Like anyone else with a pulse, I have major love-hate for the Pumpkin Spicing of everything. (And the Red Velveting of everything but I’ll whine about that in Febraury.)
Some of it’s good. Some of it’s just eh. But I will not be apologizing for throwing another Pumpkin Spice [Whatever] recipe onto the internet because this one is awesome and deserves to be photographed and eaten for lunch and the leftovers taken to Jason’s office where they left the cake plate so clean, it left me wondering just who in my husband’s office stood there and scraped the glaze right off of it.
To that guy – or gal, I do not judge – I say thank you. And you’re welcome.
So let’s talk about cake. Bundt cakes. Bundt cakes that are pumpkin buttered. And pumpkin spiced.
I took a 16 oz jar of Barton Creek Crossing Pumpkin Spread (locals, you can find it at HEB – unlocals, substitute your favorite pumpkin butter or make it yourself), the trusty 1234 cake method, and a bundt pan and made lunch.
Half of the pumpkin butter is put into the cake batter while the other half is baked into the middle of the cake. The cake gets a flavorful and aromatic dose of spices from your favorite pumpkin compliments – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and black pepper. It’s almost a gingerbread-pumpkin spice hybrid.
The cake is topped with a maple-powdered sugar glaze that I would have rather not used but did anyway because I had no plans to eat the whole thing myself (
Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake
A tender, pumpkin-spiced bundt cake, with a ribbon of pumpkin butter baked into the middle.
Raise your hand if you have been hoarding cherries! [raises hand]
[shoves cherry in mouth, wipes fingers on jeans, raises other hand]
If you’ve ever wanted to make fresh cherry or strawberry cupcakes, you’ve probably run into similar problems: the surprising lack of recipes out there with natural ingredients and real fruit. Because if it’s anything the food industry can do, it’s really process the &^%$ out of something.
(Don’t get me started on Pistachio Muffins that contain absolutely no pistachios whatsoever.) (YOU CAN’T JUST DUMP GREEN FOOD COLORING AND ALMOND EXTRACT INTO MUFFIN BATTER AND CALL IT PISTACHIO MUFFINS.)
[takes deep breath, smooths hair]
There’s no reason to use Jello, extracts, and unidentifiable chunks of [fruit]-flavored not-fruit at the height of cherry season.
I took my favorite cake recipe (the 1234) and folded fresh cherry puree into the batter along with the tiniest amount of almond extract. The result was a fluffy, moist, pink cake using only real cherries and actually tasted like cherries.
Until I dumped a bunch of chocolate glaze on top and then it just tasted like my morning 2-mile run never happened.
Fresh Cherry Cupcakes
Moist, fluffy, and pink cupcakes made with fresh cherries.
1 lb cherries, pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plain yogurt*
3 1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
6 egg whites (can use 4 whole eggs instead but the yolks might slightly affect your color)
*An equal amount of buttermilk or sour cream would also work. I no longer buy buttermilk and just substitute nonfat Greek yogurt in all recipes.
Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with ~30 (sorry) cupcake liners.
Cream butter and sugar together for ~3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
Place pitted cherries and lemon juice in the blender or food processor and process until mostly smooth.
Stir the yogurt into the cherries.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract to the butter and mix until uniform.
Add half the cherry mixture to the bowl and mix, switching the speed to low and adding half the dry ingredients.
Scrape down the bowl and repeat.
If you want to add 1-2 drops of food coloring, here is the time to do that - you don't have to, but if you don't think your batter is pink enough, just add 1 or 2 drops (I added 1 drop of Americolor Red Red).
Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and bake ~18 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out with only moist crumbs attached.
I hope you get a chance to thank a serviceman or woman this Memorial Day weekend. And buy them a drink.
Because there’s no such thing as too much appreciation when it comes to our veterans and service people.
Our freedoms aren’t by any means free. And without those fine folks, life would look a whole lot different to most of us.
Thank you to my cousin Justin, who has retired into a career of protecting and serving the good people of Sulphur Springs, Texas. And thank you to my brother-in-law Chris. And thanks to Jason’s cousin’s husbands (whew!) Scott and Daniel for their current and continued service. And let’s not forget the big, fat, gigantic “I just don’t know how you ladies do it but I’m sure glad you do” to Amanda and Sarah.
And a shout out to the heavens to my Uncle Sam and PaPaw.
We’re spending the early part of our weekend celebrating a PreK-4 soccer season with swimming and some truly (truly truly!) outrageous, fudgey brownies. Then on Monday, we’ll head over and let Landry plant a flag on my PaPaw’s grave.
Have a safe and thank-filled Memorial Day weekend, friends!
Triple Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies
Dense, fudgey, and incredibly rich brownies studded with triple chocolate cookie dough and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
1 18.3 oz brownie mix + required ingredients (oil, eggs, and water) or your favorite brownie recipe that can be baked in a 13x9
1 lb triple chocolate cookie dough (I used Specially Selected brand from Aldi)
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 (or the temperature at which your favorite brownie recipe bakes).
Spray a 13x9 baking pan with baking spray.
Mix your brownie recipe according to package/recipe directions.
Add the chocolate chips to the batter.
If pre-formed, chop the cookie dough balls into quarters and run the mixer for 5-10 seconds to distribute into the batter (if spooning from a bowl, drop by small spoonfuls into the batter and then mix well).
Spread the dough evenly into the baking pan and bake until the center is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out with very moist crumbs - this was 10 minutes over the baking time recommended by the mix I used.