Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: Redux

Pumpkin Cake Redux 12

Two years ago yesterday I made this post, and to date it’s my most popular post of all time. It didn’t garner a lot of attention when I stuck it up there, but daily it’s my most-visited, most-pinned item – by thousands. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. My second-most popular post of all time? Wattle fencing. Third? Cleaning your dishwasher. What is WRONG with you guys? You have seriously weird tastes.

Pumpkin Cake Redux 8

So the Pie thought it would be fun for me to re-create the post to see if it’s just as good the second time, so here I go: but with way more pizzazz than the first time. HOLD ON TO YER BUTTS.

Pumpkin Cake Redux 1

Making this for a second time, I’m reminded of how stupidly easy it is, which might be part of its allure. I mean, it feels like I’m making it out of a box, it’s so simple. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and spraying a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. I am doubling this recipe so don’t be alarmed by the sheer amount of pumpkin cake you see here.

Pumpkin Cake Redux 2

Grab a large bowl and dump in 1 15oz can of unsweetened pumpkin purée. Crack in 4 eggs,  tip in 1 cup vegetable oil, and plop in 1 cup sugar (I reduced this from the last recipe). Give it a thorough whirl with a whisk so it’s gloriously and uniformly orange. Next, in a whole other bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (that’s another small change from the last one).

Pumpkin Cake Redux 3

Pumpkin Cake Redux 4

Dump that flour stuff carefully into the pumpkin stuff and be thorough with the mixing again.

Pumpkin Cake Redux 5

Smooth the batter (wasn’t that easy?) into your baking dish and shove it in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Pumpkin Cake Redux 6

Set that glorious orange cake on a wire rack to cool completely. Now you can whip together your amazing cream cheese frosting. I’m doubling the icing amount on this one because I believe that cream cheese icing is the greatest thing in the world and everything needs more of it (this is also why I reduced the sugar in the batter).

Pumpkin Cake Redux 7

In the bowl of a mixer, plop 8oz/250g plain cream cheese that is room temperature (to avoid lumps) and 1/2 cup softened butter, with a few drops vanilla extract. Beat that smooth and then add in 2-4 cups icing sugar until it’s the consistency that you like.

Pumpkin Cake Redux 11

Spread that amazingness generously on your lovely dark orange cake and EAT IT.

Pumpkin Cake Redux 13

Thrifty me, I still had some cream cheese icing leftover from the General’s Spider-Man cake, so I used it on my second cake. It looks a little funny but it tastes just as good!

Pumpkin Cake Redux 15

Advertisements

Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix

Pumpkin Spice Latte 3

There’s a joke going around that you can tell it’s fall on college campuses because all the undergraduate girls are dressed in yoga pants, wearing Ugg boots, and hefting pumpkin spice lattes.

Fall College Girl Uniform of Black Yoga Pants/leggings and Uggs with whatever kind of top
Photo borrowed with thanks from John Paul Sullivan

When I was in undergrad, yoga pants hadn’t yet become the lazy fashion statement they are today, Ugg was something you said when someone punched you in the stomach, and the pumpkin spice latte was just a twinkle in the eye of the corporate coffee giants.  In fact, I have only recently discovered the pumpkin spice latte.  AND IT’S AWESOME.  Still, you’d have to pay me quite a bit of money to wear yoga pants outside the house these days …

Anyway, if you think that makes me seem old, let me tell you more.  Back in the early nineties, when Starbucks was just starting to become trendy on the Canadian west coast, the latte was a new beverage to be reckoned with.  My mother and I taught ourselves how to make them, just to see if we could (you see where I get it from?).  We used one of these fantastic wee espresso pots.  Total old school.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 11

Now, I had not used my latte-making skills in over twenty years, until I was scrolling through my Feedly and came across Just a Smidgen’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix recipe.  Upon finding this I knew that I had to dust off my skills (and my coffee maker) and git ‘er done!  And if you’d like to grown-up-ify this recipe, try adding a bit of fall spirit!

