Right before our big trip…

The hubs and I are coming upon our ONE year anniversary early next month and to celebrate, we are going to Asia. This is also our year delayed honeymoon as well. We actually fly out in a week so thus groceries are sparse and all perishable items MUST be used as I hate wasting/throwing away perfectly good food. One of the things that I needed to get rid of was milk. Neither of us are big milk drinkers but I do occasionally need it for a good recipe or two. In this case, I needed it for a Buttermilk Pound Cake so I had some left over that I needed to use ASAP. Luckily, I stumbled upon a recipe for Cardamom-Vanilla Scented Wedges but had to slightly modify it to use the ingredients that I had available. This was super easy to prep and took less than 10 minutes even with my substitute for the heavy cream. Since I was not about to buy heavy cream, I melted butter and used the rest of the milk (its 1/3 cup of butter plus 3/4 milk for every 1 cup of heavy cream). I also didn’t have cardamon so I used pumpkin spice instead since it has cinnamon and nutmeg in it and because its pumpkin season. As I poured the batter into the pan, you can very much smell the vanilla. Pictures and tasting to come shortly…

Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Scented Wedged

adapted from Food & Wine

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 1/4 cups heavy cream*

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Using your fingertips, blend in the butter until pea-size pieces form. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla just until a dough forms. Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round, about 9 inches in diameter. Cut the into 12 equal wedges.
  2. Transfer to the prepared sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before serving.

*I subbed out for 1 cup of milk and 8 tbsp of butter

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It’s October and its my 32nd Birthday…

and three months later almost, i’m back…

It’s October which is also the start of my favorite season – the Fall. Granted I now reside in Nor Cal so Fall doesn’t really exist but when I used to live in the Midwest, the South, and the East coast, the change of the weather and color of nature always got me. Not to mention all the fun Fall goodies like PUMPKIN that you can bake. I have already baked a number of pumpkin goodies and today for my birthday, it was no different. I’m not a sweets person but one of my co-workers shares the same birthday (10/11) so a cake was made – Pumpkin Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting… My coworkers and friends all said that it was super moist and not overly sweet at all. Not one flavor overpowers the other either  but equally you can taste the chocolate and the pumpkin. Someone even said – can we just have the frosting? lol This is just one of the many pumpkin goodies that I plan on making. I did slightly modify the recipe from The Little Epicurean. Her blog is awesome and I have tried a couple of her other recipes too. I didn’t do  a chocolate glaze or added the orange gel. I think it look better more natural but if you are going for a Halloween theme, the food coloring is fitting. I also never add as much confectioner’s sugar for the frosting either because its just too much sugar. I don’t like the frosting to overpower the cake. Anywho I hope you guys enjoy the recipe.

the display...
the display…
already missing some cupcakes and the inside of the cake...
already missing some cupcakes and the inside of the cake…

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake, adapted from The Little Epicuream
makes 2- 8 inch cakes and 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground coffee

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup non fat greek yogurt

1-15 oz can pumpkin puree

2 tsp vanilla paste

2 1/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

5 eggs

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease lightly.  Line 12 muffins tins.

2. Sift together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ground coffee.  Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Set aside.

4.  Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars with a paddle attachment.  Add eggs one at a time, making sure to scrape down bowl between eggs.

5.  In three additions, alternate adding dry mixture and wet mixture to butter.  Scrape down bowl occasionally to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.

6.  Fill muffins tins 2/3 full with batter.  Divide remaining batter between the 2-8in round pans.  Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Bake cake rounds for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cake rest for a couple minutes in pan before unmolding and allowing to cool completely.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2- 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature

1.5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or more according to taste

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
1.  Cream together butter and cream cheese until fully incorporated.

2.  Add confectioner’s sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, ground cinnamon, and vanilla paste.  Beat until combined.  Add a couple drops of orange gel paste to get the desired colored.