Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

I’ve never been one to follow the latest fashions or most popular thing going. That must be why I was totally oblivious to the Pumpkin Spice Latte seasonal specials that were highlighted in the Fall by every coffee shop across the country until I started working at Post Falls Coffee Co. in Idaho.  Well, that and the fact that I don’t go to Starbucks and I’m not a coffee drinker in general.

When I was first introduced to it, I can’t say I was too enthused about the thought of Pumpkin Pie in coffee. However, it wasn’t long before it won me over. I couldn’t help it. It was Autumn wrapped up in a sleeved paper cup with whipped cream on top.

(My favorite fall drink, though, was Vanilla Chai with Pumpkin Pie and White Chocolate – whipped cream on top. Always whipped cream on top. Life is better with whipped cream on top. )

It’s been a year since I worked for Gabe and Mandy at their fabulous coffee shop, but coffee drink flavors continue to inspire me.

So, I decided, along with everyone else in the cooking blog-o-sphere, that fall colors were calling for something pumpkin. Not pumpkin pie or even pumpkin muffins. This had to be spicy, warm, slightly salted and rather, well, latte-ish. Surprisingly, I didn’t find any recipes that had the combination I wanted.

Ah! Just what I like – a good challenge with a hint of mystery. What happens when you mix pumpkin and coffee with bundt cake ingredients?

The results were quite good, really. Quite. I think you might want to try this for yourself.

I baked one of Mom’s garden pumpkins at 400 degrees for one hour. Perfect!

Scrape out the edible portion, blend it up and Voila! you have pumpkin puree. It’s so simple and easy and better than canned pumpkin. However, if you have canned pumpkin on hand this step is dismissible.

Thinking I’d be super efficient, I proceeded to can the remaining pumpkin that I wouldn’t use in the recipe for Thanksgiving desserts. More on that story later.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bundt Cake

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 c. strong or espresso
  • 1 1/2 cups canned or fresh pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 14-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour. Tap out excess.

Combine dry ingredients. Stir together yogurt and coffee and have your pumpkin – fresh or canned – ready.

Blend together butter, sugar and eggs. Add pumpkin. Alternate between coffee mixture and the dry ingredients as you mix it all into the pumpkin. Stir until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes on a cooling rack before flipping over and removing pan.

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 stick  butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Melt butter. Add sugar and cream and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Lower to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickly coats a wooden spoon. Add salt and whisk in.

Slice cake, top with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve with a latte if you so choose.

Now I have to tell you about my canned pumpkin. It was so beautiful orange in the jars and they all sealed nicely, so I put them up on the shelf with the other canned goods excited to take them to my grandparents in Arkansas for Thanksgiving.

A few days later, I was tying my trail shoes on, when I heard a hissing sound coming from the shelf. Then I smelled something. Out came the step ladder and up I went only to find that the pumpkin had fermented and was making it’s way out of the now unsealed jars. Oh my! I carefully took them down and outside. If they were going to blow, it would not be in the house! Releasing the pressure didn’t make too much of a mess, thankfully, but all the pumpkin was totally wasted. So sad!!

My big question is WHY? What happened? And I still haven’t found definite answers. I did search “canning pumpkin” and most people say NOT to can pureed pumpkin or pumpkin butter. Apparently, pumpkin puree is so dense that the heat doesn’t penetrate through the whole jar making it very hard to can safely. Water baths, like I did, definitely don’t cut it, but pressure canners aren’t recommended either.

I still have no idea why it fermented so quickly and didn’t just mold. Anyone have ideas?

Anyways, the moral of the story is this: Make the cake, eat it with lots of whipped cream on top and salted caramel, and don’t waste your time on canning pumpkin!

Happy Autumn! :D

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A Day in the Life of a Barista…

4:30 a.m. Really? I seriously have to get up now? This is insane.
I think I think that every morning when I open the shop on weekdays. It’s really not that bad, I just like to be dramatic sometimes.
This morning I turn the oven on to preheat and return to my basement room where I get dressed for work – company t-shirt, pants and my coffee stained canvas shoes. Back upstairs, I line frozen chocolate and cranberry almond scones on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. When the buzzer goes off, I’ll have had my breakfast, made my lunch/snacks for my shift and done everything else I need to do before 5:15 a.m.
It takes less then ten minutes to get to the shop, but I always allow fifteen. I like to be early, I don’t like to be rushed and I never speed. hem! The wafts coming from hot scones are almost unbearable on the short drive. No, I don’t have one bite. Not one. Not today anyway.
With my few spare minutes, I’m able to prepare the shop for the morning before turning the open signs on promptly at 5:30. Smells of fresh ground coffee permeate the cool morning air. The smells here…oh my, they are simply amazing! I have a few early morning customers, but the rushes don’t start until 7:00 or so. Thankfully, my friend and co-worker, Cherie, arrives at that time and we serve car after car. Sometimes we have breaks,  sometimes we don’t. A school sends in an order of 8 drinks and Cherie takes off to deliver while I man the shop.
I though I was going to regret not bringing a book,  but after Cherie’s shift ended at 10:00, I stayed consistently busy with a few “slams” in between. Slams denote the “four cars or more at a time” routine. I’m convinced that they have someone watching to see when the second worker leaves. As soon as they see her drive off, they give a shout out to come flood the coffee shop. Hmmm…we need to break this up abit!
So, in between customers,  I made you a drink. It’s the new special, though you won’t find it on the menu – and don’t ask Gabe about it, ’cause there really are no new specials. It’s just my special especially.
Size first…

