Out of my gourd: Peek-A-Boo Pumpkin Cake

peek a boo collage USE

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I’m really excited about sharing this recipe with you because it’s easy to make, tastes great, and looks so darn cute.  That’s right, folks, I’m about as easy to please as a gal can get.  How easy am I to please? Well, I do not like diamonds (except the black ones), cut flowers, or shoes that are so expensive I’m afraid to get them dirty.  I love 93 cent bottles of fingernail polish, shopping at Dollar Tree, borrowing books, movies and CDs from my local library, cooking (but not necessarily eating it), crafts made out of goofy things like rubber bands and pizza boxes, and laughing until my abs hurt.  I know that probably makes you think that my husband is lucky because my tastes are cheap and he gets to hog all the goodies I make, and he would agree with you up to a point.  Then he would note that when he’s in the doghouse or when there is reason for him to get me an expensive-ish personal gift, shopping for me becomes a giant pain in the ass.  I think this is where I’m supposed to interject something along the lines of my love for giving gifts outweighs my love of getting them, but c’mon.  I said I’m cheap and easy to please, not a fictitious character on a made-for-TV Christmas special.

whatsinaname

While we’re on the subject of me, I’m sort of ridiculous when it comes to calling things what they are.  In other words, semantics have a knack of getting under my skin.  For example, I hate it that we call Boston Cream Pie, “Boston Cream Pie”.  It’s not a pie.  It is two layers of sponge cake with some kind of pudding, cream or custard in between the layers.  Pies are cooked in a pie pan and they have pie crusts, they are not made with cake mix and cooked in a cake pan.  I argue this point with the family at least once a year.  However, this year I’m more prepared for that argument, because I noticed about a week ago that both Wal-Mart and Kroger are selling these misnomers in their bakeries and labeling them “Boston Cream Cake”.  All I can say is:  It’s about damn time.  That being said, let’s talk semantics as they relate to this particular recipe.  Technically this is not pumpkin cake.  True, it has pumpkin in it and it also has cake in it, but the cake itself isn’t pumpkin flavored.  The Peek A Boo Pumpkin cake is actually pumpkin bread surrounded by a simple, and simply delicious, butter cake.  Technically I should call this recipe a “Peek-A-Boo Pumpkin Bread & Butter Cake”.  Well whatta ya know?  I kind of like that name better anyway.

Behold the loaf!

Behold the loaf!

I posted the recipe/directions for making the pumpkin bread last week, and I’ve also listed it below because I hate have to play internet hop scotch just to get all the information needed to cook one dish.  However, if you’d like to see the original post and all the pictures, you can jump to it by clicking HERE.

pumpkin bread collage USE

Please keep in mind that recipe makes three loaves of pumpkin bread.  I like to believe that’s because one loaf is just not enough.  Don’t sweat that amount though, pumpkin bread is like a fine wine or expensive cheese; it gets better with age.  However, there is a limit to that.  I’ve found the sweet spot for pumpkin bread is between day 3 and 4 (if it makes it that long, that is).  That’s a plus for me, because I often have huge ambition to make something “fancy”, but after I get halfway through it I’m over that ambition and don’t feel like finishing what I started.  I suffer through it because I believe making my family smell such deliciousness only to tell them “I scrapped it because I didn’t feel like finishing it” would either give them a reason to commit justifiable homicide OR have me investigated for undue torture and/or neglect.  This recipe allows me to make the pumpkin bread one day, cut out the shapes the next day, and finish it off on day three.  Plus, I can cover up my laziness with the Google-able excuse:   The final product will taste better if the pumpkin bread sits for a few days.  (NOTE:  In case your mind is an inquiring as mine, I’ve tried leaving one loaf on the counter for a few days and another in the refrigerator just to see which way makes it taste the best.  If you like an all around moist bread, wrap it up in plastic wraps and slap that baby in the fridge.  If you like bread with a “crunchy” crust while maintaining a moist center, then wrap it loosely in aluminum foil and keep it on the counter.  If you’re like me, how you like it depends on how you are going to eat it.  If I’m just going to eat the loaf as it is, I like it moist both inside and out.  If I’m going to glaze it or add any kind of liquid to the top, I like a crunchier crust.  If I’m making a peek-a-boo cake out of it, then moistness is a requirement since it is going to have cake batter poured around it and baked again.  The pumpkin bread will naturally dry out a bit during this second baking process, so the more moist it is going into the oven the more moist it will be coming out of it.  Capisce?

