Pumpkin Cake

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Halloween costume parties at our house are a tradition that we all enjoy.  The past few years my friend Jane and I have baked and decorated a centerpiece cake.  And we have such a good time doing it.  This year we used a recipe for a Pumpkin/Carrot/Spice cake from Women’s Day to make our pumpkin.  This pumpkin required two bundt cakes.  And a LOT of cream cheese icing…1 cup of butter and 4 8-oz packages of cream cheese.  Each of us used the recipe and baked a cake the day before we put them together.

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First step after baking is to cut each of the cakes in half horizontally.  And start stacking and icing.

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We used some long toothpicks to secure the layers.

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The top is on and you’re thinking it looks nothing at all like a pumpkin!  We put the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to help set the icing up.  With the pedestal plate and 2 bundt cakes stacked it required a bit of refrigerator rearranging but I think the chilling helped.  We covered it with a light base coat and, once again, returned it to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.

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A second coat of icing and it’s starting to look like a pumpkin.  We used the stem from a real pumpkin supported by a couple of small dixie cups stacked in the center and held in place by icing.

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And there you have it.  Ta Da!!  A perfect pumpkin.  Two years ago we did a caramel apple.

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Last year we made a brain.   That was great fun to do as well!

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But I think this year our guests will find the pumpkin much more appetizing.  Happy Halloween.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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My brother and sister-in-law and her parents were visiting this weekend to celebrate her birthday. I wanted to make her something special and different from a typical birthday cake. I looked through my stash of recipes torn from my cooking magazines and came across Emeril Lagasse’s Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Spiked Cream. Well, I love pumpkin, I love cheesecake and I love bourbon so I’m thinking this looks promising. This looks like something my sister-in-law would love as much as me. And she would love me for making it for her. It’s definitely a day before recipe which is a good thing when you’re having guests. It was relatively easy to make. The instructions have you mixing most of it in a food processor but if you don’t have one a good stand mixer would work fine. Pumpkin cheesecake, it’s what was for dessert tonight. Happy birthday sister!

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 crushed wafers)

1 cup of pecans, ground

1 stick unsalted butter

For the Cheesecake:

2 pounds cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

6 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups canned pure pumpkin

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Preheat at the oven to 350.

Combine the crumbs, ground pecans and melted butter in a bowl. Press into the bottom of a 12-inch springform pan. (I happen to have a square springform pan that I love.)

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In your food processor fitted with the metal blade mix the cream cheese until smooth.

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Add the brown sugar and process until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing until fully incorporated. Next blend in the heavy cream. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and vanilla and blend until smooth. Add the pumpkin and blend until smooth. Pour the filling over the crust in your springform pan.

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Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cheesecake is just set. Remove from the oven. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan to prevent the center from cracking. Let the cake cool completely before slicing. I refrigerated mine when it had completely cooled.

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Now for the bourbon whipped cream.

2 cups of heavy whipping cream

dash of bourbon

2 T sugar

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Stir the dash of bourbon into the cream.  Whip the cream until soft peaks form gradually adding in the sugar as you whip. I think my “dash” was a little heavy handed but please “season to taste.”

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A piece of good cheesecake is a thing of beauty. Happy birthday!