Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ain't no party like an Adirondack party!

Several years ago, my friend, Vicky, invited a bunch of us from work to come out to her little cabin in the woods and have a big bonfire and cookout. It was so much fun being out in the crisp autumn night, looking up at the stars, and sharing some laughs with comrades from the college.

So I was very happy when Vicky decided to host another such bash last night. It was a little deeper into October this time, but the weather held for us, and we had a great time. There were also some great eats. Vicky made coney dogs, and then everyone else brought a dish to share. She asked me to bring a salad, so I made the yummy blue cheese, cranberry and cashew cole slaw that I fell in love with this past summer, only this time, I added some fresh apple chunks to it, as befitting the season.

But I really wanted to make a dessert, specifically a pumpkin bundt cake that I saw a pastry chef bake on a recent episode of Martha.  As usual, I made a few minor changes. I added some vanilla and pecans, swapped out some of the white sugar for brown, and I also used sour cream in place of creme fraiche in the topping (which is impossible to find in my little town). It turned out delicious, but as is the way of such things, it was even better the second day--not that there was much left after the bonfire!

Pumpkin Spice-Chocolate Chip-Pecan Cake with Sour Cream Glaze
(adapted from The Martha Show)

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I only used 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups canned pumpkin puree (I used the whole can)
2 1/2 cups sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups white + 1 cup brown)
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
*I added one teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
*I also added 3/4 cup chopped pecans

For the Creme Fraiche Glaze:
3 tablespoons creme fraiche (I used sour cream)
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-to 10-cup Bundt pan with flour-added cooking spray; set aside.

2.Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg together into a medium bowl; set aside.

3.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together pumpkin, sugar, and eggs on medium speed. With the mixer running, slowly add oil. Add flour mixture and chocolate chips; mix on low speed until just combined. (I did not bother messing up my mixer. I just did this all by hand with a whisk in one bowl. Easy-peasy.)

4.Pour batter into prepared pan and transfer to oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes. (Mine took 70, but that may have been five minutes too long. I also covered the top with tin foil after about 45 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes before inverting cake onto rack or serving plate.

5.Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together creme fraiche and cup of confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add more confectioners' sugar as necessary to reach desired thickness. Drizzle glaze over cake and serve.

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