Monday, November 26, 2007
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Pumpkin Spice Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker
Last week I gave you a more complicated and time-consuming pumpkin dessert than usual. This week’s dessert, a Pumpkin Spice Cake is simplicity in itself that I discovered almost by mistake. I’m always amazed at places where recipes pop up and this one instantly caught my eye. I do follow directions, uh… at least some of the time. This brings to my mind an incident about making a cake when I was a teenager. I can’t remember the incident why a younger girl than the usual friends of my sister and I was at our house. What I do recall was that I was in the kitchen mixing up cake batter and this girl was watching me when she asked, Do you always beat your cakes that long? For an instant I didn’t know what she was talking about as I always beat a cake mix for two to three minutes with our electric mixer. I replied that I beat the batter however long the directions said. To my surprise the girl said that they mixed their cakes up with a spoon before dumping it into a pan. For dessert that evening we had my finished cake. The girl went into raptures over how light and fluffy it was and how high it rose. My sister and I joked later that maybe if her mother beat her cake mixes the required amount of time their cakes would be light and fluffy too.
Allspice is the dried berry of the allspice tree also known as a pimento tree (Spanish for pepper) that is native to the West Indies and Central America. These trees grow to a height of about thirty feet, have aromatic glossy green leaves and white flowers, and are part of the myrtle tree family. The allspice fruit is picked when it is green and unripe and traditionally it is sun dried. The name allspice was coined by the English who thought the flavor combined several aromatic spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Before World War II allspice was more widely used. In the 19th century, Russian soldiers put allspice in their boots to help keep their feet warm. During the war many allspice trees were cut down and production never fully recovered. Today most allspice is produced in Jamaica but other sources include Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Allspice is used in pickling, baking, salads, condiments such as ketchup, commercial sausage preparations, curry powder, barbecue sauces, chewing gum, ice cream, and soft drinks. The fruit and leaf oils are used in men’s toiletries, deodorant, and cosmetics. In Jamaica they use allspice leaves to cook jerked meats and the Mayans use allspice as an embalming agent. The Caribbean Arawak Indians use the allspice wood to cure meat. To substitute allspice, combine equal parts of: ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper.
My Pumpkin Spice Cake is perfect for the holiday rush when you need a dessert fast. I simplified a few steps and presto a nifty cake evolved. The Pumpkin Spice Cake’s moist, mild spice taste and velvet texture make it an instant winner. The finishing touch is the cream cheese icing. This is one recipe I plan to keep handy. Preparation time for the Pumpkin Spice Cake is only ten minutes and this dessert serves eighteen.
Pumpkin Spice Cake
1 spice cake mix (any brand)
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
1 can prepared cream cheese frosting
Follow spice cake mix directions adding the can of pumpkin. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 350º for thirty-five minutes. Cover and cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting and serve. Refrigerate to store. May garnish with chopped pecans!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com or htpp://dorcasannettewalker.blogspot.com for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.