Gooey “German” Pumpkin Skillet Cake

Posted on 09/26/2012 by layers_of_eli
Y'all. This cake is INSANE. And it's easy. And you just have, have, have to make it. It’s a moist, simple pumpkin skillet cake with a layer of gooey, rich toasted pecan and coconut filling ladled over top. Mike and I ate it with ice cream (duh) and a totally excessive drizzle of caramel sauce, swooning with every bite. You’re going to LOVE it.

Gooey "German" Pumpkin Skillet Cake

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, with filling adapted from David Lebovitz
Yield: about 8 servings

Cake Ingredients:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional, see note in directions)

"German" Filling Ingredients:
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped (see note in directions)
1 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted (see note in directions)

Note: To toast your chopped pecans, spread them on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 6 minutes or until fragrant, stirring a couple of times. Toast coconut the same way, stirring often (it might take less time, however: maybe 4-5 minutes total). Don't be scared and pull the nuts and coconut out when it's pale -- let it get good and dark, but not burnt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet (I used a 10-inch) over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the vegetable oil, sugars, and vanilla and remove from heat. Let this mixture cool until the pan is no longer hot (about 5 minutes) so you won’t scramble your eggs.

Add both eggs to the butter mixture, whisking them well to combine. Whisk in the pumpkin. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice (Note: it’s kind of lame to use another bowl for this and I think you should be able to just dump all your dry ingredients on top and whisk them in well, but I was too chicken to try. If you just dump them in, please let me know how it goes!)

Stir in the toasted pecans if you’re using them. Bake your skillet cookie for 15-35* minutes, or until the edges are getting golden and the center is still soft (a toothpick inserted into the center should come out with some moist crumbs, but no liquid batter).

While your cake bakes and then cools for a bit, make the filling. Place the butter, salt, toasted coconut, and toasted pecans in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream, sugar, and egg yolks over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened, coats the spoon, and reads 170 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour this mixture over the coconut mixture and stir until the butter melts. Let the mixture cool completely (I set mine in the fridge once it was almost cool to thicken it some more.) Spread the cooled mixture over the surface of the pumpkin cake. Eat immediately (preferably straight from the skillet, with heaps of vanilla bean ice cream!)

*Depending on your skillet, this cooking time can really vary. I’d start checking at 15 minutes and then check every couple of minutes after that with toothpicks. Make sure to look for moist crumbs, not a clean toothpick. If you overbake, it might be dry!

To hear all about my dog and what she has to do with this cake (hint: nothing), see why this cake is German (hint: it's not), and see more photos of pumpkin cake, please head over to Willow Bird Baking!

x-posted to food_porn, cooking, picturing_food, and bakebakebake
spracker 26th-Sep-2012 05:09 am (UTC)
Would you believe, we still don't have a cast iron pan?!
layers_of_eli 26th-Sep-2012 05:24 am (UTC)
Given how much I know you cook, girl, I do not believe it! LOL. I love mine so much that I've gone a little cast iron crazy... ;)
spracker 26th-Sep-2012 05:55 am (UTC)
I knowww! We have talked about getting one for ages. I guess we just don't want one that's teeny tiny, and any of the decent sized ones are pretty pricey. We did get a new wok last week in the Chinatown section here! Our old one was long overdue to be replaced. Sad! Well, a cast iron skillet is still on the list. Maybe we can splurge this Christmas. :)
layers_of_eli 26th-Sep-2012 11:03 am (UTC)
I know what you mean! I was able to find a pretty reasonable 10-inch Lodge brand skillet (at Williams-Sonoma, no less, which is usually so expensive). I'd recommend looking at Lodge when you're ready -- I really like mine!
spracker 26th-Sep-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Ooh, thanks for the tip! Do you find that the 10-inch is a good size for desserts and dinner stuff? I've seen some dinner recipes that use a cast iron skillet in the oven, and I'm not sure what size would be ideal. (There's 2 of us here.)