The mix itself is super easy to concoct: stir together 4 tablespoons pumpkin pie purée (the plain stuff we keep on hand to feed to Gren), 3 tablespoons sugar (or the sweetener of your choice, adjusted to taste), 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (you can get My Baking Addiction’s recipe here), and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 2

Shove that into a glass canning jar and chuck it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 1

Now for the latte.  If you’ve got a fancy espresso machine with a fancy milk foamer/steamer, then by all means go ahead and use that sucker.  I don’t drink these things often enough to justify losing that much counter space to another machine, so I have my ancient espresso percolator, which is easy peasy to use.  Just fill the bottom section up with water.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 4

Then take the mesh cup and fill it with ground espresso.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 5

Pumpkin Spice Latte 6

Then screw on the top piece.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 7

Plop it on the burner (if you’re using gas like me you’ll want to make the flames the same size as the bottom of the pot, else you may burn yourself horribly).

Pumpkin Spice Latte 8

For each latte you want to serve, plop 2/3 cup milk (your choice as to what kind) in your steamer or in a small pot.  Add in 1 heaping teaspoon of your pumpkin spice latte mix for each latte you are serving and whisk it in.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 9

Heat the milk until it’s steaming (don’t let it boil or you’ll get skin), whisking to keep it frothy (or use your fancy machine).

Pumpkin Spice Latte 10

Your espresso ready?  Good. Add a couple shots to your mug.  I’m feeling feisty so mine’s a double.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 12

Add in your pumpkiny milk.

Pumpkin Spice Latte 13

I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream on beverages, but if you want to get luxurious with this puppy you should add some to the top of this, sprinkled with a bit more pumpkin spice.  And that’s it!

**EDIT: And if you’re feeling adventurous, I’ve just discovered that it makes a great addition to your morning porridge!**

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Treats

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 19

This is the last pumpkin post, I swear.  We’re finally rid of it.  Fortunately, there is one member of our family who will never tire of pumpkin, and that is The Short and Spoiled One.

Experimenting with Animal Portrait Settings
Have we met?

This is a quick recipe that I put together with inspiration from Betty Crocker and Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups brown rice flour with 2 tablespoons ground flax meal (optional) and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  It occurs to me after the fact that you could also use a mixture of brown rice flour and quinoa flour, seeing as quinoa is the new superfood for dogs these days.  Very trendy of you.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 1

In another bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs with 1 3/4 cups (or 1 14 oz can) of pure pumpkin purée (not the pie filling) and 1/4 cup peanut butter (all natural, with no added salt or sugar, please).

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 2

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until a shaggy dough forms — you may need to use your hands.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 3

Sprinkle with more flour and stir that in if it’s still tacky.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 4

Take the dough and form it into a small ball with your palms.  Flatten it into a patty and place it on the baking sheet.  Angle your thumb sideways on one side of the cookie and press it into the dough.  Use the point of one of your fingers to make four indentations along the curve of your thumbprint.   So it looks like a wee paw print.  Cute, eh?

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 5

Bake for about 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookie.  A finished cookie is crisp and dried out.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 9

Allow them to cool completely on a rack and store them in the fridge to keep them fresh for a couple weeks.  At room temperature in an airtight container they’ll keep for about a week.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 10

Gren obviously enjoyed testing them.  Here he is waiting for my okay.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 12

Scarfing down the first piece.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 14

Discovering the second.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 15
Scarfing that one too.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 16

Are there no more?

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 18

Gren was nice enough to share with some of my coworkers’ dogs, and this was the review:

Photo credit: E. Wright

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup 17

Right.  So.  In my effort to effectively use all the pumpkin purée left over from our Pumpkin-Off, all 14 cups of it, we are starting to get sick of pumpkin (though the amount of fibre that has been added to our diet is extraordinary).

DSCN4780

The solution?  SOUP.  Most pumpkin soup recipes call for a single can (a little less than 2 cups) of the stuff, but I’m just gonna giv’er and dump in the rest of what I got.  BLAM.  It came out to about 2 1/2 cups.

DSCN4778

I don’t really feel like blending this soup, because the pumpkin is pre-puréed, so I’m just going to cut everything else up really small. It’s a really quick recipe, too, no need to simmer for a long time, so you can make it, say, just before lunch, and then eat it right away.

Pumpkin Soup 16

First I got my spices ready: minced garlic, a little bit of cumin, some curry, and a bit of chipotle.

Pumpkin Soup 2

And the incidentals: lemon juice (don’t mock my plastic lemon, it’s the best I can do in Newfoundland), chicken broth, and coconut milk.

