Comfort Season

Short or tall, big of small, pumpkin spice cakes are always just right.
Short or tall, big of small, pumpkin spice cakes are always just right.

Summer in Portland is truly wonderful. Unlike the Southern California summers I knew growing up, here it’s usually not too hot, not smoggy, and the outdoors call you to come play almost constantly. This summer was different though, wasn’t it? Steady cycles of heat and a proliferation of smoke in the air from forest fires in the Northwest made this summer something to seek shelter from rather than enjoy.

The return of fall brings blue skies, clear air, a break from forest fires, and the promise of restorative rain. You know what else fall brings? Yes! Spiced pumpkin cake!

It's all about the seeds! Salty-sweet roasted pumpkin seeds add crunch and a warm, nutty deliciousness to each bite!
It’s all about the seeds! Salty-sweet roasted pumpkin seeds add crunch and a warm, nutty deliciousness to each bite!

Quite literally “the cake that started it all”, Spiced Pumpkin cake is the single most requested cake and indeed what would ultimately give birth to The Simple Cake. And if you’ve ever had it, you totally get it. The cake is loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and of course pumpkin. It is moist and tender and exudes a spicy warmth. It’s covered in a rich cinnamon cream cheese that is sweet but not too sweet and with a pleasant tang, but the real treat are the salty-sweet roasted pumpkin seeds that top the cake. They add a delightful nutty crunch that adds the perfect amount of salty brightness and sweet harmony.

It's all good things: crunchy, salty, sweet. The perfect topping for a cake and the perfect snack!!
It’s all good things: crunchy, salty, sweet. The perfect topping for a cake and the perfect snack!!

Not to be outdone by fall’s pumpkin spice treats, chocolate is always in season! For a recent family celebration, we had a request for both a pumpkin spice cake and a chocolate cake–a perfect pairing!

Ever sophisticated, the sour cream chocolate cake is tender and delicate, yet has a wonderful density that affirms every bite. The filling and frosting are a wonderful fluffy whipped chocolate ganache–a perfect reminder that simplicity creates sophistication. Just chocolate, cream, and the tiniest hint of salt, these three simple ingredients become a light, elegant finish to a cake that is equal parts simple and delicate.

Sour cream chocolate cake is moist and tender yet toothsome. Layers of semisweet chocolate ganache are the perfect cream finish.
Sour cream chocolate cake is moist and tender yet toothsome. Layers of semisweet chocolate ganache are the perfect cream finish.

‘Tis the season, ’tis my favorite season! Blue sky days, crisp mornings, and pumpkin spice cakes regularly flowing through the kitchen! It is the scent of warmth and love and comfort and the promise of days meant for nothing but cuddling.

 

Tender sour cream chocolate cake and sophisticated whipped ganache.
Tender sour cream chocolate cake and sophisticated whipped ganache.

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