Life is funny, nothing ever stays the same. Friends, please forgive me for getting all sentimental and philosophical on you, but this time of year brings back lovely memories for me. It doesn’t seem so long ago that by mid-October every year my boys and I would spend hours planning their costumes for Halloween, who they would walk the neighborhood with, and which candy I should buy to give out to the local revelers. But things have changed, my boys have moved on to begin their own lives, and my husband and I have been left here to celebrate Halloween alone, just us and a few bags of mini Snickers bars. I know, so sad.
In fact, things have gotten so bad that the local children will not even walk up my long, steep driveway for a measly mini candy bar anymore. In recent years I’ve had to go stand at the bottom of the driveway with “full sized” candy bars if I wanted to see any action.
Halloween is also that time of year when I can use pumpkin with reckless abandon. I love to use it in muffins, cookies, cakes and pies, and I really can’t understand why it’s not popular all year round. One of my fall favorites is this Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze. The cake part is mildly flavored with those traditional autumn spices, and the streusel filling is a perfect little surprise in the middle of the cake. What could be bad about pumpkin, nuts and chocolate.
So, one last thing. Do you think it would be weird if I asked my 25 year-old son to let me dress him up as a Power Ranger so we could go house to house trick-or-treating together? I’m just kidding, kinda’.
Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from “Very Best Baking”
- 2/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup pure pumpkin (15 ounce can Libby’s brand)
- 1 – 8 ounce container sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 – 3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and using melted butter and a pastry brush, brush the insides of the bundt pan with butter and lightly flour the pan, tapping out the excess flour.
- To make the Streusel: lightly toast your walnuts in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Constantly stir so they don’t burn. Toast just until they become fragrant. Allow to cool. Toss walnuts, cinnamon, brown sugar and mini chips in a medium bowl until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.
- For the cake batter, sift the flour, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk to incorporate all ingredients.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla and mix well. With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add the flour mixture.
- Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the streusel topping over the batter but don’t allow the topping to touch the sides of the pan. You can choose to only use the streusel inside the cake, or you can also sprinkle some streusel on top of the cake also. Spoon the remaining batter on top making sure the batter layer touches the edge of the pan.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes then turn out to a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely before you top with the glaze.
- To make the glaze: Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a medium sized bowl. Add the vanilla. Add the milk a spoon at a time and whisk until you have the desired drizzling consistency.
Be sure to use the size egg that any recipe calls for when baking. If a recipe calls for “large eggs”, don’t use extra large eggs as it will definitely effect the final product.
You could also use mini bundt pans to make this cake. Just make sure you adjust the baking time accordingly.
The mini paper bundt pans used in this post were purchased from Cost Plus World Market.
As a kid growing up in suburban Philadelphia I always looked forward to the the fall. It was a little sad to see the days get shorter as the summer slowly slipped away, because that meant it was time to go back to school. However, I loved when the air got crisp and you needed a sweater to keep warm. I could hardly wait until the leaves on the trees turned those glorious shades of red, orange and gold.
Having spent the past 31 years in Southern California I don’t get to experience that remarkable change of seasons anymore. I’m not complaining mind you. I fled the east coast so long ago because after the postcard perfect images of autumn, came those brutally snowy and cold winters that I could no longer bare. Yes, I was a wimp.
This week I’m visiting my friend Carol who lives in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It’s early October and the leaves really haven’t begun to change color yet, but there’s a crispness in the air and summer has definitely left the building. I have to say that the east coast is certainly at its best in the fall. Today we’re headed to a small village located on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River called Frenchtown. It’s a community of about 1400 residents and physically not much has changed from the late 1700’s.
After three decades of living in a city with ten-million people, I marvel that places like this still exist…and thankful they do. We stop to get lunch in The Frenchtown Cafe and I feel as though I have stepped back in time fifty or sixty years. The food was simple and straight-forward, and really, really good. And I loved the $6.95 price tag.
Not only is fall my favorite time of year because of the seasonal changes it brings about, it’s also my favorite time of year for food. Specifically, pumpkin. Oh how I love pumpkin in anything. So, we’ve decided to bake this moist pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s very easy to make and total comfort food. My kids love this one.
Autumn Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
From Better Homes and Gardens
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 15-ounce canned pumpkin
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup cooking oil
- 3/4 cup toasted pecans
- 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting