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Oct 7, 2010 01:24 PM

Need help formulating my Thanksgiving dessert

I'm making dessert for our Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (Canadian version), and I'm in need of a little assistance. Here goes:
I made this cake last year, and it was really great.
I'd make it again, except I really want to try making salted caramel sauce, and include this as part of the dessert. Is there a way I can combine a pumpkin spice cake, cream cheese frosting and salted caramel sauce? For instance, frosting the layers with caramel, then finishing with cream cheese? Mixing caramel into the cream cheese? Drizzle it on top of the finished cake? Would you replace the orange flavouring with something else, or would it go with caramel? Or should I just serve the regular cake with a scoop of ice cream with caramel on top?
I'm not afraid of making up my own recipes, but it's a one-shot thing and I'd appreciate your input!

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  1. I think with the complex five-spice pumpkin cake, orange-cream cheese icing and salted caramel sauce, you're going to have a bit too much going on. Cream cheese icing tends to be a little salty anyway (especially if you make it according to this recipe - that's a very high cheese-to-sugar ration, which I like, but I assume it's not terribly sweet). I would probably lose the orange flavor (although I love orange) if I were going to try to work in the salty caramel, just to simplify things a bit.

    Anyway, a salted caramel sauce is going to be too thin to really frost or fill the cake, so you'd need to use it either as a drizzle or a glaze. Perhaps you could use the cream cheese just between the layers and then pour the caramel sauce over the top? Or you could make cupcakes and pipe some caramel into the middle as a filling, then frost with the cream cheese? You could also make lacy decorations out of salted caramel (cook sugar until dark amber and then use a spoon to drizzle Jackson Pollock-esque designs on parchment, let cool and break into shards - you could sprinkle a little Maldon salt over them while they were still soft for the salty element).

    1. I'd leave out the orange flavor altogether. I've made cream cheese (and mascarpone which I prefer because it's not as strong of a flavor) by mixing it with dulce de leche until it's spreading consistency. I think you could probably do that with salted caramel, too. I think the caramel would be good since the cake is made with brown sugar.

      1. I think all the flavors would go really well together, even though there's a lot going on. As you frost each layer, you could drizzle the caramel sauce on top of the cream cheese frosting before putting on the next layer, and then drizzle more on top. I like the hard caramel decoration idea too.

        1. Oh my god...can I come to your place for Thanksgiving dessert? Last year's sounds like a dream come true! Re your question about this year's dessert - I would forego creamcheese and orange entirely and stick with the caramel flavours - that seems more "autumn" to me. Good luck!

          1. Mmmmm...I like your ideas, people. The actual eating is such an afterthought when the planning is so fun.