While dating a lawyer does not exactly give me the right to go on a search and arrest spree without a warrant...when I went through every bag of flour, grains, and beans in my kitchen (and trust me, there were many) on Tuesday night, utterly convinced that they were harboring illegal and thoroughly unwanted immigrants, I would just like to state, for the record, that I had reasonable suspicion. So there.
It all started when I found two grain beetles in my all-purpose flour. Sure, they may be tiny and mostly innocuous but that does not mean I want them cavorting around in some of my most prized possessions.
Besides, if there's one thing I've learned about these vermin, it's that when there's one...there's a thousand. The question then was...where were the rest of them hiding?
So I did what any normal person would have done. Took those two little invertebrates in for questioning.
I'm not going to lie, it wasn't pretty. There was yelling. Threats to call in an extermination team. Demands to see their green cards. But to no avail - they weren't talking.
As you can see, I was left with no other choice. I scooped them out of the flour bag and straight into the garbage. Then, as they floundered around helplessly, I said to them, glowering and looming over the can, "You had your chance."
Then I promptly picked up my flour bin, threw up a little in my mouth when I realized the extent of the infestation (i.e. everywhere), put the whole thing into a garbage bag and brought it out of my apartment to the chute. And then proceeded to go through every dried good in my apartment. Fun stuff.
Thankfully, for the sake of this cake, which I had already planned to make days before, the only specialty flour that remained uncontaminated was the almond flour. Which, coincidentally, was also the most expensive of the bunch. (Those beetles would not fare well on the The Price is Right, I'll tell you that much.)
So I forged ahead in an attempt to distract myself from that creepy crawly feeling I now had on every inch of my body. And boy, was I glad I did. This cake was, at the risk of being cliche, amazing. It was perfectly pumpkin spiced with just a hint of almond flavor, moist without being oily, and topped with one of the most delicious frostings I've ever had.
Take home message: store your flours/grains/legumes in airtight containers. And make this cake before the season is up. You won't be sorry.
Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting
Makes 1 9-inch cake, adapted from Baked: Elements
For the Pumpkin Almond Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the Almond Butter Frosting
- 1/2 cup almond butter (I used Maranatha Maple Almond Butter)
- 2 oz (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2-4 tbsp almond milk, to taste
- 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, to taste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray (I use Baker's Joy). Line with parchment paper and then spray again.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until just incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the side after each addition. Beat for another 30 seconds.
- Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape down the bowl and beat for an additional 10 seconds.
- Place the batter into the cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it, then turn the cake out onto the rack. Remove the parchment, flip the cake right side up and let cool completely.
- For the frosting, place the almond butter, butter, 2 tbsp almond milk, 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse with short bursts until the frosting comes together and is shiny and smooth. Mix in the vanilla. Add 1-2 tbsp additional almond milk to make it looser, if you wish or up to 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar if you prefer it thicker. Process again until smooth.
- Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top of the cake. Sprinkle the top with the almonds.