Pumpkin Soup 9

Then my vegetables: three carrots, an onion, and a red pepper.

Pumpkin Soup 5

The carrots I scrubbed and grated with the skins still on.  That’s good vitamins for ya.

DSCN4782

The red pepper and onion I diced up.

Pumpkin Soup 7

In a large saucepan, then, heat up a bit of olive oil on medium-high and toss in your onions.  Cook those until they’re softened.

Pumpkin Soup 8

Then add in your cup o’spices, and stir that around for a minute or so.

Pumpkin Soup 10

Chuck in your grated carrot and diced pepper and stir that around as well, spritz it with lemon juice, then add in your coconut milk and stir until fully incorporated.

Pumpkin Soup 11

Add in the pumpkin finally (it was already cooked, so I didn’t want to overcook it), and pour in the chicken broth until you’ve reached a consistency that you like.  Let that simmer for about 20 minutes and that’s it, you’re all done.

Pumpkin Soup 12

Season with salt and pepper, and a little more lemon if you like.  At the eleventh hour I added a teaspoon ground cloves to boost the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Soup 13

This one came out a bit spicy, because I guess my curry was hotter than I had previously thought. I would recommend serving with a bit of yogurt or sour cream.

Pumpkin Soup 15

Pumpkin Soup 14

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie 2 5

I get a lot of questions from readers I meet about my husband.  The main one is, “why is he called the Pie?”  Well, I’ll tell you why.  And this goes back about nine or ten years, back when we had first met, and long before we started dating.  It’s really a great story.  I’ll tell it to you here:

One day, he told me that he really liked pie.

Yep.  That’s the whole story.  That’s why he’s called the Pie.  And now you know.  I hope you aren’t too disappointed.

Pumpkin Pie 20

Sometimes, the Pie’s favourite pie is blueberry.  Sometimes it’s apple.  I can’t keep track.  But I know that pumpkin pie, even though it doesn’t qualify as a “true pie”, is at the top of my husband’s list of favourite pies.  And now that I have sort of mastered the art of vodka pie crust, and especially considering the amount of pumpkin purée I have in my possession, it is a logical choice, and this recipe looks lovely.  So here it is, a pumpkin pie that is so from scratch with its home-made pastry crust and fresh pure pumpkin that it’s almost like I made it entirely by hand-stitching individual atoms together (I can do that, you know).

Pumpkin Pie 1

So, now.  It’s been a while since I made that vodka pie crust from Smitten Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated, so I think I’m going to lay it all out for you again, just so we both can get some practice.  If you like, you can take some more of Smitten Kitchen’s tips on better pastry from her second tutorial.  Like her, I’m not a fan of shortening, so I went with an all-butter version of the crust today.  And this dough recipe makes enough dough for two single crusts, so I guess that means I HAVE to make two pumpkin pies.  I will try to sneak one into the freezer so the Pie doesn’t eat it too fast.  That way later on when he grumbles about having no more pie I can dramatically reveal that he is wrong.  I like doing that.

Pumpkin Pie 2 11

For the pastryyou need to make sure everything is cold.  If your kitchen is frigid, like mine, this is easy.  For everyone else, just keep chucking stuff in the refrigerator if need be.  Ingredients.  Tools.  Bowls.  You name it.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt.

Pumpkin Pie 2

Cut 1 1/4 cup cold butter into cubes and make sure it’s cold (re-chill it after you cut it before adding it to the mix).

Pumpkin Pie 3

Dump that into the flour and use a pastry blender to chop it into tiny buttery-floury pieces.  You want to keep going and going and going, using a knife to clean off your pastry blender occasionally, until you end up with a mixture that closely resembles cornmeal.

Pumpkin Pie 4

Put a dishtowel under the bowl to keep it from sliding around on you.

Pumpkin Pie 5

Here’s the right consistency. You still need whole chunks of butter in there but you want them small.

Pumpkin Pie 6

Drizzle 1/4 cup cold vodka (keep that baby in the freezer) and 1/4 cup ice water over the mixture.

Pumpkin Pie 7

Use a big rubber spatula and a folding motion to bring everything together.

