Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pumpkin Bake Off

Thanksgiving came and went, but my love for pumpkin spice lives on.  Thankfully, Christmas with my family often features pumpkin pie as well, so I know I have one more precious month to capitalize on this delicious season.  Being at home in Orange County for the holiday gave me a lot of alone time.  What is a girl to do when her TH is working and all the housework is done?  Throw on her autumn apron and get baking!


Thanks Thriving Mommy for this great seasonal vintage apron!
I had three goals for my baking party.  First on my list was a box-made pumpkin cake (don't judge please) topped with home made cream cheese frosting as well as some caramel I was planning to whip up. Next, was a pumpkin ice cream pie, also topped with caramel.  Lastly, my annual, double pumpkin cheesecake.  Seemed easy enough to do, so I turned on my Rat Pack radio station and got started!


I threw together the pumpkin cake mix, greased my pie pans and threw them in the oven.  This double layer cutie was going to be great!


With the cakes in the oven, I made the cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar



First, I let the cream cheese and butter sit for a bit to soften.



Then, add the vanilla and mix until fluffy.  Take the powdered sugar and add one cup at a time, making sure they get fully mixed in before adding the next. Before you know it, you will have one amazing cream cheesy frosting.

With the frosting done and the cakes cooling, I went to the stove to whip up some caramel sauce to drizzle all over my pumpkin creations.

Using a stick of butter and a cup of brown sugar, I turned up the heat of my sauce and watched the magic happen.  Sweet buttery sugar...oh so sweet.

Caramel step one...
Step 2 and DONE!
With the caramel done, I tossed it in a jar and prepared to frost my tasty cake.



It was time to frost and drizzle, so, I smothered that frosting all over the tops and sides of each layer, staking them neatly on top of each other.  So far, it was looking verrrrry good.



Once frosted, I took the caramel and drizzled it all over the top of that baby.  I was getting pretty excited!


Success!  It was gorgeous!  I threw on the cake top and set it aside to move on to my next project, the oh so easy, ice cream pie.

I did cheat a bit this year and bought a crust, but for some reason, I was not in the mood to make my own.  I am not proud of it, but oh well.  With my store bought crust and ice cream, I scooped out enough to fill the crust and let it sit out to thaw so I could smooooooth it out.

Thawing session....
 Once the ice cream melted a bit, I was able to smooth it out and fill that crust right up.  The the pie evenly spread, I placed some wax paper on top and threw it in the freezer to get hard again.  The only thing left to do, was drizzle caramel and let it freeze again...then it is DONE!  I love ice cream pie, it doesn't get any easier!



With two down, there was only one more to go...the crowd favorite, double pumpkin cheesecake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (softened) 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup whipped topping (optional)

First, preheat the oven to 325.  Then combine the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Next, blend in the eggs one at a time. Remove one cup of this batter and place on the bottom of the crust.  Layer one is complete!


To the remaining batter, add the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Mix in and add to the crust. 

Thank goodness I have this measuring spoon!
Once all mixed together, bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center is almost set.  Allow to cool for three hours and either serve or put in the fridge for later... I put mine in the fridge since I was planning a pretty serious pumpkin taste off for later....YES!


With three tasty treats to try, the TH and I were quite excited for our sampling party.  Now we know which one we will be sharing with our families for Christmas too!  What one would you share?


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