Thanksgiving in the Abbas household consists of many traditions; family ping pong tournaments, way-too-intense games of scrabble, jazz music (which I’m still not exactly sure how it became tradition), watching football & cricket, and of course food. So Much Food.
The obvious main part of Thanksgiving is forgetting you’re on a diet and proceeding to eat the whole dining table, but in my family, it’s a little bit different. Every year we attempt (mostly successfully) to create a weird Pakistani-Indian-Also Partly Vegan-American fusion of our Thanksgiving dinner which somehow results in more food then we can devour at once. The hardest part hands down is stopping ourselves from eating too much so we have room for dessert.
Which leads to my (shocker) favorite part, dessert.
Desserts sometimes vary from year to year, but most of the time we stick to at least two different types of pies, three different types of ice cream, and a cake that I take responsibility every year.
This year I opted for my favorite pumpkin cake with roasted pecans and cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It’s a bit of a handful to say, but it sure was good.
This was three layers of crunchy pecans, creamy icing, and soft, spiced cake. Everyone knows that eating anything pumpkin flavored is basically a crime before the holiday season so this was basically what I dreamt about for the ten months before Fall started.
I started off with a double batch of my pumpkin spice cupcake batter with which I was able to get three six inch layers out of. After baking, cooling, and leveling the cake tops off, I stacked them with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans that I lightly roasted in the oven for a few minutes.
Then it was time for frosting. AKA Time For Sofia To Get Stressed™.
If you don’t know this about me already, frosting cakes is by far the most stressed I get. Like finishing an essay for AP US History before it’s due at 12 am kind of stress.
I’m naturally a perfectionist, so whenever I frost cakes, it needs to be absolutely perfect. And let me tell you, I love cream cheese frosting with all my heart, but we do not get along. It softens and melts way too quickly which results in frosting literally everywhere, the air conditioning on full blast, every light in the house turned off and the possibility of my house burning down. It’s all very dramatic.
Luckily I had the brilliant idea of coating the sides in more pecans, so that I wouldn’t spend the rest of 2017 frosting.
I then moved on to the little swirls on top which were done with a piping bag and a star tip. Remember when I said I was a bit of perfectionist? Well, apparently that wonderful quality of mine led to me tip toeing downstairs at midnight to swipe off ALL the swirls I had done in order to start over a second time. Don’t worry my lack of sleep was completely worth it. (I think)
I decided to finish the cake off with a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon and a couple of cinnamon sticks to garnish.
And so after a tense three hour drive in which I held onto my cake like a lifeline, we arrived at my cousin’s house where our traditions, jazz music and all, would start once again.
As always, thanks for reading and happy baking,
Pumpkin Spiced Layered Cake
Makes 3 six inch cakes
1 cup of oil
2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
2 cups of pumpkin puree
3 cups of organic all purpose flour
1 tbs. + 1 tsp. of baking powder
1 tbs. + 1 tsp. of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. of allspice
1/4 tsp. of cloves
1/2 tsp. of salt
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut out six inch circles of parchment paper and line three greased six inch cake pans, and then grease parchment paper.
2. Whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
3. Mix sugar and oil together in a large bowl.
4. Whisk in eggs one at a time.
5. Stir in pumpkin puree.
6. Add flour mixture in and stir until completely combined.
7. Distribute cake batter between pans and bake in oven for about 30-35 minutes or until tops of cakes spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
8. Let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.