Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Pumpkin Torte

I hope that my fellow Canadians had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  We spent it at my parents' cottage with 9 grandkids, 7 adults and 4 dogs.  Canadian chaos, indeed.  My youngest sister surprised us with the addition of a new Australian Shepherd puppy named Rosie.  Look at this face!


But don't let that squishably cute face fool you.  Behind that cute mug are some razor sharp puppy teeth that honed to a very fine point.  Sharp enough to make a grown-up squeal in pain as she tries to soothe herself by gnawing on your toe.  Luckily she's cute and we all got our puppy cuddle fix this weekend, for sure!

I'm also thankful that Mother Nature was in a good mood which meant that we were outside quite a lot this weekend.  She even provided the kids with loads of fallen leaves to jump in, bury themselves in and {sadly} even fight over.  Yes, leaf piles are treated with reverence and our youth can become quite territorial over them apparently. 

Boy 2 made use of this excess in tree dandruff by making his very own scarecrow by stuffing his clothes that he was supposed to wear for the next day.  I'd just like to give myself a big pat on the back for ignoring the Type A/Anal Beast that dwells within me.  This beast kept whispering "You're going to have leaf bits EVERYWHERE.  You'll have to wash his clothes tonight! Who knows what manner of critter is living in those decaying leaves!".  The inner dialogue within my head is sometimes staggering.  BUT, I ignored my anal self and let him have at it.  I was quite impressed with the detail he put into his scarecrow actually.  He was so devoted to making an excellent scarecrow that he was walking around in his WHITE socks so that he could stuff his runners with leaves for his scarecrow.  {DOWN Type A beast! Down I SAY!!}  Did I mention that his socks were white?  'Were' being the operative word in that sentence. {sigh}



Besides being amused by leaves we also stuffed ourselves with ridiculous amounts of appetizers (cream cheese stuffed jalapeno peppers wrapped in bacon, taco dips, Buffalo chicken dip) as well as the traditional turkey feast and desserts up the wazoo.  I brought 12 chocolate egg-free cupcakes with an Oreo cream cheese frosting for the kids and this Pumpkin Torte for the adults.  You cannot go wrong with a pumpkiny spiced cream cheese frosting in between four layers of pumpkin cake.  It ... is ... impossible.  This torte was very easy to make and, while my version wasn't quite as robust or pretty as the original recipe, I was quite impressed with the results and will definitely make it again.

I did make a change or two to the original recipe but not because I thought of some awesome way to improve the recipe.  I was just not paying attention and used more pumpkin pie spice than was called for but I also didn't want an overly mild spiciness to the cake/frosting so it worked out well.  Inattention sometimes can be useful.  And, sometimes it isn't because due to my pathetic attention span I forgot to drizzle caramel topping over the cake before serving (we opted out of the pecans due to allergies).  You win some, you lose some.  What I will guarantee is that you love this surprisingly light cake.  Now, that is something that I can add to my 'what I'm thankful for' list.




1 yellow cake mix (18 1/4 oz/two layer cake mix)
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below)

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 (16oz) carton frozen whipped topping -- THAWED

Topping (optional, apparently)
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper (set each pan on some parchment and trace around the pan.  Cut out the circles of parchment and place one in each pan.)  Grease and lightly flour the parchment lined pans and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl), combine cake mix, 1 cup of canned pumpkin, milk, eggs, oil and 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down sides of bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Pour into your prepared pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Cool cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pans (removing parchment paper inserts) and allow cakes to cool completely on wire racks.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy.  Add the sifted icing sugar, 1 cup of canned pumpkin and 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice; beat until smooth.  Fold in thawed whipped topping.

Cut each cake horizontally into two layers.  {Brad did this for me and found that pivoting the knife around each cake worked really well and kept your layers pretty even}.  Place the bottom layer onto a serving plate; spread with one-fourth of the frosting.  Repeat layers three times ending with a top-side of one of the cakes with frosting on top of it. 

Store cake in refrigerator.  Before serving, drizzle top of cake with caramel topping and sprinkle with toasted pecans.

Yield: 10-12 servings

Original Recipe from: Taste of Home - Pumpkin Torte

Pumpkin Pie Spice
Recipe from: Allrecipes.com "Pumpkin Pie Spice I"

I never buy pumpkin pie spice because it's just too easy to make yourself.  Here's my go-to recipe which can easily be doubled or tripled if necessary.

2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground allspice

Mix well in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.

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