Pumpkin Pie 9

You don’t want to stir so much as squish and squash everything into one big blob.  It will be pretty tacky, but that stickiness will disappear when the vodka burns off in baking.  You can use your hands to gently squish the remainder together, but don’t work it too much. If you feel you need to add more liquid, drizzle a bit more vodka onto it, but just a little.

Pumpkin Pie 10

Divide your blob into two even pieces and flatten them into disks.  Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap for at least 15 minutes, and for up to 2 days.

Pumpkin Pie 11

When your dough is sufficiently chilled, lay a piece of plastic wrap out on your work surface.  Unwrap one of the disks (keep the other in the fridge) and place it in the centre of the plastic wrap. Place another sheet of wrap over top.

Pumpkin Pie 14

Working from the inside and moving out, use a rolling pin to flatten your disk into a nice round piece of pastry.  You’ll need a rough circle of about 12″ in diameter to fit in a 9″ pie pan.  Most plastic wrap is about 12″ wide, so you can use that as a guide.

Pumpkin Pie 15

Notice how you can see gobs of butter in my dough?  That means I will have some lovely flaky pastry.  As the butter melts it will leave a little open space, which will fill with steam from the vodka and water, which will in turn expand the empty space, making the proper pastry flake.

Pumpkin Pie 16

Chill your flattened pastry again for a bit.  If you put it on a baking sheet and chuck it in the fridge you should be good.  When you’re plopping it in your pie pan, make sure to remove the bottom layer of plastic wrap before rolling it over a rolling pin or folding it into quarters to place it in the pan.  I’ve done both methods here, so you can see what I mean.

Rolling pin:

Pumpkin Pie 17

Folding:

Pumpkin Pie 21

Gently lift the edges of the dough to make it easier to press into the bottom of the pan without tearing.

Pumpkin Pie 18

Trim off the excess pastry from the edges of the pan.

Pumpkin Pie 19

I used a fork to press the edges more firmly down onto the glass.  Chuck those back in the fridge when you’re done.

Pumpkin Pie 25

I had some scraps left over from trimming, so I cut up a small apple, sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, and rolled out the scraps again to form a small circle.

Pumpkin Pie 23

I put the fruit on one half, folded it over, and pinched the edges shut.  Then I put it in a sprayed pan and baked it with the pie.

Pumpkin Pie 24
It looks a little demented, but we’re not going for high quality here, just a snack.

For the pie filling, you need some pumpkin purée.  You can be lazy and buy the stuff that already has the eggs and spices in it and whatever and just dump that in your pre-bought frozen pie shell but that’s just not cool here at Ali Does It.  Make sure if you’re using canned pumpkin that it’s pure pumpkin, without the sugar and salt and all things spicy.

Now, you American folks are likely working from the 14 oz can of Libby’s or whatever it is you have.  Fourteen ounces is about 1 3/4 cups of pumpkin goodness.  Here in the FAR NORTH of Canada we have E.D. Smith pumpkin, which comes in 28 oz cans (~3 1/2 cups), so we generally use half a can for one pie, a whole can for two.  And of course I’m working from a I-have-way-too-much-pumpkin-purée-in-my-fridge perspective.  So I will be using that instead of the canned stuff.

Preheat your oven now, to 425°F and position a rack in the centre of the oven.

Beat up 4 eggs in a large bowl.  Whisk in 3 1/2 cups pumpkin purée, 2 cans (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk (I believe some countries sell condensed milk in 400 mL cans — I would just use the whole can anyway for a slightly sweeter pie), 1 cup packed brown sugar, and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Pie 12

Take your pie shells out of the fridge and divide the mixture between them.  You may end up with extra filling (lord knows I always do).  I emptied it into a smaller pie pan and baked it as-is, for a sort of pumpkin pudding.

Pumpkin Pie 26

Chuck the pies (and whatever else you now have on the go) in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Then reduce the heat to 375°F and keep baking for about 35 more minutes, until the pastry is all golden and lovely and you can stick a knife in the centre of the pie and bring it out clean again (i.e. the filling has set).  You can see that our crustless pie and the turnover turned out equally well, though with them in the oven everything took an extra 15 minutes or so to cook. Let the pie cool completely on a rack and refrigerate until ready to serve.  You can heat it up again if you like.  We enjoy ours with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.  Yum!