Just like mom

Both the bread and the cake are so easy to make this would be a great recipe to test the “made from scratch” waters, especially since the presentation is as amazing as the taste.  Many of my fellow kitchen warriors will agree, these two things are the Holy Grail when it comes to making stuff from scratch.  We want something that tastes homemade but looks like it just came out of a Food Network showroom.  This little number will seem just that.  I gotta warn you, be prepared to answer “Did you REALLY make this from scratch?” about 10,000 times, as well as being the subject of more than one behind your back conversation where your friends and loved ones will discuss how you could lie to them about making something from scratch when it was obviously made by a professional baker/chef.  As my mom always says, “If they talk about you they are leaving someone else alone”, so let that stuff roll off your shoulders while you pat yourself on the back for finally upstaging your in-laws.

at-lazy

I’m not oblivious to the fact that this is the busiest time of the year and you are lucky to have a moment to go to the bathroom, let alone bake pumpkin bread inside of a cake.  Not to worry!  I’m sympathetic to my brothers and sisters in the kitchen whose busy lives require more of a semi-homemade approach. You can seriously cut out a lot of time and effort if you purchased a pre-made pumpkin bread loaf from your local supermarket or bakery (Emerson’s makes a fabulous pumpkin bread.  You can find it for under $5.00 at your local superstore grouped with other Emerson goodies like donuts, coffee cakes, etc).  You’ll have to bake at least one thing:  the cake surrounding the bread; but a box of your favorite yellow cake mix blended with a 12oz can of a lightly flavored soda (think white sodas.  Any soda will work, but please remember stronger tasting sodas will slightly alter the taste of the cake.  I’ve found these sodas go well with pumpkin when mixed with yellow cake mix:  ginger ale, Dr. Pepper, Root Beer and similar “spicy” sodas).  Soda + store bought cake mix = not requiring eggs, oil, water or any other ingredients beyond the cake mix itself.  I’ve found that soda cakes seem more moist and flavorful than using the recipe printed on the back of the cake box.  Plus making cakes this way can have you baking in just a matter of minutes, and can help you shave off a bit of the dreaded calories and fat by using diet or other sugar free sodas.  Purchasing pre-made icing/frosting is another way to save on time and dirty dishes.  For the record, the cake I made for this article is made entirely from scratch, from the pumpkin bread to the marshmallow fluff glaze.  No, I didn’t make it from scratch to impress anyone.  My reason was much less complex:  I didn’t want to go to the store because that would mean I would have to put on a bra, and once my bra has been removed for the day, not even an act of God can convince me to put it back on.  If it didn’t take any effort, I probably would be impressed at the dedication I put into being lazy.

slice on plate

Hope you enjoy this scrumptdeeleeumptious dessert! Take care and be sure to revisit us often to see what pumpkin item featured next!  (Hint:  Think pumpkin, caramel, and cream cheese.  Now try to contain your excitement).

Yours ‘til the kitchen sinks,

Steph

 What you’ll be needing:

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

1 (15) oz can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2/3 cup water

1 ½ cups white sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (can sub wheat smelt, if you prefer)

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp vanilla extract

Yellow Butter Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

2 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 TBSP baking powder

¾ tsp salt

1 & ½ cups white sugar

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

2 eggs

1 & ½ cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

STEP 1:  MAKE THE PUMPKIN BREAD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three  7×3 inch loaf pans.  You will only need 1 loaf for this dish, so if you want to scale down the recipe so that you only make 1 loaf, go for it!
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and cloves. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Add vanilla and mix well.  Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let loaf cool in the pan 15 minutes before transferring it to the refrigerator for at least 30 additional minutes.  This is to speed up the cooling process in case you need to serve this dessert the same day you make it.  However, you could make this a day or so ahead of time.

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4.  Once the pumpkin bread is cooled, remove it from the loaf pan and slice it into 1 inch thick slices.  Using either a cookie cutter or by hand with a knife, cut pumpkin shapes out of the bread and place them upright in a greased loaf pan and set aside.

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STEP 2:  PREPARE THE CAKE BATTER

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Add the applesauce and mix until it is fully incorporated with the dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk and vanilla.  Beat on low speed for a minute followed by high speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter around pumpkin cut outs in the loaf pan, but be careful not to fill it too full, or it will spill over the edges of the pan as it bakes.  Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Who could guess there are pumpkins in there?

Who could guess there are pumpkins in there?

 

  1. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes and then drizzle the marshmallow fluff glaze or frosting over the top (see recipe below for both glaze and frosting).  Slice and serve.

Marshmallow Glaze

1 cup marshmallow Fluff
2 tablespoons boiling water

Mix the two ingredients together until it is thin and “drizzle-able”.

Marshmallow Frosting

1 cup butter (at room temperature)

1-7oz jar of Marshmallow Fluff

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and well mixed.  Mix in the fluff and vanilla.  Unless you have an industrial mixer, do that by hand.  The fluff is kind of stiff and it may burn your mixer’s motor out, especially if you are using a hand held mixer.

I didn't have a pumpkin cookie cutter, but pumpkins are very easy to cut out by hand.

I didn’t have a pumpkin cookie cutter, but pumpkins are very easy to cut out by hand.

NOTE:  If you would like the pumpkin to be more orange, simply add orange food coloring to the pumpkin bread mix before baking it.

Yours ‘til the Hershey’s Kiss,

Steph

MILB

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