One of my proudest kitchen moments was the Christmas of 2010. We were living in Taiwan, and Christmas happened to be on a Saturday that year, so all of us expats actually had the night off. We invited all of our friends, and some of the friends of our friends, to celebrate with us. I made a three course Christmas dinner for 10 people on two burners and an oven the size of a dorm room microwave. So what if we had to do surgery on the ham to get it to fit. It was absolutely delicious. I loved being able to give my friends a taste of home. It’s so important to have a few moments to be connected to where you came from when you’re so far away. I hope all of our guests enjoyed that night as much as I did.
For dessert, I made this pumpkin cake. I had to do a two-layer, 9-inch round cake to fit it in the oven and cook one layer at a time. It was still completely awesome, though if you decide to go that route, I recommend keeping the pieces very small. I may or may not have felt slightly ill after eating a whole slice.
The cake is super moist and packed with flavor. It uses vegetable oil instead of butter and an entire can of pumpkin. You’d have to try really hard to make this a dry cake. And the frosting is like silk. It’s just butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a splash of vanilla extract, but somehow it tastes like a dream. It’s a thinner frosting than your typical buttercream, and it’s perfectly sweet and tangy. Really, everything about this cake is amazing.
I’ve been making this cake for years, and I’ll continue to make this cake because it tastes incredible, but also because it reminds me of so many wonderful people and such an amazing time in my life.
P.S. I also got engaged that Christmas, so I’m not sure there was anything that could have brought me down.
- 4 eggs
- 1-2/3 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray a 13x9 inch pan with non-stick spray.
- Beat together the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and pumpkin until light and smooth. I used a mixer, but a wooden spoon and a strong arm should also work.
- Sift together the fllour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.
- Pour the batter into your cake pan, and even it out. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. You'll know it's almost ready when your house starts to smell outrageously awesome.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and light. I just left my stand mixer running while I sifted my powdered sugar, about three to five minutes.
- Don't skip the sifting of the powdered sugar. You want your frosting to be super smooth. Slowly add it to the bowl, beating until combined. I like to turn the mixer up to high for about 30 seconds at the end to make sure everything's smooth and light.
- Just go ahead and spread all the frosting on to the cake. It's the perfect thickness. Because I live in a warm climate, I store my cake in the fridge, but it tastes great either way, and it's not going to last long enough to worry about it.