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Archive for the ‘cakes’ Category

I hope you all had a great July 4th weekend. We spent the entire Saturday at Great America, and another day in the sun at a barbecue with friends. And then there was time with family to round out the three-day weekend.

It’s been almost a couple of days, but I’m still recovering. I didn’t even want to write this post, but J said that he would punch me in the face if I didn’t. I kid, people. I kid. We like to joke around like that.

Here’s a joke for you (warning – it may or may not be funny): “What’s black and blue and creamy all over?”

A: “Someone who gets punched in the face with a cheesecake.”

Ha ha! Okay, maybe not. (Is it even physically possible to throw a punch and a cheesecake at the same time? This must be a two-handed exercise.)

The real answer to “what’s black and blue and creamy all over” is this blackberry and blueberry cheesecake.  J said it would be a shame if I waited until next year’s berry season to write about this cheesecake (I was trying to hold off until then. I am that lazy…I mean, um, tired.) So, here it is.

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This cheesecake is a plain (vanilla) cheesecake topped with blueberry syrup, fresh blackberries, and blueberries. My original intent was to make a cheesecake with only fresh blackberries, but I thought a little something more was needed to hold the blackberries and cheesecake together. I had frozen blueberries on hand, so I cooked the juice of a large handful of blueberries down to a syrup. The top of the cheesecake was coated with blueberry syrup, and piled high with fresh blackberries. And then, to tie it altogether, some blueberries were dribbled on as well.

The black and blue cheesecake was a huge success with the family. It also passed the test of a ten-year-old who, without a doubt, knows his desserts. He didn’t eat much lunch that day, but interestingly enough, he did have room for two large helpings of cheesecake.


Graham Cracker Crust

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted (you can also use less than 1/2 cup; it should work)
15-16 cinnamon graham crackers from Trader Joe’s

First, take a 10 inch springform pan and wrap the bottom tightly with foil. (The pans are not leak-proof.) Place graham crackers in a large ziplock bag, and crush the crackers to a crumb by using a rolling and pressing with a large rolling pin. Press crumbs onto the bottom of the springform pan to form a tightly packed, smooth and even layer of crumbs. (Recipes I’ve come across call for baking the crust before adding the cheesecake filling, but I accidentally skipped this step and all was well).

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Creamy Cheesecake

3 – 8 oz package cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
3 tbsp flour
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix first seven ingredients together, beating on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the flour and beat until incorporated. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is just blended together. Pour mixture on top of the graham cracker crust and gently tap the pan on the counter top to ease out the bigger bubbles in the batter. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes at 350°F. Turn off the oven and allow for cheesecake to slowly cool in the oven. (If the cheesecake cools too quickly, cracks will form as it shrinks and pulls away from the sides of the pan.) Leave the cheesecake in the oven for about an hour before pulling it out. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature. At this point, you can either refrigerate the cheesecake overnight and serve it the next day, or you can chill it just so that it is firm enough to withstand the weight of the berry topping.

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Black and Blue berry topping

2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
squeeze of lemon juice
12 oz fresh blackberries

Make the blueberry syrup. Mash 1-1/2 cup of the thawed blueberries through a strainer over a bowl, using a spoon/spatula. The blueberry skins should be left in the strainer. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the resulting blueberry juice and heat over medium-high heat until a thick (but not too thick) syrup forms. Allow syrup to cool (the syrup will also thicken as it cools).

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Carefully unmold the cheesecake from the pan. Spread blueberry syrup on top of the cheesecake. Pile on the fresh blackberries, and sprinkle on the remaining thawed blueberries (use fresh blueberries if you have them). Keep chilled until ready to serve.

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Forgive me if the title of this blog post is a little misleading. This post isn’t really about a recipe for sweet biscuits layered with whipped cream and strawberries. It’s about strawberry cupcakes, which I suppose isn’t too far off, since there’s cake and strawberries involved.

