A Cozy Kitchen's Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting


Yesterday morning I woke up next to a 26 year old! It would have been more exciting had that time not been 4 AM. *insert fussy face here* One of the caveats of working as a hospital RN is that each year the hospital can give you a max of 3 "mandatories". Mandatories are - don't come in, and if you want to get paid for the day you have to use PTO time. Because of the inevitable politics associated, there are a lot of union rules surrounding these mandatories, such as if the hospital calls within 2 hours before the start of your shift, the hospital has to reimburse the nurse for that day's pay. Lately the entire telemetry's census has been very low (read: less patients, means you don't need as many nurses to work), which means I have gotten 2 mandatories in a row. ....Which means 2 loud phone calls at 4 AM, well before my 7 AM scheduled start time. But the unexpected time off proved to be useful in preparing for Alex's birthday! 

It's wild to think that I have been able to continually watch him grow, learn, and pursue his dreams since we were both just 19 years old. This next year will be a big planning year for him as he finishes planning the rest of his medical school clerkships, plans who to ask for letters of recommendation for residency applications, plans WHICH residency programs to apply to, plans potential interviews across the country, and of course continually plans for our future like the responsible and sensible guy that he is. It's wonderful, yet surreal, as the plans he had when I first met him as a college freshmen have continually unfolded, getting him closer and closer to his dream of becoming a surgeon.   

Every year Alex requests a pumpkin pie for his birthday. He's been doing this since he was younger - so much so that his mom made sure to teach him how to bake a pumpkin pie so he would never go without one for his birthday. He's not a big cake person, specifically because he hates frosting. You may be thinking - what kind of SOCIOPATH hates frosting?? I know, I know, he's a strange duck, but over the years I have grown to love this birthday tradition of his. A few years ago when I was living in Portland, Alex came up to visit me for his birthday. Being the super cool (lol) girlfriend that I was, I wanted to create his pumpkin pie from scratch - as in, start-from-a-whole-pumpkin-kind-of-scratch. Naturally, not only did this take wayyyy too long to make, but it did NOT turn out well. At all, haha. Since then I've learned my lesson, and have resorted back to the recipe on the pumpkin can because that's his favorite. 

So in honor of Alex's birthday, I wanted to share A Cozy Kitchen's recipe for Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting. (I get that this isn't a pumpkin pie, despite me going on and on about said pie - but sharing a pumpkin pie recipe felt too predictable). I brought this cake to my small group, and it was a HUGE HIT! Everyone loved it. Not only is this recipe easy to make, the cake is (dare I say?) MOIST, and absolutely melts in your mouth. If you are looking for the perfect dessert for a large family gathering or friendsgiving during this holiday season, then this is the perfect recipe for you! 

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Recipe by: A Cozy Kitchen
Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the edges, and set aside. 

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together: 
               2 cups all-purpose flour
               1 3/4 cups sugar
               2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
               2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
(1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, pinch of ground cloves)
               1 teaspoon baking soda
               1/2 teaspoon salt

3.  In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, whisk together until smooth: 
               3 large eggs
               1 (15 oz) can of pure pumpkin puree
               3/4 cup vegetable oil
               1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4.  Mix in the dry ingredients, until just combined. 

5.  Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Using the over hanging parchment paper, lift the cake out of the cake pan, and transfer to a cooling rack. 

6. Make the frosting. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt: 
               1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

7. Once the butter is melted, it will begin to foam and bubble a little. Continue to cook the butter until lightly browned specks begin to form. At this point you will start to smell its nutty aroma. Stir the butter, and remove once the butter is browned. Continue to stir to help it cool down. Transfer the browned butter to a small, freezer-safe bowl, and place in the freezer to chill for 5 minutes. Once the butter is room temperature firmness, remove from the freezer and transfer to an electric mixer bowl. 

8. Add to the browned butter: 
               1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (making a total of 2 1/2 butter sticks)
               2 Tablespoons heavy cream
               1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
               1/4 teaspoon salt

9. Sift in: 
               4 cups powder sugar

10. Beat the frosting ingredients together for 3 minutes. 

11. Assemble the cake by spreading the frosting onto the cooled sheet cake. If desired, top with sprinkles.