Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Maple Icing and Caramelized Walnuts and Pepitos

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Maple Icing and Caramelized Walnuts and Pepitos

It’s Pumpkin Spice time and we have it all wrapped up in a tasty Bundt Cake. Filled with a tunnel of vanilla cream cheese and topped with brown butter icing and caramelized nuts, the cake is spiced with a blend of allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. It’s the American quintessential flavor of fall.

Cream cheese filling
8 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Bundt cake
12 Tbsp. softened butter, plus more for the pan
2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 can pumpkin purée, 15 ounces
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs

Using a hand held or stand mixer, in a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla bean paste until smooth. Add to a large plastic disposal piping bag, being careful to keep the cream cheese 2-1/2 inches away from the pointed end, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a Bundt pan with butter, then lightly flour and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt; set aside.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about

5 minutes scraping down the sides as needed so all is beaten well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated after each addition. Add in about ⅓ of the dry flour mixture, followed by ½ of the wet pumpkin mixture, and repeat ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix until just combined, being careful to not overbeat.

Pour ¾ of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Tap the pan on the counter several time to release any air bubbles. Snip off 2-1/2” off pointed end of the piping bag. Insert the ending down into the center of the batter and pipe the cream cheese into the batter to make a tunnel in the center. Spoon the remaining batter over the top and smooth to even it out.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

Caramelized Walnuts and Pepitos
1 cups raw walnut halves
½ cup pepitos
½ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay the walnuts and pepitos out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until just slightly darker in color and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.

Add the sugar into a medium saucepan and place over medium high heat. When the sugar begins to melt, stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium

amber. Add the nuts and stir quickly to coat all. Pour the nuts out on to the lined sheet tray and, working quickly, spread them out by using two forks to separate the nuts into small cluster. Sprinkle with the salt and cool completely.

Brown Butter Maple Icing
4 Tablespoons butter
⅔ cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoons milk

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, watching the butter carefully, and swirling the pan until the butter begins to turn amber in color.

Remove butter from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Add the milk, a few drops at a time, and only if the icing needs to be thinned. Spoon the icing over top of the cake and immediately top with the candied walnuts

Apple Dumplings With Caramel Sauce

Apple Dumplings With Caramel Sauce

Sweet fall apples, all wrapped up in crispy baked puff pastry. Filled with cinnamon and brown sugar, these baked fall delights are drizzled with caramel sauce right before serving. Perfect for celebrating National #appledumplings Day.


1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 small honeycrisp apples, peeled and cored, seeds removed
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons small 3/8” butter cubes, divided
1 egg, whisked
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

To serve:
8 tablespoons room-temperature caramel sauce, homemade or high-quality store purchased


Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a 14”x14” square. Cut into four 7” squares.

Place an apple on each square. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Spoon the sugar  mixture into center of each apple and fill to the top. (You may not use all of the cinnamon sugar mixture.) Top each apple with one butter cube. Brush a 1”border with egg wash around the edges of each puff pastry. Gently bring up corners of pastry to center; over lapping to seal around the apple. Gently press over the apple. Place on a baking dish and brush all over with the egg. Sprinkle each one evenly with the turbinado sugar. Place in the refrigerator for one hour to rechill the dough.

Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool for 20 minutes. Carefully move each apple dumpling to a shallow bowl and drizzle 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce over each dumpling. Serve warm.

Chocolate Bourbon Fudge Pops

Chocolate Bourbon Fudge Pops

Celebrate a Labor Day end of summer dinner, picnic, or party with these fun, boozy homemade chocolate bourbon popsicles. Made with a melted chocolate creamy mixture and Kentucky bourbon, we topped the frozen treats with a drizzle of melted chocolate and some patriotic sprinkles.

8 ounces high quality dark chocolate
1 ½  cups whole milk
½ cup cream plus 2 tablespoons, divided
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons good-quality bourbon
2 teaspoons corn syrup
Decorative sprinkles, optional


Break up 6 ounces of the chocolate and put into a high-speed blender. Whisk together the milk, ½ cup cream, sugar, and cocoa. Bring to a light simmer, remove from heat and immediately pour over chocolate in the blender. Add the vanilla, salt, and bourbon and allow to sit for a 3-5 minutes to soften chocolate. Turn the blender on and blend until chocolate mixture is smooth. Let the blender sit for a few minutes so any foam on the surface can dissipate. 

Pour into eight 3-ounce ice pop molds or paper cups. Reserve any extra liquid, store in the refrigerator to make more pops. Freeze the pops for about 1 hour before inserting wooden sticks. Freeze for 24 hours.

Line a sheet tray with parchment and place in the freezer. Remove the pops from the molds and place on the parchment lined sheet tray in the freezer. Freeze for 1 hour. 

Add the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate with 2 teaspoons corn syrup and 2 tablespoons cream in a microwave safe measuring cup. Microwave on low in 30 second intervals until just starting to melt. Whisk until the chocolate mixture is fluid and all the chocolate is melted. Remove the pops from the freezer and drizzle with the chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with decorative sprinkles (if using) and freeze the pops again for 30 minutes. Do this step quickly since the chocolate sets when it contacts the cold pops. 

Serve or bag the pops in small individual bags and return to the freezer to save for later. Follow the directions again to make any more pops with the left-over liquid. Makes 8-12 pops.