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No, it wasn’t the similarity in ingredients that led me to think of strawberry shortcake. Actually, the world of Strawberry Shortcake came to mind when I made these cupcakes — the world of Strawberryland, where Strawberry Shortcake lives in her strawberry shortcake house, lunches on cake with friends, and tends her strawberry gardens. The Strawberry Shortcake cartoon specials aired even before I could start remembering these things, but I do recall playing with the dolls. I even had a plastic doll of the Peculiar Purple Pie Man, the villain of Strawberryland. Come to think of it, I would contort him into the most awkward positions.

Anyway. I should get back to the cupcakes.

The base for these cupcakes, a moist white cake, was transformed into a strawberry cake with the incorporation of a concentrated puree of strawberries. The original white cake recipe was modified using some odd calculations I had made to balance the amount of oil and liquid in the cake batter.

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The cupcakes came out a perfect blush pink and were full of strawberry flavor. As Strawberry Shortcake would say, they were “berry” delicious. Nestling a strawberry half into the frosting of each cupcake, I imagined the happy land of strawberries and sweets, and houses made of pies and cakes.

Can you imagine living in a house made of cake? I would love that.

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Strawberry Puree

This “puree” is made without a blender. In a pot, slowly mash one pound of frozen strawberries (thawed or not) with a spatula over medium-low heat. The resulting puree makes up about 1-1/3 to 1-1/2 cups. Cook the strawberry puree further. This reduces the volume of liquid in the puree, allowing for easier adaptation of the white cake recipe. [It took about 15 to 20 minutes to reduce the volume to about one-half (3/4 cup), although I was pretty bad about recording how much time it took. It takes some time, so be patient.] 1/2 cup of this concentrated puree is then added to the cake batter. (You can make use of the leftover portion by making dessert with it. Mix it into some vanilla ice cream to get a great-tasting strawberry ice cream.)

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Strawberry Cake
Adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated white cake recipe
Makes 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch round cake.

2-1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup reduced fat milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature (If you have frozen egg whites, you can use these as well. It is recommended to keep frozen egg whites in the freezer for no longer than a couple of weeks, but mine had been frozen for at least a couple of months, and they worked just fine for this purpose. As a note, 4 of the 6 egg whites I used were previously frozen.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), softened but still cool
1/2 cup concentrated strawberry puree

1. Set oven rack in middle position. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place cupcake liners in tins.
2. Pour milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract into a bowl large enough to fit 2 cups, and mix with fork until blended.
3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder at a low speed. Add butter. Continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs.
4. Add half of the milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for about a minute and a half.
5. To the remaining half of the milk mixture, add the concentrated strawberry puree and mix with a whisk until homogenous. Add this to the batter and beat for 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.
6. Spoon batter into prepared tins, 2/3 to 3/4 full. The volume of batter should be the perfect amount for 24 cupcakes. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean, rotating three-quarters of the way through. (My cupcakes were ready by 22 minutes.)
7. Let cupcakes rest in pans for 3 minutes before taking them out of the tins. Let cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Cream Cheese Frosting
(Feel free to reduce this recipe by 1/3. Making the full amount will give you lots of leftover frosting, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.)

1/2 cup (1 stick butter), room temperature
2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and cream cheese together on high for about 30 seconds until soft.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing at low speed to incorporate.
3. Add vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.

Assembly

After the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe on the frosting. I used a round tip, continually piping the frosting onto the center of the cupcake and keeping the tip submerged in the frosting to let the frosting ooze and creep out to the sides of the cupcake. I also used the tip (no pressure applied) to flatten out the blob of frosting, in one swirly motion.

Wash and dry 12 fresh strawberries. Keeping the stems attached, slice each strawberry in half, from head to toe. Blot cut ends on a paper towel and place one strawberry half on top of each cupcake, slightly pressing the strawberry into the frosting.

If you wish to make these in advance, add the fresh strawberries just before you are ready to serve the cupcakes. Cupcakes should keep for a few days, refrigerated in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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It was J’s birthday on Thursday. I took him out for some grilled sausages and beer. You might be thinking, “Now that’s a great pair, sausage and beer. There’s probably not a finer duo.” Well, stick around for dessert.

I made him a gigantic cake, too.

J loves chocolate. He also loves coffee. So, I brought his two loves together by making him a chocolate-coffee layer cake.

