Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pumpkin Dump Cake - Easiest Recipe Ever

Oh happy day, it's really finally going to be fall tomorrow.  It has been almost 90 degrees here in Nashville for the last week.  It's going down to a low of 40 tomorrow night.  Yahoo!

Fall means all things pumpkin.  Do you like pumpkin?  We love it in our house (me particularly) and our youngest so is also a big fan.  When he was younger he could eat a whole pumpkin pie at one sitting.  He didn't like most sweets, but pumpkin and pecan pie sure made him happy.

He lives in Denver now and yesterday was his fiance's birthday.  We are so excited that she is going to be joining our family.  He called and said he wanted to bake her a cake but he didn't have a lot of extra money and did I have any ideas.  Hello!  How many do you want?

He said he didn't have a mixer, or milk, or eggs, or much sugar.  I suggested a recipe I had seen on Pinterest for a pumpkin dump cake that only took a can of pumpkin, a yellow cake mix, pecans, and a stick of butter.  That was the ticket!  Easy.  Not many ingredients.  No mixer needed.

He said he had the pumpkin, pecans, and butter.  All he needed was the yellow cake mix.  That's doable when you are lacking ingredients, equipment, and money.

I sent him a text this morning and asked him how the cake turned out.  He said it was delicious!  I trust his judgment when it comes to pumpkin desserts.  Since it is going to get cool tomorrow, I had to make vegetable soup and the pumpkin dump cake for dinner.  It's called anticipation  - and vegetable soup is always better the second day.

He was spot on about the cake.  It's delicious.  Our son in love ate several pieces and asked if he could "borrow" the rest of it to take home with him.  hahaha  I told him how easy it was to make and I made it gluten free by using a gluten free cake mix.  Even better!

Here is what you need:

1 can pumpkin (I used a 14.5 ounce can, but after I baked the cake I realized it called for a 28 oz can - it worked fine)
1 yellow cake mix (gluten free works)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 stick butter melted

My addition:  1/3 cup sugar, 2 Tsps ground cinnamon, mixed together

First, spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.  Spread the pumpkin evenly in the bottom of the pan.  I thought it might be a little blah, so I sprinkled 1/2 of the cinnamon mixture over the pumpkin.  I love cinnamon with pumpkin.

Next, sprinkle the entire dry cake mix over the pumpkin and evenly distribute.

Cover the cake mix with the pecans.

Melt the butter and pour over the pecans and cake mix.

Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar over the entire pan.  This makes a nice streusel topping when baked.  Yum.

Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until the cake mix lightly browns. (If using gluten free cake mix, it will not get as brown as a regular cake mix)  The pumpkin should be set, so wiggle the pan to make sure it is done.  If the pumpkin is not set, it will wiggle like jello.  You don't want that.  Put the pan back in the oven until set.
When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let cool before cutting.  It cuts in nice squares and is SOOOOOOOOOOOO good.  Pumpkiny, nutty, cinnamony, streusely.  Oh my.

I made fresh whipped cream to go with ours.  I could have eaten the whole pan.  I don't eat many desserts anymore because of the whole gluten issue.  Our daughter, who is also gluten free, was so excited to have dessert and know that she could make this to enjoy at home.  She's going to have to make it because her husband sure did like it!

Now that it's finally getting cool and because it's the season for all things pumpkin, you need to make this as soon as possible.  Really.  It is easy to make, has very few ingredients, and you won't be able to resist it.  There's no sifting or mixing.  What could be better than that to have a fabulous dessert?  I say go for it!  You won't regret it.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

"Fall colors are funny.  They're so bright and intense and beautiful.  It's like nature is trying to fill
you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted
and dreary."  Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Caramel Popcorn with Dark and White Chocolate and Nuts - Oh My!

Hey friends, how are you?  Are you as happy as I am that October is here?  That means beautiful fall weather, colorful leaves, Halloween, The World Series, football, bonfires, sweaters, and all kinds of fall celebrations.  Don't know about you, but I am more than ready for it all!

Do you like popcorn?  I'm really not a big fan, but if you decorate it up enough I will eat it.  I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked SO good, so I gave it a whirl.  It was the consummate Pinterst fail.  If you have never had one, count yourself lucky.  I HATE wasting ingredients.  Even more, I hate taking the time to make something AND wasting ingredients.  Grrrrrrr.

I made the caramel recipe for the popcorn and followed the rest of the instructions.  The caramel never set - it was so gooey that you could not eat it.  I tried putting it in the freezer and it was okay as soon as you took it out, but within 10 minutes it was back to a total goo ball.  It was completely inedible.  I tossed it.  Insert sad face here.

So, I went to my tried and true caramel popcorn recipe from a Gooseberry Patch recipe book that I have had for years and started over.  I added the white chocolate and dark chocolate and nuts called for in the Pinterest recipe.  The original recipe calls for cashews (yum), but the person I was making this for doesn't care for cashews so I added peanuts.  You could add any nut of your choice because they are all good in my book.  Here is what you need:

2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
20 cups popped popcorn

3/4 cup white melting chocolate
3/4 cup dark melting chocolate
nuts of your choice

Pop your corn however you like.  I use an air popper.  Measure 20 cups and set aside in a large bowl.

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan (I use nonstick) and bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes stirring constantly so it doesn't scorch.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour over popcorn, stirring until thoroughly blended.  Spoon on a baking sheet (I use a roasting pan cause I like the deeper sides when stirring) and bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  

Melt the white and dark chocolate according to directions.  I used about 3/4 cup of each and melted it in the microwave.  Drizzle over the popcorn while still in the pan.

Sprinkle the nuts over the popcorn.  Let sit until the chocolate hardens.

Now, dive in.  This is so good.  Oh my goodness.  This would be a great treat to eat during a football game, while watching the world series, or for a Halloween party.  You could pass this around a bonfire and it wouldn't last 10 minutes.  Better make a double batch.  Don't even put it in front of kids.  It's gone in nothing flat.

I know this recipe works as I have made it for years.  I make the plain caramel corn at Christmas time and give it as gifts.  Everyone always loves it and asks for more.  It is also gluten free for all of you who have to watch your gluten intake.

Give this recipe a try.  You are going to love it.  Actually, I like just the plain caramel corn.  It's a real sweet treat.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

"Fresh popcorn is near impossible to resist, second only to fresh doughnuts."
Shannon Wiersbitzky, What Flowers Remember