Dress your cake in velvet

I’ve heard of those sadly misguided people who (gasp!) don’t like frosting and prefer an unadorned cake, but they’re just wrong. I could—and have, and will—go on and on about all of the many ways to dress up your cakes/cupcakes/breakfast, but we’ll keep it short and sweet today because I’m on a plane to Hong Kong right now and want to get back to reading about all of the temples, fishing villages, hikes, markets, and FOOD that await me on the other end of this 16-hour plane ride. SO EXCITED.

Back to frosting. If my favorite Swiss meringue buttercream drapes your cake in silk, this cooked frosting offers an alternative in velvet. Less ethereally light but equally dreamy, it delivers the richness and smooth texture of pudding in frosting form. What more could you want, right?

Jack-o'-lantern Cake | SucroseAndSpice.com

This kind of frosting works particularly well in the case of the pumpkin situation we have here. Adding pumpkin puree, a very wet ingredient, to a standard powdered-sugar-based frosting requires even more sugar to stabilize it, and the extra water also messes with my beloved buttercream. The cooking step reduces the mixture slightly, removing some of that extra liquid to give you a firmer final product. Even more importantly, cooking allows you to use flour as a thickener. Heating and stirring create the same gluten network that plays such an important role in bread, which loosely traps the rest of the good stuff (plenty of butter, sugar, and cream cheese, naturally) and transforms it from liquid to velvety, delicious frosting.

Back to reading and planning and dreaming of mouthwatering meals! I’m determined to take an overwhelming amount of pictures, so follow me on Instagram @janellepdx for the highlights!