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I’ve made this chocolate layer cake several times before. The cake layers are dense, rich, and moist. It’s chocolate upon chocolate, with a touch of coffee to add depth. Chocolate ganache enrobes the cake, adding to its decadence. This time around, I made a variation of the cake by sandwiching coffee mousse between its layers.

Making this cake takes a little bit of efficiency if you don’t want to spend all day on it. After placing the cake layers into the oven to bake, you can begin preparing the coffee mousse. While you wait for the cake layers to cool and for the coffee mousse to firm up in the fridge, you can whip up the chocolate ganache. When all the elements are ready, bring them together to create your own chocolate and coffee masterpiece. This recipe makes a mountain of a cake, so be sure to have many cake-hungry mouths around when you’re done.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake
adapted from here

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cake layers

two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans (I used 9-inch pans, so my cakes were much taller)
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1-1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process) – Here, I differed from the original recipe. I think it is more important to use a high quality cocoa powder than 3 oz of high quality chocolate, since the cocoa powder makes up most of the chocolate in the cake layers.
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1-1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300°F. and butter the bottom and sides of the pans. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and butter the paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

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coffee mousse
adapted from here

1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp concentrated coffee (I used a French press, adding more coffee grounds than I normally would. I also included 1-2 tsp of the post-brew coffee grounds for taste and for visual appeal)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream

In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over the coffee/coffee grounds and let it soften for 2 minutes. Add the milk and the heat the mixture over moderate heat while stirring. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and set the pan in a bowl of ice and cold water, stirring the mixture every few minutes until it is thick and cold. In a small bowl beat the cream until it just holds stiff peaks and fold the coffee mixture into it gently but thoroughly. Chill until set and spread onto bottom cake layer.
Note: This made a thin layer of mousse, which was perfect for a two-layer cake. Having more mousse would have caused it to leak out of the cake layers. But if you wish for more mousse, I would double the recipe and split the cakes into a total of four layers (it would help to freeze the cakes beforehand), spreading the mousse in between each layer.

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ganache frosting

1 pound bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Finely chop chocolate. In a 1-1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).

Spread frosting over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

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Hmm. I think I see a pattern here.

I must really love lemons.

I was waffling between making a lemon meringue pie or a lemon cake for dessert one day, and thought to myself, “Why not have both? Surely, there must be such a thing as lemon meringue cake.” And it looks like I was right.

Courtesy of Nigella Lawson, I present to you the lemon meringue cake.

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This cake’s got personality. It’s upside-down, it’s right-side-up. It billows like a cloud and oozes with delight. At its surface are turbulent waves; at its center, sunshine.

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You start by making two lemon cake layers, spread thin onto the bottom of each lined cake pan. Then, you top the layer off with a fluffy meringue, one decorated with peaks and one without. Bake. After these meringue cakes are cool and ready, turn the undecorated layer up on its head, onto the cake platter. Slather on some lemon curd (see lemon curd recipe from a previous post), and then some whipped cream. Top with remaining meringue cake. What you have now is pure whimsy and deliciousness, crisp at the edges.

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Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Meringue Cake
adapted from here (measuring units converted)

1/2 cup (1 stick) soft unsalted butter (left to soften at room temperature)
4 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar (original recipe calls for caster sugar, which is a finer sugar)
3/4 cup flour
1-3/4 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
zest of 1 lemon
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup whipping cream (I only had 1/2 cup on hand, so ended up with less whipped cream than desired)
2/3 cup quality lemon curd

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line and butter two 8 to 9 inch cake pans.
2. Whisk egg yolks, 1/2 cup of sugar, butter, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest. Mix in the lemon juice and milk.
4. Divide the mixture between the prepared pans. You will think you don’t even have enough to cover the bottom of the tins, but don’t panic. Spread calmly with a rubber spatula until smooth.
5. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form and then slowly whisk in remaining 1 cup of sugar. Divide the beaten whites between the two sponge-filled tins, pouring or, more accurately, spreading the meringue straight on top of the cake batter.
6. Smooth one flat with a spatula, and with the back of a spoon, peak the other and sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the peaks. Put the pans into the oven for 20–25 minutes.
7. With a cake-tester, pierce the cake that has the flat meringue topping to check it’s cooked all through. (It will have risen now but will fall back flattish later.) No sponge mixture should stick to the tester. Remove both cakes to a wire rack and let them cool completely in their pans.
8. Unmold the flat-topped one on to a cake stand or plate, meringue side down.
9. Beat the whipping cream until thick but not stiff and set aside. Spread lemon curd onto the flat sponge surface of the first (upside-down) cake, and then spread whipped cream over the curd. Top with the remaining cake, with peaked meringue facing up.

