Moist and fluffy mini pumpkin cakes are filled with fall spices, then topped with a heavenly brown sugar and maple glaze and sweet and crunchy pieces of Pumpkin and Sesame Seed Toffee for an extra bit of elegance. A must for any Halloween or Thanksgiving gathering.
Well hello there. Fall has definitely trickled its way into Boston as temperatures have suddenly taken a dip. Year after year, I can’t believe how fast this transition seems to occur.
Before I left for Croatia, I was seeking solace in the comforts of my air conditioned abode, rummaging through my closest in search of the breeziest of tank tops. There was lack of motivation to turn on the oven for fear that I would roast myself into oblivion in an already warm kitchen. But upon my return back to the states, I was greeted by the cool kiss of fall. This surprise had me frantically digging through my over stuffed suitcase in search of the only coat I had packed. It was thin – probably too thin. But at least it helped damper the cool breeze that had left a parade of goosebumps marching across my skin as I waited impatiently for the taxi to pull up.
As usual, I feel like I got off to a late start this year. I didn’t bake my first pumpkin treat until mid October for Pete’s sake!!! And by that time it felt like the entire inter web was already up to its chin in pumpkin everything.I partially blame my move for the slow start. But if I have to be honest, I was finding it hard to get into a pumpkin state of mind when everything else in my environment was screaming key lime pie and tropical punch.
Better late then never, as the saying goes. And so I have these Mini Pumpkin Cakes with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze and the most divine Pumpkin & Sesame Seed Toffee for you today.
Last week we shared this Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting together. And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, that pumpkin bread is a variation of these beauties. You see, I have been getting this weird craving to play around with recipes. . .to create various versions of the same recipe. In other words – one recipe, two ways. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking that I just might make it into a series on this little space. What do you think? Does this sound like fun to you too? Are there any specific recipes you would like to see?
As for these Mini Pumpkin Cakes, they all start with a pumpkin bread base that I infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves – the very spices that go hand in hand with fall. I myself am a big cinnamon fanatic, so I decided to whip up some cinnamon sugar which I sprinkled heartily into the center of each cake. Not only does it amp up those fall flavor vibes, but it also gives these Mini Pumpkin Cakes a pretty little cinnamon racing stripe.
This is the same base that was used in the Pumpkin Bread with Maple & Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.
When I think of fall, I think of warm and cozy flavors. . .and nothing says warm and cozy more than brown butter. I absolutely adore the nuttiness that it introduces to baked goods, so it was a no brainer to include it in these Mini Pumpkin Cakes.Now the Pumpkin Bread we shared last week was crowned with a super homey brown butter and maple cream cheese frosting. While I love that frosting, I thought it would be a bit too thick for these cakes and would hide that pretty medallion pattern on the top. So instead, I drizzled this Brown Butter & Maple Glaze on top of these Mini Pumpkin Cakes. It truly is a warm hug for your taste buds.
And to make these Mini Pumpkin Cakes all the more elegant, I topped them with the Pumpkin & Sesame Seed Toffee that was on last weeks Pumpkin Bread. This toffee has been causing quite the buzz, and for good reason. It truly is a delicious treat in of its own right. And with the light passing through, well, it is quite the showstopper. And you want to know a secret? It couldn’t be any easier to make. Simply heat up some sugar water until it develops that stunning amber color, then pour it over the seeds. . .and Voila! You have the prettiest cake topper you ever did see. I like to enjoy these cakes while they are still warm and the brown butter maple glaze hasn’t quite set yet. You could even pair them up with a little scoop of ice cream is you really want to go all out. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how you want to enjoy them because either way it is sure to be a feast for your taste buds.
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You might also enjoy these tasty treats from The Road to Honey (click for recipes):
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, (firmly packed)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush mini bundt pans with softened butter, then coat with a thin layer of flour.
To brown the butter: Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure the butter browns evenly. You will cook until the butter takes on a nutty aroma & turns a toasty brown color. Remove the butter from the heat & transfer it & the milk solids (brown bits that settled on the bottom during cooking) to a heat-proof bowl. Set aside & let cool for 15 minutes (the butter still should be melted).
To prepare the cinnamon sugar swirl: Whisk together 2 tbsp granulated sugar & 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together next 7 ingredients (flour through salt).
In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugars, eggs, oil, vanilla & browned butter until smooth.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture in three separate increments & mix until just combined. Don't over mix.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly on top of the batter.
Add the remaining batter on top of the cinnamon mixture.
Bake the bread for 30 -35 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, the remove from pan.
To brown the butter: Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure the butter browns evenly. You will cook until the butter takes on a nutty aroma & turns a toasty brown color.
While the butter is still warm, whisk in remaining ingredients, including the brown bits from the butter. Whisk until well combined.
Thin the glaze with small amounts of water until the desired consistency is achieved. Alternatively, you could thin with additional maple syrup.
Drizzle the glaze over top of the cakes & push it down the sizes.
Top with a slice of toffee (recipe follows).
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a lightly buttered piece of parchment paper.
Spread the pumpkin & sesame seeds in an even layer on the parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine sugar & water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat & stir until the sugar dissolves.
Continue to cook, without stirring, until the sugar turns a golden amber color (about 15 minutes).
While the toffee cooks, moisten a pastry brush with water & carefully wipe down the sides of the pan to wash away any crystals forming on the sides.
Once the toffee turns an amber color, quickly pour the toffee over top the seeds. If needed, use an offset spatula coated with butter to help spread the toffee. Alternatively, angle the pan so that the toffee flows in the direction you want it to.
Allow the toffee to cool completely, then break it into shards.
Store the toffee in an airtight container until ready to use.
I used THIS baking pan to make these cakes. You may need to adjust baking times depending upon the pan you use.