Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I (heart) Pumpkin!

It's been a long time since I've gotten to make a birthday cake for a coworker. Wes jokes that it seems I'm baking a cake for someone every week but that's hardly the case considering I work with a whopping 12 people. I'm quite lucky to have such a willing audience and most of them are very accepting guinea pigs. From carrot to parsnip, there hasn't been one that's been turned away yet. I've had some personal favorites and not surprising, this Pumpkin Cake is right up there for me. Did you know I love pumpkin? Did you know there's a pumpkin shortage this year?! Horror of horrors!!

One coworker asked if there was a story that went with this one and I said, "Funny you should ask. Yes, there is." The original recipe was to be baked in a 12x8 pan. No offense to any fellow sheet cake lovers but I don't find those as pretty and I don't have the decorating capabilities to compensate on the top. Layer cakes are my preference and thus I needed to adjust the bake time accordingly. I knocked down the bake time but still was concerned when the cakes came out darker than a typical white cake. I was afraid the cake would be dry, so I whipped up a glaze to try to add a layer of moisture to the cake. Of course I don't know if the cake would have been dry without it but it was indeed moist!

Pumpkin Cake III with Cream Glaze and Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from

2 cups sugar (don't fill the cups all the way full and save a few calories!)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted)

Preheat oven to 350. Cut parchment paper to fit 3 8-inch round cake pans. Grease pans and paper with butter. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine sugar, applesauce, and oil. Blend in vanilla and pumpkin, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in nuts. Divide batter evenly between 3 cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Vanilla Glaze

3 T. butter
6 T. sugar
3 T. 1/2 and 1/2 or whipping cream
dash of baking soda
splash of vanilla

In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, cream, and soda to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring often, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Spread 1-2 T. on the flat side of the cooled cakes. Let cool completely.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
7 T. butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 T. pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon

Beat cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Mix in pumpkin and cinnamon. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, tasting periodically for desired sweetness.

Frost cake and top with nuts, if desired.


  1. Did you love this cake? Should I make it during my pumpkin project?? It looks yummy!

  2. that looks soo good!
    did you like it?
    Was it too pumpkiny or just right?!?

    I'm thinking about making it :)


  3. Yes to both of you! It was really good. Several people commented that it reminded them of carrot cake with the spices and added nuts. It's a dense, chewy cake, not unlike carrot. The pumpkin flavor is not overpowering at all, allowing the spices to shine.

    Yes, Amanda, I think you should definitely add this to your list for your pumpkin project!

    I hope you both enjoy and be sure to let me know!

  4. I wish it was my birthday! Looks wonderful.

  5. That looks heavenly. I think I just gained 10 lbs. looking at the pictures.

  6. Oh, this sounds so good...I will definitely be making it this fall. And I hadn't heard about a pumpkin shortage!! I remember when that happened a few years ago though, and then it was because of all the rain we had had (I think). Thanks for another delicious sounding recipe!!

  7. Ok, since I'm the sheet cake lover - what was the bake time if you make it that way?


  8. Yummm!!!! I'm having a fall dinner party soon ... this may have to be the festive dessert - pumpkin would definitely be appropriate!