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Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake
“Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.” – Linus
It’s the night before Halloween and I’ve finally finished sewing the kids’ costumes (he a knight in shining armor, she a medieval damsel in distress). The dinner dishes have been cleared and the pumpkin takes center stage on the countertop, ready for carving. Will it be a funny face? Or a scary face this year? Dad helps bridge a compromise (and carve the pumpkin) after much arguing, and the jack o’lantern is set on the stoop outdoors, while the salted seeds roast in the oven. They’re done just in time to munch while watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on TV – a tradition we’d no sooner miss than skip trick or treating.
Yes, it’s the night before Halloween, but for years now, there have been no costumes to stitch, no arguments about what to carve on the pumpkin. And I’m watching TV alone while Linus waits in vain for the Great Pumpkin. Somehow it feels like shouting in a vacuum.
The years have flown by faster than Snoopy’s dogfight with the Red Baron and nostalgia could threaten to take me down. But no, I’m remembering the good times, and remembering that while there is no pumpkin on the counter to be carved, there is a pumpkin spice cake that is calling my name.
And a darned good one too, even if it’s not a great looker. It’s baked in a plain Jane rectangular pan, with a cream cheese frosting sprinkled with nuts. The kind of thing you’d find at a bake sale – or in my kitchen tonight.
It doesn’t make the pretty statement like the circular pumpkin coffee cake I made earlier in the week to serve to my Italian chit-chat group (photo below), but the rectangular recipe tastes a whole lot better.  If you really want the recipe for this one, email me and I’ll send it to you, but once you’ve tried the pumpkin spice cake, you won’t want any other.
Don’t get me wrong – the crumb-topped pumpkin coffee cake was good, but not nearly as moist and tender as I wanted.
 So more “research” was in order. That’s when I found this recipe on Mary’s blog, “One Perfect Bite.” As Mary states on her post, the recipe is a gem of simplicity and feeds a lot of people. She was so right. But even more importantly, it tastes terrific. I know I’ll be making this one again and again now that pumpkin season is here.
And even though the knight and damsel are not here to share it with me, I’ll follow Linus’ suggestion and be “most sincere” as I savor every bite.
Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin-Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

printable recipe here
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raisins, if desired
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desiredDirections:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with cooking spray.
2) Combine eggs, granulated sugar, oil and pumpkin in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Stir in raisins if using. Spread in pan.
3) Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
4) In medium bowl, combine and beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Spread frosting over cake. Sprinkle with walnuts. Cut to desired size. Store covered in refrigerator.

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. I had to smile – I will be posting one of Mary's Pumpkin cakes…. one of these days. The post really moved me. Memories of putting together costumes…. the roasting of the pumpkin seeds that I did last night and always had ready for chilly kids when they returned home (with warm cider also simmering on the stove). A little bittersweet – but mostly sweet that I was able to have those Halloweens. I know the cake is delicious – between you and Mary – how could it fail?

  2. Shouting into a vacuum – a metaphor for the years going by if ever there was one. I bet your family spent many a Happy Halloween carving pumpkins, selecting and making costumes and bracing for the chilly, blustery air to be confronted on a night of Trick or Treating. I love seeing the shot of your kids, and thanks for the memories

    pumpkin cakes are so good, and it surely is the season now. I've got to try this. Bart loves pumpkin flavored treats, and I'm sure he'll flip for this one.

  3. Mary's recipes are always good, and this looks beautiful!

    We all love pumpkin cake! I have a recipe I've used for years and years–I found it on a brochure fro a pumpkin farm we used to visit in Long Island when our children were young. It has no frosting, and I make in a pan that makes 12 mini "loafs." I make about 36 at a time! It would not be Thanksgiving without them, as I bag up a few for everyone to take home for breakfast the next day.

  4. Funny, if I had to choose just from the looks, I'd go with the crumb topping. Either way, I'm sure it's delicious. As I read this post with my morning coffee, I'm wanting a piece right now!

  5. Oh, I love this post Linda, I don't know how I missed it! Those were the days, it's amazing how fast time goes by but all those memories are the best. I'm excited to try this pumpkin cake and I'm going to pull out my plan Jane rectangular pan like you.

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