Note: This cake is best eaten the same day. The meringue flattens out over time, and tends to get a little soggy.

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We discovered lemon pudding cake on our six month wedding celebration (you can gag all you want, but yes, we do celebrate monthly). After just finishing a filling dinner at a restaurant, we were presented with the dessert menu. The Meyer lemon pudding cake cried out to us. Pudding cake? Why, I’ve never heard of it. Well, the English do call cake “pudding.” Could it be cake-cake? How redundant! Would it be like bread pudding, then? But instead of bread, there’s cake?

When the dessert was brought to the table, it took us about, oh, thirty seconds to wipe the plate clean. It was a layer of pudding sitting on top of a soft, light cake with an ever-so-thin crust on the bottom — warm, and served with a honey-lavender cream and a slightly candied slice of clementine. Oh, it was heaven. Why lemon pudding cake and I have not met sooner, I do not know.

Since you all know me by now, you can guess that I was aching to have a couple more servings of this lemon pudding cake in the following weeks. And true to my form, I found the perfect recipe online. (Disclosure: I made a batch and had three of the cakes.* So did J. The last two went into two other mouths.)

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These cakes are cooked in a bain-marie, otherwise known as a water bath, so that the pudding layer does not cook too quickly and stays creamy. Take care not to burn yourself with scalding hot water going in and out of the oven! With the whipped egg whites, the cake layer is kind of like a soufflé — you can watch the cakes rise in the oven, forming a dome above the height of the ramekins. The top is browned, creating that thin crust on which the pudding cake sits. After the cakes are out of the oven, take them out of their water baths and allow them to cool completely before inverting onto plates. Serve with honey whipped cream (see below) and decorate with lemon or orange zest.

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Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes with Honey Whipped Cream (adapted from here)
Serves 8.

1/3 cup(s) sugar
1/4 cup(s) sugar, plus additional for ramekins
1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
2-3 Meyer lemons (I used 4 smaller ones)
3 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 cup reduced-fat milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease eight 4- to 5-ounce ramekins; sprinkle with sugar to coat bottoms and sides. Shake out any excess.
2. On sheet of waxed paper, with fork, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt. From lemons, grate 1 1/2 tablespoons peel and squeeze 1/2 cup juice. In large bowl, with wire whisk, beat egg yolks and lemon peel and juice. Whisk in butter and milk. Gradually whisk in flour mixture.
3. In another large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add one-third beaten whites to yolk mixture and, with rubber spatula, stir gently until incorporated. Gently fold in remaining whites until just incorporated. With ladle, divide batter evenly among prepared ramekins.
5. Arrange ramekins 1 inch apart in large (17-inch by 13-inch) roasting pan. (I used a 9×13 glass dish and a square glass dish.) Fill pan with enough hot water to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully transfer pan to oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cakes are golden brown and tops rise 1/2 inch above rims.
6. Cool cakes in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. With sturdy metal spatula, carefully remove ramekins from pan with water and transfer to wire rack to cool 15 minutes longer. (The cakes will deflate a bit and shrink from the edges.)
7. Run thin knife around edge of 1 ramekin. Place small serving plate on top of ramekin and invert plate and ramekin together; remove ramekin. Repeat with remaining ramekins. Garnish each cake with some honey whipped cream and lemon or orange zest.
Note – if you don’t get to eating all of the cakes at once, you can cover and refrigerate them in their ramekins. To serve, simply warm the cakes in the oven before serving. I have also noticed that the oven-warmed refrigerated cakes take on a cleaner form post-inversion.