Pumpkin Pie 2 12

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 21

Because we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters this year (or any year), I was able to take the pumpkins from our pumpkin-off and cut them up shortly after we carved them in order to make use of all that lovely pumpkin flesh.  And I ended up, after hacking and cutting and boiling and puréeing, with 14 cups of usable pumpkin goo.  So you’re going to get a lot of pumpkin recipes.  I hope you like pumpkin.

I have never made crème brulée before.  But for many years, the Pie and I were in possession of a tiny butane brulée torch.  Then about two years ago I decided we were never going to make crème brulée and I got rid of it.  And THEN, after doing that, I discovered how freaking easy they were to make.  Yes, I did kick myself a little.  Not to fret, though: you can do the bruléeing with the help of your broiler.  It doesn’t do as even a job as a torch, so you have to rotate your ramekins while you’re doing it, but it does work.  And this pumpkin crème brûlée from The Foodess looks too easy and too lovely to resist.  In fact, way easier than regular crème brûlée.  So we’re doing it.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 2

Preheat your oven to 325°F and set a kettle of water on the boil.  Find a large baking dish and eight 3/4 cup ramekins.  You’ll note here I used four ~1 1/3 cup ramekins.  You may need two baking dishes.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 1

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups whipping cream to a simmer.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 3

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups pumpkin purée (the plain stuff, not the pie filling), 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 5 egg yolks (save the whites for something awesome), 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, a sprinkle of salt, and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 4

Ever so slowly, dribble the hot cream into the pumpkin mixture and whisk it up.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 9

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 10

Divide the mixture among your ramekins and place them in the baking dishes.  Pour boiling water into the dishes until it comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 13

Then pop that in the oven, middle rack, and bake for about 35 minutes (with my larger ramekins I baked mine for 55 minutes), until the centres of the puddings are just set.

Transfer the puddings to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then chuck them in the fridge for at least two hours.  You can make these the day ahead, and you can even freeze the chilled ramekins to eat later.  Just wrap them up carefully before freezing.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 14

Just before serving, you can take the puddings out of the fridge (or freezer) and sprinkle the tops of each with about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (the plain white stuff works best for caramelizing).  If you’ve got one, use a brûlée torch to quickly and evenly caramelize the sugar and then serve immediately.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 17

I didn’t have a brûlée torch (see above(, so I used my broiler.  Thing is, even if you move the puddings around under the broiler (easier said than done), they still don’t caramelize evenly.  So I had some charred spots and some spots that were hard and crackly, but not brown.  Not to mention that all that time under the broiler heated up the pudding itself, which is supposed to be served cold.  Alas.  But they were still super tasty, with a nice crackly top, despite what this picture may be telling you.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee 22

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Things 2012 29

The Pie is a huge, HUGE fan of muffins.  Not really sure why.  But he is.  And he requested that with the massive amounts of pumpkin purée we have that I make up some pumpkin muffins.  And I love the Smitten Kitchen so much that I knew I had to use her recipe for these delightful little things.

Pumpkin Things 2012 36

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with cupcake cups.  I made these pre-Hallowe’en so the festive liners are TOTALLY justified.

Pumpkin Things 2012 17

In one bowl, use a whisk to mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I told you we were going to need it again soon!).

Pumpkin Things 2012 14

In yer other bowl, whisk together 1 cup pureed pumpkin (if you’re using a canned variety, make sure that it’s the pure stuff, not the stuff pre-mixed with spices), 2 eggs, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil.  I also added in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Pumpkin Things 2012 15

Pumpkin Things 2012 16

Now pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and use that same whisk again until it’s fully combined.  The whisk means that you can get all the ingredients all mixed in but you don’t have to worry about overmixing.

Pumpkin Things 2012 18

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, so that each cup is about 3/4 full, and combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon to sprinkle over top.

Pumpkin Things 2012 19

Bake until they are lovely and puffy and gold and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the centre muffin comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

Pumpkin Things 2012 28

Let those sit in the pan on a rack for about five minutes before you transfer them out of the pan and directly onto the rack.  Then you can go ahead and eat them.

Pumpkin Things 2012 30

I love mine with butter.

Pumpkin Things 2012 38

The Pie just loves them, period.

Pumpkin Things 2012 34

Especially that glorious crusty top.

Pumpkin Things 2012 32