December 3, 2009

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

Thanksgiving is Ryan's favorite holiday. He says, "you get to hang out with family, eat, drink, and not be stressed out about presents." After I heard that, I realized Thanksgiving is... well... a really good holiday. I don't give up presents THAT easily. Anyway, this year we joined my family for Thanksgiving dinner and headed to Ryan's family for dessert. I wanted to join in the fiasco that can ensue when making dinner for a crowd, so I brought stuffing to dinner, pumpkin cake to dessert, and a drink to share for both. The stuffing turned out fantastic, but didn't last long enough for a picture. Pumpkin cake, however, was made hours ahead so I have a great shot to share with this recipe. Oh, the recipe is pretty great (really great)! It's adapted from a recipe in the November 2009 issue of Cooking Light, so it's healthy too! Enjoy!

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1- 15oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
Cooking spray

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1- 8oz package cream cheese
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (add up to 2 cups if you like sweet frosting)

Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

Measure flour by lightly spooning into measuring cup. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine ingredients.

In a large bowl (or your mixer bowl), combine brown sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time to the sugar mixture, beat well after each egg. Add pumpkin and mix well. Fold in the flour mixture- click here for a video on folding ingredients from Expert Village. Spread in a 9x13 cake pan coated with cooking spray. This mixture will be a lot thicker than a cake and will need to spread out into the pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean- about 25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: combine cream cheese and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer at medium speed. Gradually add in the powdered sugar until combined. Taste test after 1 1/4 cups sugar and add more sugar if desired. Spread over the cooled cake. Try not to eat too many at one sitting!

- Folding ingredients incorporates air in the mixture. Using a mixer does the opposite, so avoid 'mixing' for this recipe.
- No nutmeg or cloves? Omit them. Cinnamon is still a must!

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