As a kid, birthdays are amazing spectacles, full of friends, cake, presents, noise-makers, silly hats, and confetti. Fire trucks, magicians, and even costumed superheroes may make an appearance. All in the spirit of celebration.
And then, at least for some, birthdays lose their luster. They cease to be either fun or exciting, but simply mark the inevitable drum beat of time and aging.
I am not there and hope never to be — hiding from my birthday, pretending it has not yet come or gone. Bring on the birthdays! And bring on the cake and presents! What’s another year, if it’s spent with friends and family, full of adventures and interesting challenges?
Two days ago, Caitlin and I celebrated my 35th birthday. We went for a run: 5 miles in 45 minutes (a feat my 20-year-old self could never do), showered up, and went out for dinner. We each enjoyed a fantastic four-course tasting menu for less than a $100 (oh, we love St. Louis) and opened wonderful presents. The next day, we enjoyed this Pumpkin Layer Cake. It was a wonderful birthday, from start to finish, and left me looking forward to the next one.
Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cinnamon Icing
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 8 to 12
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy
WHAT TO GRAB: Pumpkin Cake 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups canned pumpkin puree 1/2 cup low-fat milk Frosting 16 oz. cream cheese, softened 6 tablespoons butter, softened 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups powdered sugar (cut from 4 1/2 cups from the original to avoid a diabetic coma)
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 9-inch round cake.
2. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In another mixing bowl, whip together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until pale and fluffy. Mix in the remaining vegetable oil. Blend in eggs one at a time, adding in vanilla with last egg. Whisk in the pumpkin and milk. Working in batches, add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.
3. Divide batter equally among three prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes. Cool in cake pans 15 minutes, then run a knife around edge of cake to loosen and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Once cool frost cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
4. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add cinnamon, vanilla and powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined, then increase to medium and whip until pale and fluffy (if frosting is runny, cover and refrigerate just until it no longer is runny before spreading on cake).
5. For cleaner cut slices, allow the frosted cake to rest in the refrigerator. For storage, store cake in an airtight container in refrigerator. If fully chilled, let rest at room temp only until not cold before serving!