Christmas is only a few days away and I’m probably feeling the least Christmassy, most anxiety-ridden in my entire life. Judging by my pretty erratic, limited posting on here and instagram it’s probably quite evident that uni life is taking up 90% of my time now. (PSA: this is going to get a tad ranty and is just so I can get it off my chest. Just scroooollll on down to the last paragraph if you wanna skip that).
It’s not enough that we had 3 hefty pieces of coursework during the first semester and reading for a literature review due next semester, on top of that there are 3 exams to be revising for in January. I know I’m doing a science degree at redbrick, Russell group university and I’m in my second year but fuck, dudes, this is hard. It’s frustrating knowing that, whilst my degree is requiring this much money, time and concentration, the title ‘nutritionist’ isn’t protected and nutritional misinformation has been spread by so many ‘wellness’ preachers pretending to know what they’re talking about. (So please if you ever visit a nutritionist, make sure they have ‘BSc’ or ‘Ma’ or ‘PhD’ next to their title and that they have studied at a reputable university. An easy thing to look out for is whether the course is accredited by the Association for Nutrition.).
Ugh. I’ve got a lot of food rants bottled up inside of me (hello saturated fats, grains, super foods, clean eating…) but I want to properly read around the subjects so I can cite when/if I do post about these topics. At the mo, I don’t have time to do that. I also realise that people get sick of reading rants when all they want is to scroll to the bottom of the page and print a recipe!
Lastly, I think it’s important for me to be writing my thoughts down somewhere cos hey this is my personal blog, not a food magazine.
Now that that’s done – let’s talk cake! A deliciously easy, party-appropriate cake. I’ve previously baked up a caramel + gingerbread layer cake which was fancy and delicious but also quite time consuming and HUGE. This is more understated and simple to make, leaning away from spicy gingerbread to softer pumpkin-spice mix warmth. It is quite rich too so would probably make an excellent sheet cake, cut into bite-sized squares – might make for excellent for New Years Eve party canapé desserts..?
For the cake:
- 85 g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 100 g (1/2 cup not packed) brown sugar
- 2 tbsp (50g) black treacle or molasses
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- 125 g (1/2 cup) pumpkin puree
- 1 egg
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda , (baking soda)
- 150 g (1 1/4 cups) wholemeal plain flour
For the caramel:
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 20 g butter
- 3 tbsp double cream
- 2 tbsp milk
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 100 ml double cream
- 4 tbsp greek yogurt
- pecans and fudge chunks for decoration , , optional
Make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) then grease a 6-inch cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
- In a medium pot, melt the butter, sugar and treacle together over a medium-low heat. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat.
- Mix in the ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pumpkin puree until smooth.
- Quickly beat in the egg then fold in the bicarbonate of soda and flour until just combined.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Tip out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Make the caramel:
- In a light-coloured frying pan or pot (so you can see the colour change), heat the sugar and water over a medium heat - stir only just until the sugar has dissolved then put the spoon down and do NOT stir the mixture until instructed.
- Keep cooking the sugar whilst tilting and swirling the pan. It'll begin to change colour around the edges from clear to light yellow to a deeper golden-amber.
- Once it reaches this darker colour turn the heat down to low and add the butter to the pan - step back as it may spit a bit when you do this. Now pick up the spoon and stir in the cream and milk until smooth. Take off the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla. Leave to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the double cream until it starts to thicken. Add the yogurt and keep whisking until you get soft peaks.
- Spread the cream over the cooled cake, drizzle with the caramel and decorate with the pecans and fudge chunks (if using). Serve immediately (it's very rich!). Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
16 thoughts on “Salted Caramel Pumpkin Spice Cake”
rant away! there are so many “influential” people preaching false science, especially with regards to health and eating. we need more people to call them out and to realize that nutrition is based on facts and not whatever latest (and possibly bunk) trend happens to be ruling that day. xo
pretty cake, btw.
Keep up the good work, I’m very disturbed by the anti-science slant that seems to be trending these days. Would love to hear more of your thoughts on nutrition once your school work slows down. Good luck!
Rant on, girl! If not here, then where? Personally, I know that professors tend to forget or overestimate the amount of work that their students can handle in any given term. So blow off some steam and good luck reaching for that degree! PS the fact that you’re making cakes still is like xoxo times infinity
Hearing you. Exactly the same story in Australia. No proper protection of our profession. Frustrating that science becomes forgotten amongst the voices of those who have access to the media. I love science and I hate fighting, but I also dislike untruths being spread – the life of a dietitian 🙂 cake sounds fab. Love the cream/greek yoghurt combo!
I got a Bachelor of Arts so I could avoid having to take so many science and math classes.
So glad you and others are speaking out about the need to know who is giving you nutritional information.
Thanks for sharing these incredible recipes when you have the time.
And it’s your blog you can say anything you want—-well most anything.
I’ve had a holistic nutrition degree for years. After getting it and starting to work with/write about nutrition, I realized how much I had to learn about the fundamentals of biology and nutrition science. I’m getting my RD now, somewhat painstakingly and part time. My journey into healthcare has been very hard (I began when I was 28, and I’m 34 now; I had no scientific background when I started), but I still feel that the whole thing is worth it. The education has given me a much deeper and better understanding of nutrition and how it works, and most importantly, it has helped me to critically assess some of the false claims that circulate freely as truths in the food/wellness world (coconut oil is a “superfood,” our bodies need “cleansing” foods, etc.).
I understand why it can sometimes feel frustrating to labor away at a degree that on some level isn’t necessary to do the work. Still, your voice is needed because evidence based information is so sorely needed. It’s worthwhile and very necessary. Keep it up — and I look forward to your posts on myth vs. fact, citations included!
Delicious cake!! I’m with you here! This is your space to share your thoughts and we welcome them.
I’m always interested in your journey!!! This is your space and I love when you share!! Good luck with all of your work!!!
Agreed with the entire rant. Keep your chin up though, I think you will eventually find that it will all be worth it!
I totally agree and want all the rants! I took a few science courses this year and a nutrition class and it really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I hate the word “cleanse”, as if our bodies our somehow dirty inside. So many claims that don’t stand up to science. Anyways, love your work <3
It is maddening, isn’t it? But, science and facts are worth sticking up for…that’s what keeps me going, at least.
I agree with what you have written here. I have personally been to a couple of nutritionist in the last few years and have found some of them giving me facts which are opposite to the other. I have finally decided to do the research myself and see what fits best to my body. DO keep sharing some new nutrition tips if you can via your blog. Looking forward to hear from you more.
Great cake recipe. Thanks for sharing.
this is definitely weekend-recipe. must try!
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