Fall Spice Cake

Happy Halloween!

I know what you’re thinking.  This is the most she’s posted in awhile.  😉  Let’s just say I’ve been able to make it through the day without a nap (no, these naps were not daily occurences, just on my days off), got my grocery shopping done early this week and was able to try out the spice cake I saw Giada make on Giada at Home

I’m not sure how I feel about the show itself, but what I do know is, as I was watching it I kept thinking, “Didn’t she just have a baby a few months ago?  She just had a baby?!” (Very cute baby, btw). Then it was, “HONEY, COME HERE AND CHECK OUT THIS ZOTCH THAT JUST HAD A BABY!”  LOL.  I remember when she was pregnant and thinknig to myself, “She sure doesn’t look pregnant.”  *SIGH*  We’re not going to talk about my swollen face and sausage toes.  Ok, it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s inevitable.

So back to this cake. Giada made hers in a loaf pan, but I went with a fluted tube pan, aka bundt pan (did you know that “bundt pan” is a registered trademark?), because I thought it would look nicer.  I decided to add in some pumpkin puree that I needed to use up (it didn’t really give it much of a pumpkin flavor, but it may have helped keep the cake moist).  I also didn’t have any allspice and didn’t want to buy any just for one cake, so I substituted some cloves.  I figured it’d go well with the rest of the spices and the the pumpkin.  I used some whole wheat flour in place of some the all purpose flour.  My mission in life is to try and incorporate whole wheat flour into my baked goods.  😉

The cake came out very moist and the blend of spices was delicious and made me feel all warm and autumny.  (Yes, autumny is a word here in Sueshe-land.)  Sorry I don’t have any pictures for you.  By the time I got around to wanting to take some photos, the cake was almost gone – well, we ate some and I sent some home with the in-laws.  But, I do have some pictures of the cupcakes MC took to school today.  🙂

spiderweb cupcakes

spiderweb cupcakes

Fall Spice Cake
Adapted from Halloween Spice Cake courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a fluted tube pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

In a large bowl, beat the sugars, oil, applesauce, pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla extract to blend.

Add the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake for 10 minutes.

Unmold the cake and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into slices for serving.

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Where Do I Start?

So much has happened in the last, um…when was my last post?  Dang, over a month ago?  Ok, let me start over.  So much has happened in the last few months really.  I started a new job, I’m taking a class on Thursday nights, I’m preggo with baby #2 due in April…what?  I didn’t mention that?  Oops.  I’ve just been so caught up in everything in else.  😉  Not totally true, but I have been so tired that I haven’t had the energy to do much but go to work, scrounge up some dinner and sit my arse on the couch.  Hopefully I’m getting over that hump and things’ll be smooth sailing from here on out.  Hahaha!  I crack myself up.  But, I am hoping to get over this extreme tiredness and nausea soon.  I’ve been fortunate enough through both pregnancies to not have major morning sickness – and why the heck do they call it morning sickness when it’s really all freaking day?  But seriously though, we’re so excited!

080929 picture
our little gummy bear

I wanted to post something today that relates to autumn.  Something that let’s me know it’s that time of year again.  Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  For me, that’s pumpkin.  What’s strange is, I say I love pumpkin.  But what I really mean is sweet pumpkin.  I don’t think I’ve actually had anything savory with pumpkin.  I’ve seen recipes for pumpkin lasagna, pumpkin soups, even pepitos (the seeds), but I’ve never tried them.  To me pumpkin is always associated to sweet fall treats.  I’m not sure why that is.  Something to think about…

DSC_0272-2
well hello there mr spider

Work has been busy, but apparently not as busy as it’ll be the few days before Thanksgiving, and Christmas for that matter.  I’m not looking forward to that at all.  Plus the fact that I won’t be able to visit my family in Kansas until after Christmas.  😦  But, on the bright side, they may be coming down here to see us.  🙂  Anyway, back to work…We’ve been making pumpkin pies (from a bottled mix) lately, just a few to get everyone interested.  I asked about the cheesecakes.  We already make and decorate plain, strawberry, cherry, rainbow (different fruits), chocolate, turtle fudge and white chocolate cheesecakes.  I wondered if we were going to do pumpkin.  Not to give myself something more to do, because believe me, I don’t need that, but more out of curiosity and wanting to contribute something.  Someone mentioned purchasing frozen product and re-selling it.  I’m thinking to myself, why do that when we’re already making about a dozen cheesecakes a day.  Why not just turn a few of those into pumpkin cheesecakes?  We could use the mix we already have and we wouldn’t have to worry about spice ratios or getting pumpkin shipments.  So, I made one up, had the general manager taste it and ta-da, it’s on the list…for $26.95 a pop!  Sheesh.  I shoulda just kept my mouth shut, made them at home and sold them for like $19.99.  I coulda made a killing!  😛 

pumpkin whoopie pies

Let’s move on to something more fun than work.  🙂  When I saw that this month’s Cookie Carnival recipe was Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies I was thrilled.  I’d made some Pumpkin Whoopie Pies last year and they came out great.  But, as I was reading through the recipe I realized that the cookies themselves were made from cocoa and that the filling was pumpkin flavored.  I figured I’d give it a go…something a little different.

pumpkin whoopie pies

I pretty much stuck to the recipe – I’ll indicate where I made changes – and they turned out pretty good.  I think if I had to do it again and I wanted more pumpkin flavor, I’d put it in the cookies and not just the filling.  The filling gives you just a hint.  It still tastes mostly of cream cheese, which is fine, but I wanted something more.

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Yield: 18
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
Cookies
1¾ cups all purpose flour (used ½ cup whole wheat and 1 ¼ cups all purpose)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup vegetable shortening (used butter flavor)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar (used light brown)
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk (used 2%)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup canned solid pack pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
(replaced cinnamon & nutmeg with pumpkin pie spice)

Directions:
Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.

Drop about 2 teaspoons dough (I used a small cookie scoop) onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart.

Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes (only took about 10 minutes for me).

Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.

Filling
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.

pumpkin whoopie pies

Ok, so, for those of you who are even still reading this blog and want to know what the picture in the last post was, Grace, who commented on the post was correct.  It’s mochi.  It’s made from rice flour, sugar and water.  Very easy recipe, but it can be difficult to work with.  You have to work fast, not only because it’s hot, but because it’s sticky.  And if you let it sit too long, it firms up on you and then you can’t shape it very well.