I like yellow.

Then the milk gets steamed. It’s cold outside this morning, and rainy, so I knew you wanted a hot one.
 The coffee beans are ground as we go throughout the day, so now I pull the shots.
Two for you. Though two would make me shake for the rest of the day. Yikes!
Now for the flavor – Ghirardelli white chocolate powder…
blended with orange and almond syrup. It’s that Italian flare coming out again from somewhere.
Pour in the espresso shots and steamed milk…
…and stir as you go with these fancy spoons. I like them.
Would you like straws with that? What about a chocolate covered coffee bean?
It was busy today, very. I made over 35 dollars in tips. Nice! My shift ends at 1:00. That’s after I’ve had my Rock Fish Chowder for lunch. But that recipe is for another post.
The rest of the day? Well, we need more farm fresh eggs at the house,  so perhaps I’ll go pick them up. Maybe fit in a nap, finish the book I started yesterday, and pick out a song I’ve been wanting to do on the guitar. I’ll probably go on a run this evening at the park.
My schedule is always different. One day Mandy and I went to a friend’s house and got our hair cut and styled.
Last week I spent the night with some friends down near Princeton. It’s gorgeous down there. We went horse back riding to the river and sat and talked for hours. It was good. I needed that.
Then they sent me home with two big boxes of produce from their amazing garden!
One afternoon Tesia took me to The Kitchen Engine, a gourmet foods and kitchen gadget/ equipment store in Spokane. *Sigh!* Someday I will have a 1,000 dollars just to spent there. :D As it was, I made it out of there 50 dollars poorer. It was too fun.
So yeah, that’s what I’ve been up too! Fall is in the air now and I’m wondering what the next months will bring. Change for sure – in the weather, in my routine, in life…who knows what will happen.
Hope you are enjoying the last days of summer. Stay tuned for my Northwest Rock Fish Chowder recipe!

Changes…

At this moment in time I am sitting at a table in the Post Falls Library in Idaho. And I can’t believe it – still. I’ve been working at this cute little coffee shop located on Chase and Seltice for about a week.

I say working, but more factually, I’ve been being trained to work. :D It’s going very well and I’m loving it. It’s been crazy trying to learn everything though – crazy and challenging, very! We have 50 different flavors to choose from and I don’t even know how many drinks!

This is the espresso machine. Although intimidating at first, I find that it makes life as a barista much easier than it could be. :P

Blue skies and sunshine today… I won’t tell you the temperature as it might make my southern friends and family jealous. I have to laugh every time I hear someone complain about the weather up here. They don’t even know what hot is.

So anyway, I’ll be up here until September at least. Maybe I’ll move here, I don’t know yet. I like it,  so we’ll see…
I’m all by myself for the week as my friends I’m staying with have gone on a trip to Oregon. It’s strange living by myself, to say the least. I’ve always loved quiet, but I find I like to have music on when I’m home. The house doesn’t feel quite so empty.
I wasn’t sure how I would like cooking for one, but so far I love it. I’ve been craving tomato mozzerella salad since I’ve been gone, so here’s my 1 to 2 serving recipe.
1 tomato, diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 T. sliced fresh basil
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. balsamic vinegar
salt 
fresh ground pepper

fresh mozzarella balls
lettuce
one thick slice sourdough bread
2 t. butter

Two of my must have kitchen staples…

Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, balsamic and oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like to go heavy on the salt since the mozzarella is unsalted. Set aside,  or refrigerate for a couple hours.

You can get several different sizes of mozzerella balls. Mine were big enough to slice, but you can serve them whole or quartered if you prefer.

I found this amazing green olive sourdough bread at a store here and couldn’t resist buying it as it was a dollar off. It is so yummy! Cube your sourdough bread and toast in a skillet with butter or oil.

Arrange lettuce on a plate. Top with mozzerella balls and tomato mixture. Sprinkle on the fresh croutons and there you have it! I promise you that it is simply amazing. :)

Hope you all are enjoying your summer! Leave me a note or send me an email! I’d love to keep in touch. And definitely drop by for a coffee if you’re in the area. We make the best! :D

Blessings,
Sarah