indulgence. [apple cider & bourbon cake w. pumpkin seed brittle & homemade whipped cream]

November 28th, 2012 by | comments

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m still recovering from all the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, dessert and copious amounts of wine. I’m honestly not sure how we were able to eat this decadent dessert after dinner, but who turns down a cake with bourbon as one of its primary flavors? Not me. Needless to say, this dessert is definitely making another appearance soon.

I meant to mention this last week, but my brother, Matt, just got engaged to his girlfriend, Vanya, of six years. I’m so incredibly happy for them and am looking forward to all that comes next!

apple cider & bourbon cake w. pumpkin seed brittle & homemade whipped cream
  • Cider sauce recipe:
  • 4 cups fresh apple cider
  • ⅓ cup bourbon
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Pumpkin seed brittle recipe:
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • ⅛ tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp. water
  • Cake recipe:
  • 1¾ cups plus 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. apple cider
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Whipped cream recipe:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper; butter and flour the paper.
  2. For the cider sauce: In a saucepan, combine the cider, bourbon, brown sugar, corn syrup, vinegar, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean and seeds; bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cream. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a pitcher; let cool slightly. Discard the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick.
  3. For the pumpkin seed brittle: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and butter the paper. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until a deep amber caramel forms, 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and the dissolved baking soda and stir until combined, then quickly pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it into a thin layer with a spatula. Let cool until hardened. Break into shards and serve.
  4. For the cake: In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a glass measuring cup, mix the apple cider with the canola oil and bourbon. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla seeds and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the cider-bourbon mixture, until smooth.
  5. Spread two-thirds of the batter in the prepared cake pan. Drizzle half of the cider sauce over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top, then spread the batter over the cider sauce, being careful not to mix them together. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until springy when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the parchment paper.
  6. Rewarm the remaining cider sauce. Cut the cake into squares or wedges and serve with the pumpkin seed brittle, cider sauce and homemade whipped cream.
  7. For the whipped cream: Place all ingredients in bowl of stand mixer and mix at high-speed until soft peaks form.


// share //
  • That does look like the ultimate and most delish indulgence :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Decadent and irresistible! Awesome pumpkin seed brittle.

  • Total heaven. I can’t even begin to dream how wonderful this was and looks. You are making me so hungry and wishing I had something really good waiting for me at home today…no such luck. I don’t think Oreos count as anything really good. Glad you had such a nice Thanksgiving Caroline! :)

  • cider and bourbon? this sounds amazing!

  • egg me on

    Holy cow! There are so many awesome things in this recipe. The sauce, that brittle! The cake itself! Wow. Sounds like you had a pretty great Thanksgiving too.

  • You. Are. An. Artist.

    Beautiful dessert. Omgggosh. xx

  • Congrats, Caroline, to your Brother and his Bride-to-be! Exciting times, eh?
    This cake is one decadent dessert. My mouth began to water as soon as I saw your opening photo. It still hasn’t stopped! :)

  • Caroline, you always have the most incredible recipes! I definitely wouldn’t be able to turn this dessert down either!
    Congratulations to your brother and his fiancé – such exciting times ahead.
    :-) Mandy

  • I think even if I were stuffed full I’d have to have a piece of that cake.

  • Oh goodness, these look incredible!

  • Indulgence looks very tasty!

  • O-M-G, yes girlll!

  • bakerbynature

    O-M-G, yes girllll!

  • joanneatfifteenspatulas

    The pumpkin seed brittle is brilliant! Just made some peanut brittle but pumpkin seeds would be great too.

  • That is a thing of beauty!

  • There is no way I could have resisted this – even after a Thanksgiving feast. It sounds like you had a great holiday Caroline. Congrats to your brother. I hope your holiday season is off to a fantastic start!

  • caroline! Boy- I mean I craving this now! it is divine. give me

  • Wow – ooey gooey deliciousness right here on your blog! I love cake with bourbon or pie with bourbon or….well I like the taste of alcohol in my desserts!

  • Amy

    Sorry for the late commenting…but this looks seriously AMAZING! Wow. Love the pumpkin seed brittle on top. We make an almond brittle that goes on our pumpkin pie :) Also, congrats to your bro!

  • Hi Caroline! Congratulations to your brother and your family as well as his fiancé! It’s holiday time and that adds extra happiness. :) Your apple cider bourbon cake looks and sounds so good!

  • COngrats on your brother’s engagement!!! and the food looks awesome…i love sweets, and never tried anything with apple cider in it though..any substitute for the bourbon??

  • What a great sounding dessert…I can’t wait to try it.

  • Pingback: Recipe Roundup January 2013 « A Gaming Girl's Take on Life()