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This fall, treat yourself to this spiced angel food cake, frosted with pumpkin cream cheese and topped with candied pecans. This is the light cake you’ve been dreaming of this season!
I love angel food cake. My husband and I have talked about what kind of cake are our most favorite. While I love a delicious and decadent chocolate cake, I can’t pass up a delicious angel food cake either. Thinking of how I could create a unique fall dessert, I decided to make my own twist on a classic spice cake that we all love during the fall months.
I love the airiness of angel food cake but I wanted there to be enough spice to come through this airy cake. A good choice in spices does the trick. Of course, you have the usual players of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove but I also find the addition of cayenne pepper to be a nice surprise of heat in the back of your throat as you eat this cake. This spice combo really warms your belly.
If you’ve never made angel food cake, it’s really quite simple. The two things you need to remember are:
Don’t over mix the batter
Cool the cake upside down
There is a bit of flour in the cake batter because without it, it would simply be a meringue. It provides enough structure for the cake to be light and fluffy. But if you over mix the flour into the batter, the egg whites lose their air and get to be all soupy and it’s gross.
Cooling the cake upside down prevents the cake from falling on itself. Souffles are similar to angel food cake because it has a ton of egg whites to little flour. But souffles are meant to fall after a certain amount of time (which makes photographing them extremely difficult). By cooling the angel food cake in an UNgreased, tube pan, upside down for a few hours, the cake maintains its structure and doesn’t call once removed.
Removing an angle food cake from a tube pan is super simple. All I do is take a rubber spatula (my tube pan is a non-stick, so using a butter knife would ruin my pan) and run it first around the outer perimeter of the pan to loosen the outside. Next, I loosen the inner circle of the pan much like I did with the outside of the cake. Then push the center of the pan from the bottom (the pan comes in two different parts). The cake will release from the ring of the pan. Next, using the spatula, just run it around the bottom of the pan, loosening the bottom of the cake. Turn the tube upside down and voila, your cake is out of the pan. Easy peasy!
Typically, in the summer months, I looooove macerating berries in some sugar and lemon zest and dousing the cake with the fruit and juices. But for the fall, berries aren’t in season so I had to come up with another great way to introduce some moistness to this cake; let’s be honest, angel food cake is a bit on the drier side of cakes. Here comes the hero: pumpkin cream cheese! I really wanted the pumpkin to shine through in it’s natural and pure form so when I made the puree, I didn’t add any spices. I wanted to be able to taste the spice in the cake and have a creamy, cheesy, and super pumpkin-y flavor coming through! With some help from powdered sugar and heavy to help sweeten and smooth the cream cheese, this is the perfect frosting to this cake.
Now you can’t have a fall dessert, and especially a pumpkin dessert, without pecans! You just can’t. Candying pecans in simply brown sugar, highlights the perfect tones of earthiness and nuttiness that pecans inherently have without taking away from the cake or the cream cheese. It plays its own part, while supporting the other elements of this dessert.
I hope that you enjoy this fall dessert as much as I (and my friends) did! This would be a perfect dessert to grace your table for Thanksgiving this year (just a suggestion).
Other awesome fall desserts for you to try this year:
- ¾ c chopped pecans
- ½ c brown sugar
Pumpkin Cream Cheese
- 8 ounces cooked pumpkin
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces powdered sugar
- 2 ounces heavy cream
Angel Food Cake
- 12.25 ounces egg whites
- 10 ounces sugar
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2.5 ounces cake flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- In a small, non-stick pan, melt sugar in about 2 tablespoons of water until thick bubbles form. Toss in raw, chopped pecans into melted sugar and toss until well coated.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat and spread the nuts in a single layer. Allow to cool to the touch.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, cut pumpkin in half and discard seeds. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake in oven until soft, about 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool. Once pumpkin is cool, remove meat from the pumpkin skin and blend with heavy cream until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh strainer to catch any bits that aren’t smooth.
- With a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the edges of the bowl and add pumpkin puree. Beat on medium until well incorporated. Store in a plastic container, until ready to use.
Angel Food Cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a stand mixer (or hand held is cool too), beat egg whites on low to build froth. Slowly begin to add in sugar and cream of tartar, increasing speed slowly. Once sugar and tartar are fully added, beat egg whites until stiff peaks.
- Take dry ingredients and using a strainer, sprinkle dry ingredients over the top of the egg whites. Carefully, with a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients to the egg whites, working in an up-and over-and under formation in a clockwise pattern. Continue to fold until flour has been full incorporated but be careful not to over mix.
- Carefully scoop cake batter into a non-stick tube pan with a rubber spatula, making sure to spread evenly. Place pan in oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Test towards the middle of the cake with a tooth pick to make sure that cake is done.
- Remove from oven and invert the cake pan upside down to cook on a wire rack for a few hours or until cool to the touch. Remove cake from pan, as described in the above post.
- Cut the cake into two even halves. Place first half on a 9” cake plate
- Spread half of pumpkin cream cheese onto the first half of the cake.
- Top with second half of cake and top with remaining cream cheese.
- Garnish cake with candied pecans.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 597 Saturated Fat 13g Cholesterol 72mg Sodium 262mg Carbohydrates 76g Fiber 1g Sugar 65g Protein 10g