The thing with recipe testing is that you have to have people other than yourself make your recipes before you hit publish and send it out to the world. When I say “people” I mean the people in my family. So, this past Saturday, I ever so sweetly asked our 15-year-old son, “Do you want to go to your sister’s soccer games (plural) and cheer her on or do you want to stay home and bake a double-layer pumpkin spice cake and frost it?”
He chose the “stay home out of the rain bake a pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese and buttermilk frosting option.” Honestly, I wanted to stay home and bake the cake myself because the forecast was calling for cold and rainy weather. We were having dinner at our friend’s house that night and I had offered to bring dessert.
What I love most about having my son recipe test is that he likes to play absolutely dumb when it comes to anything in the kitchen. My husband totally falls for it but I do not at all. I’m what you call a “mean-mom” when it comes to my kids having to fulfill their kitchen and chore related responsibilities. When my son is home alone, he eventually gets the job done on his own.
When we’re around, my son acts helpless and says to my husband, “Dad, will you come in the kitchen and help me with ……” and you can fill in the blank. My husband always obliges while I sip wine or doze off in the living room. I do give my husband the look that says, “You are such a sucker and don’t you want to sit in here with me and sip wine while dinner gets made?” Nope. He likes to have company in the kitchen when he cooks and is happy to give our son the company in return.
Not me. I’ve earned my off time from helping in the kitchen. Who do you think taught that helpless teenager how to cook?
To get an idea of a completely capable and yet trying to get help from any source possible 15-year-old boy in the kitchen, picture a turtle on his back with arms and legs flailing and saying, “Oh, help me, please, I can’t turn back over and I’m totally helpless.” That’s what it’s like when my son is in the kitchen. He has plenty of skills but really no desire. He likes to play dumb – or turtle stuck on his back.
In his defense, he does cook, bake, and clean-up and he does an excellent job of it, too, when he does have to do it on his own without anyone coaching him or “baby-stepping” him through every painstaking step. He also does his own laundry, keeps his room relatively clean, dusts, vacuums, and cleans bathrooms. He’ll make an excellent roommate someday. I’m not allowed to say spouse because he claims he’s never getting married.
My recipe testing son says to add these notes which I thought were understood but clearly not:
- Use round cake pans when baking a double-layer cake. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve seen many double layer cakes that have been baked in square pans but maybe there are some out there.
- Use two beaters with the electric hand held mixer when making frosting. Do not use the single mixer attachment that you would use for making a milkshake. The milkshake maker attachment does not actually mix the ingredients properly and this was proven on Saturday.
My son’s version of this cake still tasted great even though the frosting had big chunks of powdered sugar left in it. Served with vanilla ice cream, it was a big hit when we showed up at our friend’s house with this pumpkin spice cake baked in round cake pans (and not square) with frosting that had big chunks of powdered sugar in it.
My husband doesn’t like to have cake on his birthday. He always asks for a pumpkin pie which I always bake for him. I made this recipe because I thought this pumpkin spice cake would convince him to skip the pie and go for the cake.
Not happening. Pie it is.
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup organic sugar
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 can (15 ounces) or 1¾ cup pumpkin
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) of cream cheese – low fat
- 2 Tablespoons buttermilk – low fat
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Prepare two round 8" cake pans.
- Crack eggs into bowl and whisk together before adding next ingredients.
- Add vanilla and buttermilk to eggs and whisk again.
- Add sugar, molasses and pumpkin and whisk together.
- In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
- Add dry ingredients to wet and stir.
- Mix until just combined.
- Pour evenly into 2 cake prepared cake pans.
- Bake in 350 oven for 32 minutes.
- If using a 9" X 13" pan, bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Place low fat cream cheese and low fat buttermilk together in a bowl while cake is baking and bring to room temperature.
- Slowly add powdered sugar and beat with a hand held electric mixer until lumps have disappeared - about 3-4 minutes.
- Once cake has cooled, about 30 minutes, remove from pans one layer at a time and frost.
- Begin frosting bottom layer middle first and then add second layer.
- Frost second layer and then sides, if you’d like. This cake still looks pretty and tastes good without frosting sides of cake.
Even more notes:
- Leftover frosting may be frozen and used for another recipe if you’d like. (I’ve never had the problem of having leftover frosting but did a test of freezing it after my neighbor mentioned freezing her frosting for a year and how it still worked well.)
- I used Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour in this cake and Wholesome Sweeteners organic sugar.
- I like being able to bake and cook (or have my kids do it) without going to the grocery store or asking my neighbors. Here’s what I keep on hand to do it – everything I like to keep in my pantry for baking is here, everything I keep stocked in my refrigerator is here and how our freezer gets used is here.
Do you like cake on your birthday or pie? Which would you choose – baking a cake or going to a soccer game?
Go Gingham related links:
Betsy’s best brownies – our chicken who is no longer with us
Healthy and tasty chocolate chip cookies – yes, with flax seeds and chocolate chips!
Delicious cake to make with apples – excellent cake
Take the night off and let your kids cook dinner every week
I use canned pumpkin in this recipe but if you want to bake your own pumpkin, check out the “Lightly Crunchy” blog. You’ll find instructions on how to make pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Heidi talks about how she’s lazy when cooking pumpkin – she’s my kind of cook!