TWD Fast Forward: All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake

The pending move is making things a little tense around my house – and when the going gets tough, the tough crave sugar.  Thus, I scraped the last of the flour out of my pantry, comparing my current inventory with the list of ingredients in several of Dorie’s recipes and decided on a seasonally inappropriate All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake.  The cake is DARN good, and I wiped out 1) a can of pumpkin, 2) the last of the golden raisins, 3) the last fraction of a bag of pecan halves that now I won’t have to move at the end of the month.  Woo-hoo!

holiday cake

The cake is dense without being heavy, moist and delicately spiced with dried ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. And the canned pumpkin makes the cake just as orange as the photo suggests (even though I know the photo is not great – I tried using my far-more-convenient cell phone camera instead of my actual camera for the first time, and I won’t do it again. Promise.).  But the combination of golden raisins and dried cranberries and pecans is really nice – not too fruitcake-y, but definitely not the traditional birthday cake that I get used to at this time of year. It could absolutely be an acceptable breakfast food. I like this a lot.

The icing made me nervous – it’s maple syrup and powdered sugar – but it goes well with the otherwise not-too-sweet cake.  I’ll look forward to making this in my new kitchen next winter!

(I apologize to the Dorie bakers who haven’t made this yet, but I’ll make it again with all of your when it comes up in the rotation!)

TWD: Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

I have never liked pecan pie, and as best I can tell, that is a blessing.  My family never fights about “pumpkin vs. pecan” at the holidays and pumpkin has less fat than pecans dredged in corn syrup.

So, it is with nothing but good will that I curse Vibi of La Casserole Carree for picking the TWD Thanksgiving Twofer Pie this week, because I LOVED it. I can’t wait for my lunch hour to go devour the piece I have stashed in the office refrigerator. (Visit her blog – it’s in French! – if only to admire her beautiful photography and play with the Google Translator in the upper right hand corner. Awesome. Also, Vibi posted the recipe there in both languages.)

Twofer with Knife

I think I cheated a little by using a frozen crust, but the outcome was the same: creamy pumpkiny goodness at the bottom,  crispy pecan nuttyness at the top. And it wasn’t as sickeningly sweet as I was expecting. I think the rum (!) in the pumpkin batter canceled out the corn syrup in the pecan syrup and made a lovely treat. My family’s traditional pumpkin pie came from the back of the can of Libby’s pumpkin puree, so the rum that Dorie recommended was an unexpected flavor in this holiday experiment. I liked it, but I doubt the younger cousins at my Thanksgiving table would have.

In the past I’ve relied on the Barefoot Contessa’s pumpkin banana mousse tart to get me through the holiday; Grandpa loves it, but it’s quite labor intensive for such a busy mid-week holiday.  More recently, as the extended family has had to deal with diabetes and significant food allergies, I switched to the Weight Watchers pumpkin flan to satisfy us after the meal (We also have birthday cake on Thanksgiving, so the lighter dessert was kind of nice). I’m thinkin’ that the Twofer will be own little slice of heaven, not to leave my personal refrigerator.  Does that defy the spirit of Thanksgiving? Probably.  But do I care?

My only problem with the Twofer Pie was the crust, and i think it’smy own fault.  When I sliced into this morning I had jelly-like layer of gook on the bottom of my store-bought crust. It’s tasty when I slather it on the crust, but I’m wondering what it might be and how it got there. My best guess is that I tried to slice the pie before I had really cooled too much, but gave up when I realized how mushy it still was. I wonder if some of the pecan syrup slipped down to the bottom and coled in the fridge, hmm?

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

Many, MANY thanks to Kelly for choosing this week’s recipe, pumpkin muffins (you can find the recipe at Kelly’s blog).  They have been delicious from the time I liked the bowl to the ones I defrosted for breakfast this morning.  I feel a little like Dr. Seuss: delicious fresh from the oven; or toasted with butter, I was lovin’. The batter was lovely, silky and light. And with a shot of bourbon, dy-no-mite.

(Yes, I added bourbon to Dorie’s recipe. More on that later.)

The other eater in my household liked them, too: “These are nice.”

Tom, watching

So, yes, I made a couple of changes to the recipe. First, I took some of the other bakers’ suggestion and substituted whole wheat flour for some of the white flour.  While this did little to change the batter (as best I can tell), it enables me to eat them for breakfast with less guilt, which is always good.

Then, there was the bourbon.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was! It’s not a heavy flavor, but it mellows the pumpkin a little, which I enjoyed.  I’d recommend it. What’s not made better by bourbon?

Finally, I divided the batter in half. Golden raisins on one side, white chocolate chips and walnuts in the other.  Both are excellent! The former is nice for breakfast, split in half, toasted and spritzed with butter for god measure.  The latter is nice as is in the middle of a fall afternoon.  I got a few more than 12 out of my batch (they rise in the oven but don’t really change shape or smooth out, which gives them a pretty rustic look on the table), so I froze a few.  The ones I thawed last night were still perfect this morning!

I am absolutely making these again. With the bourbon.