Nov 20, 2007


I'd cut up and cooked our Halloween pumpkin (it hadn't been carved, just used as a porch decoration, so it was still good and firm), and got 8 bags of (2 cups each) pumpkin puree for the freezer. I was going to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but decided I wanted to do some real baking (pies are too easy!), and went looking on the Internet for some good pumpkin recipes. I found a wonderful web site I'd never been to: and found a recipe for a carrot cake (which we love) that incorporated pumpkin. I baked it this afternoon, along with 6 cupcakes (so the cake would actually be UNcut on Thanksgiving Day!), and it is WONDERFUL. I especially like the hint of orange flavor to the cream cheese frosting. Of course, you can use canned pumpkin in place of fresh. This cake would be very suitable for any occassion. It's rich and a bit more dense than a standard cake, with nice small chunks of nuts, carrots and pineapple. I think the only change I would make if I bake it again would be to add about 1/2 cup of raisins and just a hint (1/4 tsp.) of cloves.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup (about 3 medium) carrots, grated
1 cup coconut, flaked
1 1/4 cups nuts, chopped, divided
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Directions:PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease two 9-inch-round cake pans.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl.
Combine milk and lemon juice in liquid measuring cup (mixture will appear curdled).
BEAT eggs, pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, pineapple, carrots and milk mixture in large mixer bowl; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Stir in coconut and 1 cup nuts. Pour into prepared cake pans.
BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
FROST between layers, on sides and top of cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Garnish with remaining nuts. Store in refrigerator.

FOR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:COMBINE 11 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup softened butter and 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons orange juice and 1 teaspoon grated orange peel; beat until combined.

I also baked an apple pie for dinner. I used a combination of granny smith and braeburn apples. The granny smith have the tart taste I like in an apple, and the braeburn has a milder flavor but more juice. I'd prefer to have a fresh New England macintosh, but they're not available here, so I have to do with what I have! Tried to post a picture of the completed pie, but Blogger doesn't want me to.

So I've gotten a lot done today, more to do tomorrow but it's mostly quick cleaning and general straightening and picking up, so that won't be too bad. We have to work our Thanksgiving dinner schedule around Brayden's nap, so we won't eat until 3pm or so on Thursday, so I'll have Thursday morning to get more prep work done.

Now if only JJ and Lisa could be here with us, it would be a wonderful holiday!

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