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Luscious Autumn Cake


By Ryan Downs, Heritage Leader and Lee Dunn, Pastry Wizard; S.S. Legacy

Well, it is definitely fall, ladies and gents; the air is cool, the skies clear of clouds, the sun is out, and the air smells of wood fires in chimneys. The maple and spruce trees are blazing with splashes of color amidst the deep evergreens. This week's blog entry is from Lee Dunn, the Pastry Wizard of the S.S. Legacy. I had an amazing three layer Autumn cake and begged Lee for the recipe. Here's what he gave us! -Ryan D. Downs

This recipe comes from one of my best friends, Pastry Chef Cinamon Jaramillo. She makes this with a maple cream cheese frosting, but I've adapted it a little to a buttercream. The cake features layers of pumpkin spice, zucchini and apple cinnamon with a maple pecan buttercream; a fantastic blend of fall flavors and spices! —Lee Dunn

Autumn Cake

The completed cake

Autumn Cake
Yield: one 10-inch round cake, 3 layers

Pumpkin Layer:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup water
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or pan spray a 10-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment paper if you prefer. Mix together the oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin and water. Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir until smooth. Pour into the cake pan. Bake about 30-35 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when touched with a finger. Cool completely.

Zucchini Layer:
Follow the instructions for the pumpkin layer but omit pumpkin and all spices.

Add to the wet ingredients:
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup zucchini puree (simply puree chopped zucchini in a processor)

Add to the dry ingredients:
1/2 cloves

Apple Spice Layer:
Follow the instructions for the pumpkin layer but omit pumpkin and all spices.

Add to the wet ingredients:
1 cup apple puree (I use granny smith apples, skin on)

Add to the dry ingredients:
2 tsp cinnamon


Making the buttercream

Maple Pecan Buttercream:
Yield: 5-6 cups

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 fl oz heavy cream
1 cup 100% pure maple syrup
20 oz softened butter, unsalted
1 cup ground toasted pecans

Make custard by heating milk and sugar until sugar crystals dissolve. Add flour and salt and whisk over an ice bath until the custard has cooled, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour to cool the mixture. Whisk in vanilla extract.

Pour custard mixture into a mixer bowl with a paddle attachment. Add cut-up butter and add cream and maple syrup. Mix on low speed to incorporate ingredients. Gradually increase speed to medium-high until the mixture begins to thicken. It takes at least 7 to 9 minutes for the butter to be completely incorporated. Mix in the ground pecans at the end.

Note: Don't panic if the buttercream looks like cottage cheese. The more you beat this buttercream, the creamier it gets.
Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze. The icing will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer, and 1 week in the refrigerator.

Autumn Cake Assembly:
For garnish you may like to use 12-16 whole pecans.

Starting with the pumpkin layer, place on a cardboard cake circle and spread a little buttercream evenly over the top. Place the zucchini layer on top of the buttercream, and spread some more buttercream on top. Finish with the apple cinnamon layer and spread a heavier amount of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Mark the top of the cake into 12-16 pieces if desired, and pipe rosettes on each. Top each rosette with a whole pecan. The cake is easier to cleanly slice when cold, but should be served room temperature so the buttercream is soft!


Building layers

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