Saturday, October 15, 2011

Simple Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Great this time of the year, I found this recipe in the local paper in 2004.  When my sister visited recently, we made this cake to use up some pumpkin I had on hand.  If you use canned pumpkin it is really simple and delicious.  Although it was called a Pumpkin Bar in the original recipe, it's more of a cake in texture.  The recipe makes enough for a traditional jelly roll pan (15" x 10" x 1") and is not sufficient for a full half sheet (typically 18' x 13" x 1").  You could cut it into bars, or serve it in squares more like cake.  It works fine to make as a dessert for a crowd, when several dessert options may be available.

Fresh Pumpkin Option:  I've been cooking pumpkins for years.  If you can get good pie pumpkins, the flavor will be far superior to canned.  You can use fresh pumpkin whenever a recipe calls for canned pumpkin.  Choose round pie pumpkins, typically four - seven pounds.  Unlike carving pumpkins, these should not sound hollow, which means they are drying out.  Heat your oven to 350F.  Wash the outside and cut in half.  Clean out the seeds and stringy membrane.  Place cut side down on a cookie sheet or jelly rollpan and add a little water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Cool, remove pumpkin meat and mash through a food mill to remove any remaining solids.  You can also freeze the pumpkin puree for use later in the winter.

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup nuts (optional)
1 cup raisons (optional)

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered (confectionary) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk, more if needed

Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a jelly roll pan with food release (Pam) or grease by hand with By hand or in a mixer, combine eggs, oil and sugar.  Add the pumpkin followed by all of the dry ingredients.  Stir in the nuts or raisins if using. 

Bake 20-30 minutes or until a pick in the center comes out clean.  Let cool, then frost with the cream cheese frosting.

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