it in until just combined. Finally, stir through the chopped mixed nuts.
Divide and spoon the cake mixture into your prepared tins and level it out. Bake for approx 25 minutes, or until the cakes have risen and a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin before removing the cakes and transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
While the cakes are baking/cooling you can make the biscuit leaves. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking parchment to the thickness of a 50-pence piece. Peel off the top layer of parchment and and cut out biscuit leaves with the cutters. Pull up the trimmings and re-roll them between more parchment, then cut out more leaf shapes. Lift the biscuits, on the parchment, on to baking trays and chill for about 15 minutes.You can also slice thin strips of dough to create biscuit sticks and twigs with. Bake for 5–8 minutes, depending on their size and thickness, until deep golden brown round the edges. Leave the biscuits to firm up on the trays, then place on to a wire rack to cool.
To make the cream cheese buttercream, put the butter into the bowl of a free standing mixer and beat until creamy. Sift in the icing sugar and cover the bowl with a tea towel to prevent a cloud of sugar from escaping and start beating slowly. Increase the speed and beat until the mixture is fluffy, creamy and almost white, stopping a few times to scrape down the side of the bowl. Beating for several minutes at full speed to create a really light finish, before beating in the vanilla extract. If you are using a hand-held electric whisk, beat the butter in a medium bowl until soft and pale, then sift the icing sugar into the bowl in batches, working in the sugar with a spoon before adding the vanilla extract. Beat at full speed until the buttercream is really light and fluffy. Finally, beat in the cream cheese for about 1 minute (not much more – if you overbeat at this stage the cream cheese can ‘split’ and loosen the buttercream; if this does happen, place it in the fridge to firm up slightly). Place a small amount of the buttercream into a disposable piping bag, either fitted with a wide round nozzle or cut 2cm from the end of the bag, to pipe on the cake as decoration once assembled.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake onto a serving plate or cake stand.Top with 1/3 of the buttercream and with a palette knife, spread over the surface evenly. Repeat with the remaining layers, to create a three tiered naked cake effect.
To decorate and create your clementine pumpkin, peel off the citrus’ skin and position on top of the cake. Place a broken off piece of a chocolate orange match maker stick in the top to look like the pumpkins stalk. Surround the citrus pumpkin with more mini pumpkins if using, together with all the other decorative and edible ‘pot pourri’ selection, like in the the photos. It looks best if you cover only about 3/4 of the cake’s surface, just scattering some edible confetti and glitter over the remainder.
To give the cake a pumpkin spice latte taste, you can make a quick coffee syrup (with or without extra spirit!) to soak into the sponge layers once baked. Simply follow the recipe below and once baked, prick the surface of the cakes all over with a cocktail stick or fork and brush with the syrup. Leave it to soak in, then give the cake a second brushing of syrup. Once the cake has cooled in the tin for about 15 minutes, remove it and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
FOR THE COFFEE SYRUP
1 tsp instant coffee
50ml boiling water
50ml light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp of coffee liqueur, such as tia Maria, optional
Put the coffee in a small pan, add the boiling water and stir to dissolve the granules. Stir in the sugar. Set the pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for a few minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved and you are left with a runny syrup. Remove from the heat and stir in the liqueur, if using.