Honey Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp honey

Whip cream on high until soft peaks are almost formed. Add honey, and whip a little bit more on a lower speed to get a soft whipped cream. (I over whipped my cream, as you can see in the pictures).

*No, not all at once! That would be crazy, even for me.

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10

Our nephew C turned 10 recently.

At his birthday party, we went on a scavenger hunt. Captain Red Beard’s booty was up for grabs (no, not that kind of booty), and we had to find it.

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map: ‘X’ marks the spot

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on the hunt for more clues

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revealing the secret message: location of the hidden treasure

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Afterwards, we jumped up and down in the bouncy castle until we were out of breath. The kids really took a liking to dog piling J.

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We had cake, too. I made a chocolate cake (recipe here) with an Oreo* cream filling.

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The cream filling was made with seven minute frosting mixed with chopped cookies.

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The cake was covered in chocolate frosting (seven minute frosting with melted chocolate folded in).

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I screwed up the seven minute frosting, because the fluffy marshmallow-like meringue crystallized after some time, making both the frosting and filling sugary in texture. This made me panic a little as I was frosting the cake, but I was able to hide most imperfections with cookies and vanilla buttercream flowers. Not the prettiest cake, but at least it was tasty!

blowing out the candles

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* I used copycat Oreos from Whole Foods. These guys are made with natural ingredients, but sadly, calling them “365 chocolate sandwich cookies” just doesn’t sound right.

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When the holidays come too early by showing up in the stores immediately after Halloween, you can say that we become Grinches, snarling at the loud decorations and getting more and more annoyed by the second at the mechanical Santa Claus doing his belly jiggle dance. But we have fully embraced the holidays now that they’re here. J and I like to sit in front of the small Christmas tree we picked up from a neighborhood tree lot and watch its glowing lights every night before we go to bed. While we sit there, we cut out paper tree decorations and listen to the holiday music playing on the radio — songs that we’ve heard and sung along to year after year. Now, we belt along in our loudest singing voices together (without disturbing our neighbor, of course). Somehow, this being our very first Christmas together makes this season all the more special to us.

We have been working on our Christmas tree decorations for more than a week now. The first thing we did was buy a short string of lights, but that happened to cover only a third of our tree. Severe underestimation. We exchanged the strand for a longer one, and all was well. Then we created a paper chain garland, which required a lot of cutting and taping, and at least several days. Now that the garland is finished, we are cutting out paper snowflakes for our ornaments. More pictures to come soon!

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For the past few nights, our tree-decorating madness has been accompanied by this madly delicious and moist pumpkin cake. This cake contains crushed pineapple and coconut flakes, which do wonders to subtly flavor the cake and give it texture. And the spices and pumpkin are perfect for the season. I left out the currants because I didn’t have any at home, but it still turned out wonderfully. Instead of the suggested cream cheese frosting, I used a batch of leftover cream cheese frosting I had sitting in the freezer. (Cream cheese frosting freezes extremely well, in case you were wondering.)

Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Epicurious | November 2009
by Diane Morgan
The New Thanksgiving Table

Cake
Butter for coating cake pans, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
1 cup lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cup canned crushed pineapple (do not drain)
1/3 cup dried currants

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canned unsweetened pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch sides. Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper. Sprinkle the pans with flour, tap the pans to evenly distribute the flour, and then shake off the excess flour. Set aside.

To make the cake, in a large bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, and vanilla. In another medium bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, coconut, crushed pineapple, and currants.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add the pumpkin mixture and stir just until combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, spreading it evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around the edge of the pans to loosen the cakes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely before frosting the cakes.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for about 3 minutes until smooth. Add the butter and beat for about 2 minutes until combined. Add the pumpkin purée and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat for about 3 minutes until fluffy.

Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or platter. Using an offset spatula, spread half of the frosting over the top of the first cake layer. Spread the frosting right to the edge of the top without frosting the sides of the cake. Carefully place the second cake on top, lining up the edges. Spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake without frosting the sides. Swirl the frosting to decorate the top. Refrigerate the cake to set the frosting. Remove from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before serving.

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