Using some of the pumpkin I cooked and pureed myself, I made this cake for my husband’s birthday. Although the title of the recipe is ordinary this cake is anything but. From the bottom up to the top there is something extraordinary going on. My recipe card for this cake has a smily face sticker on it and the words, “exceptionally good” to remind me of how much we and others like this cake whenever I make it. It is tried and true, and always dependable. One year, several years back, I made it for my husband to take to work for a pot-luck luncheon at Thanksgiving, and ever since I get requests for “that good cake”. One of his co-workers has since ordered one from me each year for Thanksgiving. So I am confident when I say “it will come out good, and you will like it”.
The bottom-most layer of the cake is a crumb crust. The recipe specifies graham cracker crumbs, but we here have an allergic reaction to graham crumbs, so I substituted ginger snap crumbs instead. Now I always make it that way; ginger snaps just seem to go so much better with pumpkin. The cake layer is a pumpkin spice cake, and I have played around with changing some of the quantities and ratios, but it always comes out good. The frosting is a cream cheese frosting. Who doesn’t like that?
The recipe makes a large cake baked in a 15″ x 11″ pan, in which case pieces are more like squares with a crumb crust; or you may use two smaller pans, 1 8″ round, and 1 8″ square and the pieces will be taller and cake like. I really like that aspect. What I usually do is bake the two smaller size cakes, then I have 1 to keep and 1 to give, or 1 to eat and 1 to freeze, you get the idea. OK, enough said, here’s how to make it—–
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs or ginger snap crumbs. One sleeve of ginger snaps, pulsed in a processor makes about 2 cups.
- 7 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix all these together for the base. Press into the bottom of baking pan or pans of choice. Bake 5-6 minutes. Let cool.
- 1 2/3 cups sugar, or I use 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 eggs, or 2 eggs and 1/2 cup egg substitute product
- 1 can pumpkin, or 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
- 1 cup vegetable oil. I use 1/2 cup and it comes out fine.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon, or 2 teasp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
1. Mix the first 4 ingredients together with a whisk.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together: flour through salt
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a whisk. Blend them well, but do not over mix.
4. Pour over the crust.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
6. Cool completely then frost with cream cheese frosting and decorate as desired.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Makes about 2 cups
In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. If the consistency is too stiff, thin with a drizzle of milk or cream. If it is too soft, refrigerate until frosting is spreadable, about 15 minutes.
This is my husband’s half-eaten piece. He couldn’t wait for me to photograph it!