Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Maple-Toffee Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake

We've survived Frankenstorm Sandy without any damage.  We were without power for a few hours.  That's it.  I put the geese and ducks into their pen early and they complained bitterly as I herded them towards shelter but once they got in and realized that I'd set up a buffet and a kiddy pool, they settled into their fowl luxury sweet happily.  The chickens hopped onto their perches and urged me to shut the doors.  The dogs hogged the sofa and demanded comforting belly rubs.  Ray and I ate Halloween candy and listened to a hand crank radio for updates.  Truth be told, it was a lovely evening.

I can't say the same for others up and down the east coast.  From West Virginia and their freak blizzard to the coasts of New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island terribly damaged by the storm, there are thousands devastated and I know each of us not terribly affected feels a little hopeless to help.  One thing you can do is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.  Another thing you can do, for those who were in harm's way but find themselves safe and sound, check on your neighbors and see if they need a hand.  You might also bake them something comforting, like this nummy coffee cake.

Be safe everyone.

Pumpkin Maple-Toffee Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake


For the toffee

1 cup (two 4oz sticks) butter (I used Vermont Creamery's Maple/Sea salt butter)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
generous pinch salt
to make the toffee crumble
And additional 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons all purpose flour

For the cake batter

2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup (two 4oz sticks) butter at room temperature (I used Vermont Creamery's Maple/Sea Salt butter)
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 container crème fraîche (8 ounces)  I use....wait for it...Vermont Creamery's Crème Fraîche
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the glaze

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole milk


Make the Toffee

•Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add the sugar, maple and salt and stir over medium heat constantly until the mixture reaches 300º F on a candy thermometer.

Stir the toffee constantly to keep it from burning.  Heat to 300ºF!

Pour the toffee in a thin layer on parchment and allow to cool.  Break in to small pieces.

Pulse the toffee until it breaks into small pieces and then add chilled butter and flour.

Pulse until the mixture resembles a very fine and even crumble.

•Pour the toffee onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and allow to cool completely

•Once the toffee has cooled, break the toffee into small pieces and pulse in a food processor to break up the pieces a bit.  Add the 3 tablespoons chilled butter and the flour and continue to pulse until a fine crumble forms.  Set aside.

Make the cake batter

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

•In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

•In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the maple syrup and continue whisking until well combined.

•Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add one egg.  Mix until well combined, scrape down the bowl again and add the next egg.  Proceed in this manner:  scraping, adding egg and mixing well, until you've added all four eggs.

•Add half the flour and mix for a few seconds, add the pumpkin and crème fraîche and mix for a few seconds and then add the remaining flour and mix until just combined.

Sprinkle 1/4 of the crumble on top of the batter.

•Spray a non-stick bundt pan with baking spray(I used an Analon bundt pan that has been wonderful in released sticky cakes like this one) and spread just a little less then half the batter into the pan.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the toffee mixture along the middle of the batter and top with the remaining batter.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the cake starts to pull from the sides of the pan and springs back when you gently poke it.

•Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the glaze

•In a small bowl, stir together the confectioner's sugar, maple syrup and milk until smooth.

•Carefully turn out the cake onto a serving platter and spoon the glaze over the top of the cake.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the remaining toffee crumble atop the glaze.

(I freeze the remaining crumble to use as a topping on muffins, pancakes, waffles, ice cream)