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Salted Caramel Drizzle Spice Cake

Tis the season...
and that means all things Merry & Bright are here 
and holiday baking is in full swing.


We definitely have a few favorites for the holidays...
and especially desserts.



We might be THAT family that brings a pumpkin pie, a pecan pie and an apple pie to the table. 
Along with other nibbles and treats. 
You know... for options.
:)

Post brought to you by Maytag but all opinions are my own.

And this year,
 I thought I would add something full of pumpkin goodness
with a dash of candied nuts 
(which between you and me- I could eat all by themselves all.the.time) and then to top it all off... 
topped with a drizzle of amazingly delicious salted.caramel.sauce.
I have made a very similar cake before- so this had just a few changes mainly to the frosting
and the cake mix to give it a whole new taste.

And up first-  a couple tips for making this one... 

 Make the caramel sauce, frosting and even the candied nuts ahead of time.  
They don't have to be made while you are baking away - and do take a bit of time to do -so it is just as easy to make ahead and set aside for when you are ready.
 After frosting and layering- place the cake inside the fridge to set a big.
 It might help if you mix the frosting up ahead - but the frosting was a bit too soft and by the time I got to the 3rd layer-and then those layers can start to slide and before you know it- things are getting wonky-especially when using an already wonky cake board.
So, I used a skewer to hold that stack tall and proud and then set the cake
 in the fridge and let it chill for about 20 minutes before topping with the caramel drizzle and pecans. 
(great that this Maytag refrigerator has tall shelves that can handle extra tall cakes) 


To keep it simple in a busy baking season
I swapped a few ingredients- find the inspiration cake here
And
for those looking to print - here you go:
Salted Caramel Drizzle Spice Cake



 Spice Cake with Caramel Drizzle


Cake
2 Organic Spice Cake mix from Whole Foods  (or your favorite recipe)
(Optional) 1 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
or 
1 cup of applesauce

OR
 if you prefer to bake totally from scratch- here you go:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree 
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil 
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract



Salted Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Candied Nuts
2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons water

Salted Caramel Frosting
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter 
4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup caramel sauce 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Make your cake according to directions- or your own recipe.
I used a gluten free organic spice cake mix from Whole Foods
Follow the instructions for adding applesauce or carrots that is on the bag
 if you want to add pumpkin- it is optional but it is AMAZING with a bit of pumpkin.

You want to make 3 or 4 layers of cake for creating that tall beauty-
so consider using 2 bags of mix.

Tip: Use a springform cake pan for each layer-
 it makes removing them and layering them super easy.

Bake your cakes and allow them to cool before getting ready to layer.
While they are cooling, you can work on your frosting and caramel sauce.

Note: Make the caramel sauce first.

Caramel Sauce

Warm the cream in a separate bowl and set aside.
 In a large saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water and stir.
Cook over medium to medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.
 Allow the mixture to boil without stirring until it begins to change color a bit
 then remove the pan from the heat.
Then carefully pour in the warm heavy cream and stir until smooth.
Add butter and salt and stir again to combine.  
Allow your sauce to cool a bit at room temperature.

To make Candied Nuts
Add pecans, brown sugar, butter and water to a heavy bottom saucepan and cook over medium heat and stir to combine.
 Allow the mixture to come to a boil while stirring occasionally
until almost all of the water has evaporated- about 5- 10 minutes.
 Remove pan from heat and then
spread the nuts onto a parchment paper and allow to cool.



Salted Caramel Frosting

Beat the slices of butter until they are smooth and then add cream cheese and blend until smooth.
Add about half of the powdered sugar and pour in the caramel sauce and continue blending and then add the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla and salt when it is ready.

Note: The frosting will be a bit soft and fluffy when it is first made-
 so- that is where chilling the cake in the refrigerator comes in.

Putting the cake together

 Level your cake layers to keep a nice flat stack ( simply slice the top off level)
 and begin with the first layer of cake.
Add a layer of frosting and spread until fairly even.
Repeat, repeat, repeat layers of frosting and cake until your cake is tall and stately.
I also wanted a slightly 'naked cake' look to this and so wrapped the frosting around the sides a bit to
give it that rustic look.
You can simply use a spreader and just pull that frosting around.



Chill for 15-20 minutes if you need to before adding the top drizzle. 
Heat up your caramel sauce if it is cold and drizzle on the cake as you desire.
But make sure it is not too warm- or it will melt your frosting as it drizzles.
Add as much or as little as you would like.



Then sprinkle the top and edges with the candied pecans.
(and if you are like me- you might also go ahead and nibble on a few here and there)


Then it is time to enjoy.

If new kitchen or laundry appliances are on your list this season-
you may want to check out the November sales from Maytag.

And  I can't be held responsible for those extra workouts that might follow baking and indulging
in this deliciousness...  it is literally that.good.

Happy weekend baking everyone.





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