Ginger Gelato with Candied Plums

Ginger Gelato with Candied Plums

Seasonal fresh plums make a brilliant contrast to our Ginger Gelato. Made using grated fresh ginger, the ice cream has a clean fresh taste to contrast against the sweet, tart Plums. It’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot day.

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2″ piece of ginger, peeled, and grated
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
 ¾ cup sugar
One recipe of candied plums (below)


In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the milk, cream, fresh ginger, and salt. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches 170 degrees. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside to infuse the ginger for one hour. Pour the milk/cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve to strain out the ginger pieces, pressing on the ginger to extract all the liquid. Return the strained liquid to the pan and reheat to 170 degrees. 


In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and whisk until the mixture is thick and pale yellow and the sugar had dissolved into the eggs. Temper the eggs by slowly adding the hot milk/cream while whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches 185 degrees. Do not boil. 


Fill a large bowl with ice. Place a medium bowl in the center of the ice. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the clean bowl set over the ice and cool completely, stirring occasionally. When cooled, cover, and refrigerate overnight. 


The next day pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Layer the ice cream and candied plums in an ice cream storage container.  Freeze until firm; makes 6 servings.


Candied Plums
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Large pinch kosher salt
5 firm medium plums, each cut into 10 wedges


In a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Swirl the pan to moisten and dissolve the sugar. Carefully add the plum wedges to the pan, spreading them out evenly. Set the pan over medium heat and cook, shaking the pan every 30 seconds or so, until the plums start to release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the plums with tongs and cook until soft (but not mushy) and golden brown along some of the cut edges, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature then refrigerate until very cold.

Individual Blueberry Cobblers

Individual Blueberry Cobblers

A mid-summer favorite dessert you won’t want to share – individual Blueberry Cobblers. Full of blueberries with lemon topped with a buttermilk biscuit baked in their own ramekins. Top this warm dessert with your favorite – whipped cream or vanilla ice cream before serving.

½ cup sugar plus 1 ½ tablespoons
¾ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons flour
4 ½ cups fresh blueberries
Lemon zest from one lemon
Juice from 1 fresh lemon
¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
cup buttermilk, plus one tablespoon
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
For serving: whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour, the berries, lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Evenly divide the fruit and any liquid between six 8-oz. tall ramekins.

In a large bowl whisk together ¾ cup flour, 1 ½ tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and using your fingertips, rub the flour into the butter until pea-size lumps remain. Gently mix in cup of the buttermilk. Add only enough of the remaining cup to get a moist dough. Mix in bowl until a dough forms. Dump out onto a light floured board and cut into six pieces. Pat each piece into a biscuit shape and place one piece of dough over the berries in each ramekin. Brush with the tops with the remaining buttermilk. Sprinkle evenly with the turbinado sugar. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet.

Place in the oven and bake until juices are thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes for ramekins. Let cool for at least 1 hour then serve warm topped with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 6 servings.

Celebration Ice Cream Sandwiches

Celebration Ice Cream Sandwiches

The ice cream sandwich for celebrating – filled with a confetti-style sprinkle-loaded vanilla ice cream that’s sandwiched between two delicious chocolate brownie layers. It’s the perfect treat for celebrating our country’s birthday.

You can find the 13-ounce jarred sprinkles at Williams Sonoma. Please note this recipe takes two-three days to make before serving. You will need to freeze the cookie exterior overnight to prevent the ice cream from melting during assembly and freeze the ice cream. The second night you need to freeze to set the ice cream sandwich to cut the next day.


To make the cookie exterior
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To make the Ice cream
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
⅔ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 13-ounce jar Williams Sonoma Chocolate Dessert Sprinkle Mix


Heat oven to 350˚F. Butter two 9 by 13-inch baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar mixing until creamy. One at a time, add the eggs and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla and combine. Add the flour mixture  in three equal batches and beat until well combined. The batter should be thick and slightly sticky.

Divide the batter evenly in each pan, smooth to a thin even layer, and leave a small border of parchment paper around the edge of the pan. Place in the oven and bake until cake is set, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pans to cooling racks. When completely cooled place the pans in the freezer and freeze overnight.

Make the ice cream:

Fill a very large mixing bowl with ice and add a smaller metal bowl into the center.

Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan, cooking over medium-low heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Meanwhile in a medium bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar whisking until the yolks become pale yellow.

Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Start by adding small amounts to temper the eggs.  When mixed together, pour back into the pot and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard lightly coats the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.

Strain the custard through a sieve into the bowl that is in the center of the ice. Stir occasionally to cool. When cooled add the vanilla and whisk in then refrigerate overnight.

The next day churn the ice cream. When the ice cream is almost done add 1-1/2 cups of the sprinkle and finished churning to start the assembly.


Remove the cookie exteriors from the freezer. Add the ice cream evenly over the top of one of the cookies remaining in the pan. Using an offset spatula to spread the ice cream into an even layer. Place the remaining piece of cookie on the ice cream with the top facing down, and the flat side up, to make a large ice cream sandwich. Gently press together. Still in the pan, immediately wrap it well in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Add ½ cup of sprinkles to a flat dish. Remove the large ice cream sandwich from the freezer and take off the plastic wrap and parchment. Place on a cutting board and trim about ¼ inch off of each edge and then cut into 12 smaller sandwiches. Dip the edges of each side in the sprinkles and then wrap each sandwich well in plastic wrap and freeze until firm for 2-4 hours until ready to serve. Makes 12 ice cream sandwiches.