You know what else I really want? One of those double-burner skillets! [daydreams..]
layers_of_eli 27th-Sep-2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
I do! I bought a 12-inch and ended up buying a 10-inch later because it seemed more widely useful, actually!
spillcanvas3685 27th-Sep-2012 02:47 pm (UTC)
Seconded! I bought my Lodge at Target, or you can also get them on Amazon! It was reasonable!
mysid 26th-Sep-2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
I got one of mine for cheap and the other for free! I was visiting an area with a lot of lakes and summer cottages. As people buy old cottages and update them, they get rid of the "old fashioned" stuff already in them. I got one cast iron pan at a second hand shop, and another was given to me by someone who otherwise would have thrown it away.
spracker 27th-Sep-2012 12:04 am (UTC)
I am envious! I've been checking thrift stores, but, no luck. Just regular 'ol non-stick pans. None of the good stuff. :(
rhodielady_47 26th-Sep-2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
I thought I'd drop in on your conversation just long enough to suggest that you look into getting a second-hand iron skillet. The crazy things almost last forever you know. I have a cast iron skillet that my mom gave me that her mom bought just after she got married back in the 20's. I also have a cast iron griddle that I got from my other grandmother that she used back in the 40's and 50's. As long as they don't crack or wear through, they're good for use.
I always look for them whenever I check out a second-hand store. Once you've cleaned them up, you're in for a world of good southern food.
BTW--There's a lot of people who actually think that older skillets cook better than new ones and I'm one of them.
Hope this helps.
spracker 27th-Sep-2012 12:03 am (UTC)
I have been! I'm not opposed to it.. I do see a cast iron skillet as one of those items that's durable enough to last for years! I just haven't found one yet that wasn't *still* surprisingly expensive (even for a used one.)
amdragoste 26th-Sep-2012 06:41 am (UTC)
Yes ma'am, I will make this! I am laughing in disbelief at just how much fat this has in it, but hey. I'll share with the neighbors!
layers_of_eli 26th-Sep-2012 11:10 am (UTC)
I wouldn't worry about the fat. The carbs, yes, but not the fat. The carbs are scary enough :)

But those are things not to worry about until AFTER you eat a piece of two :D

kamaliitaru 26th-Sep-2012 06:55 am (UTC)
That looks yummy! I just made a banana coconut cake with a version of this topping (my in test broiled version).
layers_of_eli 26th-Sep-2012 11:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! YUM to your banana cake -- that sounds divine.
mysid 26th-Sep-2012 12:02 pm (UTC)
That looks yummiful! But my son is allergic to nuts, and my daughters hate coconut, so it would just be my hubby and I eating it--a bad idea (le sigh).

But wait--my parents love German chocolate cake topping. I could make this for Thanksgiving and bring it to their house!
layers_of_eli 26th-Sep-2012 12:13 pm (UTC)
Now that's problem-solving! LOL! Love it. Thank you :) I hope you enjoy it!
ehrenyu 26th-Sep-2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
Oh. Goodness. That looks DELISH. I'm definitely going to have to try it!

layers_of_eli 26th-Sep-2012 01:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I hope you enjoy it!
nimrod_9 26th-Sep-2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
Just another reason to want a cast iron skillet.
layers_of_eli 26th-Sep-2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
It's worth every penny you spend on one :D I promise!
gratiela 6th-Oct-2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
I finally made this!!! Thank you for sharing the recipe, it's wonderfully spicy and comforting and all types of good things in a pan!<3
Lol, well, I made half of it: just the pumpkin cake, not the filling. And I probably messed up with the quantities (I'm in Europe, aka we use metric system) and it turned out a bit moister than I expected. BUT! The smells and the pumpkin... forever in love!
My friend who usually doesn't eat pumpkin loved it too!
layers_of_eli 7th-Oct-2012 02:52 am (UTC)
Aww, I'm so glad to hear that you all enjoyed it!! :)
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