There are so many wonderful, delicious dining choices to be made, that when asked to bring a dish to an event I find it difficult to decide on a recipe, and will often end up making more than one.
PUMPKIN BARS WITH MARCONA ALMONDS
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup roasted and salted marcona almonds, coarsely chopped
caramel sauce to serve
Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, grease and set aside.
In a medium bowl stir together butter and sugar until no lumps remain. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in pumpkin. Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, allspice and nutmeg, stir until combined. Fold in the almonds, spoon into pan.
Bake about 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Remove, cool in pan on a wire rack. Using parchment, lift uncut bars from pan. Cut into bars, serve with caramel sauce.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, November 2014
PECAN CREAM CAKE
FOR THE CAKE
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans
FOR THE FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
MAKE THE CAKE
Heat oven to 350F. Butter and flour three 8-inch cake pans, set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. Cream butter, shortening and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high, and beat until batter is smooth, 5 to 10 seconds. Whip egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites, coconut and pecans into batter. Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth top with a rubber spatula, drop pans lightly on counter to expel large air bubbles. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans, invert onto wire racks and let cool completely.
MAKE THE FROSTING (note, I made one and a half times the recipe)
Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth.
To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand and spread with 1/3 cup frosting, top with another layer and spread with 1/3 cup frosting. Top with remaining frosting and chill for an hour until the frosting is firm.
Recipe adapted from Saveur