Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tis the Season for Pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Ahhh fall is in the air here in Clovis...and the cow poop smell is noticeably absent from it, making it even more wonderful! Autumn is my absolute favorite time of the year- yelling at the TV during football games, going insane with Halloween decorations, and of course, eating anything and everything that involves pumpkin flavoring. Except pumpkin pie. As far as pies go, pumpkin is definitely my least lacks a certain charm provided by fruit pies, and the texture makes me feel like I'm eating old, mushy, rotting pumpkin insides. Lovely, right? So instead of baking pumpkin pie to celebrate fall's greatly appreciated arrival, I made a pumpkin bundt cake with cinnamon glaze. I did it all from scratch because I had a fervent desire to not only eat everything pumpkin this week and end up with an Autumn hangover, but also make sure my house smelled like how I imagine Heaven or an actual bakery smells, too. I also love this recipe because it is low calorie, and I can come up with any number of excuses to eat cake with each meal: "It's PUMPKIN- so healthy you CAN have it for breakfast," "It's lunch, I need a semisweet palate cleanser," or "It's dinner, why are you still so surprised I am going for thirds with this cake? How long have we been married again?"
It contains your daily recommended servings of pumpkin and deliciousness.
For being homemade, this cake did not take an entire day away from me to make, and the ingredients were all already in my pantry save for the canned pumpkin because I never want to prematurely believe it is fall only for an Indian Summer to ruin things for me. Mother Nature and I have never been on good terms- every summer she threatens to mow me down, and that one time she almost made me miss my own wedding (I'd offer her some cake to smooth things over if I could). I found the recipe at Taste of Home and made many adjustments to take it up a notch so that with each bite I can actually taste fall and subsequently fall into a delightfully induced food coma. So let me break down this simply tasty recipe for you so that you too can be the bearer of Autumn for your own family, thus earning you a solid opportunity to ask plenty of favors from your loved ones (I mean, my husband helped me clean the house today...just saying, it may have been because of the cake).

Clearly the canned pumpkin deserved to be center has been waiting a year after all.
I happen to have amassed an amazing collection of herbs and spices over the years thanks to the enjoyment I find from baking and cooking, so you may or may not need to grab some spices from your local hell pit (commonly called "Walmart"). Here's the breakdown:
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
See, super simple for a list with thirteen different ingredients! Don't you roll your eyes at should have ground ginger in your pantry because it is the greatest thing ever. Making Asian food? Add ground ginger. Making spice cakes? Add ground ginger. Trying not to throw up? Drink a Gingerale. You get the idea. Ginger also happened to be my favorite Spice Girl, so the fascination goes back to the early 90s. If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with ground ginge!
I kinda wanted to stop at this point and just eat the bowl and call it a day.
 First things first, mix together the sugars, extract, and oil. This will form a crumbly paste that tastes like the dreams of unicorns. Try not to eat it all, and then add the eggs (one at a time) and beat well. You could still eat some of the paste at this point if you're not scared of salmonella (I too live dangerously).
However, I do not recommend eating the bowl of dry mix.
As the bowl of sugar/egg/oil awesomeness mixes, throw together the spices, baking soda, and flour in another bowl. Blend well, and open your can of pumpkin, and set aside. This will be infinitely easier if you're right-handed. I almost always require two tries or a tetanus shot after using a can opener, but the cake is totally worth being reminded of my left-handed shortcomings.
Add a cup or so of the dry mix to the sugar paste, and mix away.
Low speed at first unless making kitchen messes it totally your thing like it is mine.
Then mix in a third of the canned pumpkin. Blend well!
You'll repeat the dry mix/blend/pumpkin/blend process probably two more times until you've used all of your ingredients and have a huge bowl of cake, ready to be poured into only your finest of bundt pans. Just make sure you've greased up your pan thoroughly so the cake comes out easily later, and you don't leave a huge mess for yourself to clean up when trying to scrub your pan and all its damn intricate nooks and crannies. Let your cake bake at 350 until it smells done. The accurate, scientific timing is approximately 50 minutes for those of you not blessed with a kitchen-timer schnauz (I imagine IKEA will make these eventually).
Once a toothpick comes out clean, you're good to go. Let the cake rest for ten minutes.
After a tantalizingly long ten minutes, remove the cake from the pan to cool on a rack.
Doesn't it look scrumptious??! Yeah, you're damn right it does. It will make your whole house smell like the memory of your favorite Thanksgiving. For me, that happens just about every year when the Cowboys lose their Turkey Day game, but it still makes me giddy with delight (both the smell and the losses). At this point, you could dust the cake with powdered sugar, but I recommend going one step further and making my also very simple cinnamon glaze to drizzle on your cake.
Yeah, never a recipe without should be used to that by now.
You'll need:
  • 2 TBS milk
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
See, you know you have all this in your pantry, too! Don't make me go on about why you should also always have a pound of pure cut cocaine powdered sugar in your pantry like I did for dear old ground ginger. All you need to do here is melt the butter, mix in the milk, then mix in the sugars and cinnamon.
The hardest part about making this is not eating it by the spoonful.
Once your cake has cooled, take a large spoon and slowly drizzle the glaze back and forth over the top of your cake. The best part is this doesn't require a ton of effort to make it look gorgeous and delicious at the same time:
Oh my glazed greatness...
I had to take it up a notch and make this look even more like the cake embodiment of fall and added red sprinkles to the top as a nice finishing touch. Gold would have also worked like a charm, too. Just add what you like until you feel you've sufficiently allowed fall into your home and had it take over your entire life and made you its prisoner (tastiest form of Stockholm Syndrome, ever). 
You complete me.
This cake is by no means light...yet it is still somehow healthy. I attribute this to the magic of the pumpkin. It really is the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This cake marks the beginning of fall baking in the Fox house. Get ready to be overwhelmed by pie and other pumpkiny goodness where the blog is concerned for the next few weeks. I am going to make you so sick of fall you'll be praying for winter...when I can divulge you in the greatness that is "Christmas baking." I can keep you fed with the finest of baked goods 24/7/365, never you fear. Til next time, my fellow eaters!

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