Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

---This post is part of my Canadian Thanksgiving series---

I have to apologize, I failed as a food blogger and didn't manage to get my pumpkin cake recipe posted before Thanksgiving!  But even if you didn't have the opportunity to make this for Thanksgiving, it is still a great all-purpose recipe.  I originally got this recipe after freaking out that my frozen apple crisp was going to be inedible when I reheated it, and therefore I wouldn't have enough dessert (both of which, in hindsight, are ridiculous thoughts - how bad could apple crisp be, really, and even without it we would have had MORE than enough dessert on the table). 

In any case, I was complaining to my friend who offered up this pumpkin cake recipe which could not possibly be easier to make.  It requires one mixing bowl, a 1 cup and a 1 tsp measure, and a mixing instrument.  You seriously can't mess it up, and, while not the most healthy recipe out there, it is simple and tasty.  In the future I'd like to try lightening it up with less sugar, some whole wheat flour, and possibly some applesauce in place of some of the oil - I will let you know how it goes when I do!  But for Thanksgiving, of course, I decided to make it even more decadent by adding some cream cheese frosting, which was absolutely delicious, but not at all necessary to make the cake enjoyable.  As a side note, this frosting is incredibly easy, too.  I will have more info on frosting in a future post (my little munchkin is turning 2 and it's cupcake time!), but in the mean time, please know that it is not difficult to make frosting that is tastier and way more wholesome than anything you can buy in a tub :)

Pumpkin Cake
adapted from a friend

2 cups all purpose flour
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
1 14 oz can pumpkin
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter or spray a bundt pan or 9x13 baking dish.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Bake for approximately 35 minutes until lightly brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting (optional; see recipe below).

Do ahead: This cake was perfect made a few days in advance and frozen, wrapped tightly with foil.  Just defrost at room temperature, frost (if you want), and serve!

Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Sweet + Natural

12 ounces Neufchatel cheese
2-2 1/2 cups unrefined powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Blend ingredients with an electric hand mixer until smooth, starting with 2 cups of sugar and adding more as needed to get to your desired sweetness level.  Note that you do NOT have to soften the cheese, it works just fine straight from the fridge.

Do ahead: The frosting holds up perfectly made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated with a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the frosting.  If you have a sturdy bowl with a lid, even better - just mix it up in that bowl, throw some plastic wrap on before putting on the lid, and refrigerate until you're ready to use!

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