Things this past week have been crazy. I got home finally from pretty much one and a half month’s solid stretch of traveling. Which was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but my routine was severely disrupted. And, judging by the fact that I literally had obligations every single night after my return, I hardly had time to even think about the blog.
But, now that I’ve effectively done about 8 loads of laundry, gotten enough sleep, and sorted all the mail, I’m back in the game. It’s good to be back.
The lovely folks over at Pacific Foods decided to send me a few sample packs of their pumpkin puree (as a side note, Scout loves pumpkin puree in her food.) Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to make something completely sinful as a Thanksgiving dessert, I dove right in.
Originally, this recipe is for “pumpkin bars”. As I realized that I had left a baking sheet in my office at work (long story), I decided to cook these “bars” in two 8-inch cake pans and then use a 1 and 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make little cake forms. I cut each cake into two pieces horizontally and then piped some frosting in between each piece. And what’s better than a little cinnamon vanilla bean cream cheese frosting (long enough name, eh?). No, they aren’t the most healthy dessert in the world, but at least they are “bite-size”. At least that’s what I am telling myself.
Mini Pumpkin Cakes with Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: approximately 24 cakes
For the cakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
One 15-ounce can/package pumpkin puree (I used Pacific Foods, which came in a 16-ounce package. You can use canned or tetra-packed pumpkin puree-or obviously, homemade.)
1 cup canola oil
For the cinnamon vanilla bean cream cheese frosting:
One 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Seeds from one whole vanilla bean (Slice the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out all the seeds. Discard the shell.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 cups powdered sugar (to taste and your desired consistency)
1. For the cakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl using an electric hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground cloves, mixing on low speed until combined.
3. Add the eggs, pumpkin puree, and canola oil until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
4. Pour the batter into lightly greased 8-inch cake pans (or using a large rectangular baking dish).
5. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Let the cake cool at room temperature for about two hours prior to frosting.
6. For the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter (using your standing mixer or an electric hand mixer) on medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
7. Add the vanilla bean seeds and cinnamon, mixing until combined.
8. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency, adding more if needed.
9. To assemble the cakes: Using a 1 and 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut each cake out from the pan. Horizontally slice each cake into two halves.
10. Pipe a small dollop of frosting on the top of one cake half, top with the other cake half, and pipe your desired amount of frosting on the top of each cake. Enjoy.
Source: Pumpkin cakes from Better Home and Gardens Ultimate Cookie Book, frosting a Curvy Carrot original.