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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake |
What is a gooey butter cake, you ask?  And why is it called cake when it looks more like pie?  Those are both valid questions.  Let's start with the "what is it".    It's not a "cake cake", it's a "coffee cake cake".  With origins in St. Louis, Missouri, there are several claims to fame (like any famous recipe); ingredients switched...wrong filling mistakenly used...either way it seemed to come about as a happy mistake.  In it's basic form, it is the anti-diet food.  A base of a shortbread nature.  An ooey-gooey filling made from lots of butter, full-fat cream cheese, eggs (with extra yolks), and sugar.  How could it not be irresistible?

There are two schools.  One school uses a yellow cake mix as a base, the other does not.  This version does not.  And the original doesn't have pumpkin in it,either - but as you know, 'tis the season for me to stick pumpkin (or any winter squash for that matter) into anything and everything.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake |
I have yet to make that beautiful original version which looks even ooeyier and gooeyier than the pumpkin variation.  It's on my list to make next year.  Because that's precisely how long it's going to take me to recover from this one.

Another thing about the pumpkin version?  It's very reminiscent of pumpkin pie.  So much so, that I bet you could slide it onto the dessert table at Thanksgiving and nobody would be the wiser.  Only the fatter.  That could be somewhat remedied by baking it in a square pan, instead of a round one, though.
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake |
Oh, that was the answer to the "why does it look like a pie" question.  Because it's baked in a round pan.  Plus, it has a thin "crust" layer on the bottom that tells your brain it's pie.

Sometimes decadence wins.  This is one of those times.  I mentioned that this wasn't diet food, right?

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert nut-free soy-free vegetarian butter cream cheese pumpkin Thanksgiving cake pie

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
  • 8 ounces softened unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (recipe follows), divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Stir together 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice.

Place 2 ounces (half a stick) of the butter into a bowl with remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat until creamy, 30 seconds. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and beat on low until everything is combined and crumbly. Dump into prepared pan and press down firmly into the bottom of the pan. Slide into hot oven and bake until lightly golden and set, 10-12 minutes.

In the meantime, beat the cream cheese, remaining butter, and brown sugar on medium speed until creamy, 2 minutes. Add corn syrup, remaining 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and the vanilla and beat until combined. Add pumpkin, eggs and yolks, and beat until everything comes together and is smooth.

Pour the pumpkin mixture evenly over the lightly golden crust. Sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture evenly over the top. Slide back into oven and bake until the top is set and golden brown and the sides pull away from the pan, 45-50 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Slide a thin-bladed knife around the edges, then release the ring and cool completely.

Serve at room temperature sprinkled with powdered sugar, if you wish. Also good with a daub of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

to make Pumpkin Pie Spice:
Combine 3 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1-1/2 teaspoons allspice, and 1-1/2 cloves in a small container or baggie and shake to combine. Store and use as needed through the season. This is best if you use as many freshly ground spices as you can, but pre-ground makes it come together in seconds. Yield: a heaping 1/4 cup.

-adapted from Midwest Living June '11
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake |