Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Great Pumpkin Cake

I know Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over and EVERYONE  is thinking Christmas, but it is still technically Fall till December 21st so I am posting about my Thanksgiving Pumpkin cake that you can make any time of year.
A dear friend showed me a picture of this cake from a gourmet magazine and I thought I could replicate it without all the fancy ingredients and directions.....I "thought"!
It came out pretty good though so I am sharing it with you. I brought it to that friends house for Thanksgiving and there were oohs and aahs all around!
The recipes for the cake, filling and frosting follow the how-to directions.
The idea is to put two bundt cakes together on top of each other to form a pumpkin shape, with a filling in the middle. If you have one of those bundt pans (like from Pampered Chef) that has the grooves in it, that's perfect! Only thing I found out was that using a buttercream frosting kinda covered up the grooves....it was too thick! Next time, if there is one, I would use an orange tinted glaze instead.
I decided that two whole cake recipes would be too thick of a cake and one cake would not be thick enough (you can use one cake but you would have to bake one half at a time to get the two rounded, grooved halves to make a pumpkin shape).
I made batter for two cakes, separately, and filled the pan a little more than half each and baked them one at at time. I put the leftover batter from each cake in an 8" cake pan and had an extra cake for another time.
I trimmed the flat side of one cake evenly so that the top would fit on. I spread the pumpkin cream cheese filling on the bottom half and then put the top half on, making sure I lined up the groove marks from top to bottom as good as I could!
I smoothed the filling all the way around to make an even frosting field.
Next came making the frosting the orange of a pumpkin! I used my daughters professional cake decorating colors. I was adding and experimenting with yellow, red and bronze to get just the right color....until she told me that too much colorant can make the frosting greasy and unspreadable. I stopped at a light orange hue.

I had saved a pumpkin stem from a real pumpkin but wasn't sure how I was going to put it on with the hole in the middle of the cake. Remember the extra batter made into an extra cake? I took a piece of that and stuffed the hole with it, frosted over it and stuck the stem on. Then I took the metal spatula and formed grooves into the frosting (actually that is the technique the gourmet cake recipe used).


Jimbo's Chocolate Cake
1 box Duncan Hines chocolate fudge cake mix
4 large eggs
1 box instant (3.5 oz.) chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips by hand till moistened, then mix in an electric mixer
3 minutes. Pour into greased bundt pan. Sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips over the batter and press in.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes.
Pumpkin Cream Filling
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a bowl whisk together ingredients till thickened. Spread on bottom layer of cake.
Buttercream Frosting
3 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter, softened
 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk
Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add vanilla. Add milk as needed for consistency.
If you decide to try this at home, please let me know your technique!
It really tastes fantastic and isn't that what really matters?
AnnMarie :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNa's Day Out With the Girl's

I wanted to have a girl's day out with my daughters and granddaughters to start the holiday season off so I invited them all to go with me to the George Eastman House to see the Gingerbread House display, the Festival of Trees display and the Wreath display.

The George Eastman House on East Avenue in the city of Rochester, New York is a museum formerly owned by George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Co. You may recognize the name! The picture above is of the back of the house where the gardens are.....we need to go back in the summer to see it in all it's glory!

We went for the seasonal displays but as an extra treat we got to tour the inside of this gorgeous mansion.

The Gingerbread houses were our first stop. They are made by local businesses, school classes and organizations. You may see a sign-up sheet and pen by some of them....that is so you can bid on them and take them home at the end of the display. The bids start at $25.

Here are some of the most interesting ones.....
It really is all edible!
the Taj Mahal?

It says New York State Tropper
Santa on the wheatie roof with his flying pig-deer!

The tree is all gingerbread too!

 Next were the trees....not as impressive as the gingerbread houses and we were expecting full size trees! This one is cool made of old Kodak film canisters....

And this one reminded me of Christmas when I was a kid in the 60's....

I love making wreaths so the wreath display gave me some ideas! This one I won't try to duplicate....I just thought it was really unique made from old film negatives and spools......

This one I may copy!

Love the woodland look

Rochester is home to many attractions, museums and cultural neighborhoods that I have come to take for granted having lived here all my life, so it was so nice to go visit one of them just before the holidays. And what better bunch of girls to go with than these?
AnnMarie aka NaNa :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Fragrance

Last night I attended a fun ladies' night out at my church, Living Word Assembly of God in Ontario, New York.

I am on the Woven Hearts Ladies' Ministry of the church so my perspective on these events usually is what our decorating theme is, what we all are baking and how late are we going to be there cleaning up?! Hopefully I get to watch the event and be blessed by it...... and if I can get a good blog post out of it, that is a bonus!

I brought my camera to take pictures in anticipation of maybe writing about it for my blog today (I really had no ideas for a post for this week!) but didn't remember to take pictures till the very end. I got home thinking I missed that opportunity until I read one of my devotions before bed.

The Woven Hearts Ladies' Ministry committee and Sue (in blue) How did that sign get there?!

It was about being a fragrance of God's love to the world (1 John 4:7-11). When we embrace others and show them a little kindness we are giving them a fragrance of what God's love is all about which may open the door for God to open their heart to trust Him. To be a fragrance for the Lord we must have a close relationship with Him by obeying his word and being open to His will for our life.....which is really about doing our best to live a holy life before Him.

Our guest speaker last night was Sue Duffield who is a dear friend to the Ladies' Ministry, having brought her infectious, funny programs many times. This time it was Sweet and Salty Sisterhood. We served sweet and salty desserts....yum!

In one of the more serious moments of the night she described how in her mother's last days in a nursing home she and her brother got a call that there was a smell in her mother's room. Sue had described earlier how one of her mother's passions was NOT being stinky....herself or anyone or anything! Sue and her brother went to the room and checked everywhere for a candle or room fragrance or anything that would be scenting the room but found nothing. When they asked their mother where the smell was coming from she just laid there in her bed quiet. The second time they were called to the room their mother was laying in bed repeating "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus....." When they asked her about the smell she told them not to bother her!

It turns out the fragrance, which was lavender, was coming from her mother! The funeral director that picked her body up when she passed commented on the fragrance coming from her deceased body. There was no medical or scientific explanation for the lavender smell that came from Sue's mother during her last days and even after her death. The Lord had blessed her desire not to be stinky by giving her a REAL fragrance to be smelled by others for her years of love and devotion to Him.

That really impressed me and so you can imagine my surprise when I opened the Our Daily Bread last night to read the days devotion and it was on that same subject!

It wasn't until this morning when I went to look for it that I realized I had read the wrong day..... November 9th instead of November 5th......

Thank you Lord for putting my blog post together for me!

AnnMarie :)