Carolyn’s Easy Pumpkin Cake

October 26th, 2013

I refuse to call this a pumpkin dump cake, but that is really what it is;  a pumpkin mixture, topped with a yellow cake mix, topped with pecans and coconut and then melted butter.  Plain pumpkin cake sounds so much better.  But whatever you call it, it is easy and delicious.  This is one of those desserts that you can throw together at the last minute with pantry ingredients.  This time of year a pumpkin dessert is always welcomed.

This cake first got my notice when it was given to me by one of my friends for a cookbook that we were putting together.  Our self-published cookbook has a pride of place on my cookbook shelf.  It contains the favorite recipes of all of my high school friends and was compiled twenty years after we graduated.  We had fun doing it and I find myself referring to it quite often.

I made this cake for my Son’s new girlfriend years ago.  It was her birthday and the ingredients were what I had on hand.  She loved it.  That girlfriend turned into my daughter-in-law, Kristen.  Kristen even shared the recipe with her family and it became a Thanksgiving tradition in their homes.  It is heartwarming when a recipe can make good memories.  So thank you to Carolyn for sharing her recipe in our cookbook.  Each time I make something from the cookbook, I am reminded of my good friends from years past.


29 ounce can pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling)
12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box yellow cake mix, about 3 cups (You can make your own cake mix if you prefer.  Here is the recipe.
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup butter, melted
1 carton Cool Whip or Whipped cream

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, and salt together.  Pour into 9X13 greased pan.  Sprinkle 1 box of yellow cake mix over pumpkin.  Sprinkle on chopped nuts and coconut.  Pour melted butter over top and bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes.  Serve topped with cool whip or whipped cream.

 Printable recipe


Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Bread

September 28th, 2013

The changing of the seasons seem to be speeding up in my life.  I want to hold each precious moment in the palm of my hand and grasp it greedily so as not to let it fly away.  I want to be here for my Granddaughter’s wedding someday.  I want to witness what my precocious Grandson becomes.  All of these thoughts intensify with the arrival of Fall.  There is an urgency to Fall.  Squirrels gather their acorns.  Farmers harvest their crops and gather hay.  Many of us can and freeze the bounty from our gardens.  Fall is the season for soups, pumpkins, stews and freshly baked bread.  Fall food is solace for the soul and gives us a reason to look forward to Spring and bright days ahead.

Few things smell as good as pumpkin and cinnamon baking in the oven.  One of my favorite pies is pumpkin.  But this pumpkin flavored quick bread has also become a favorite.  The recipe appeared in a 2003 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  The article and recipe came from Ken Haedrich.  I have written about Ken before in this post.  By the way, I am still waiting for a guest post from you Ken.  He has a very informative website called The Pie Academy.

This is a dense and moist quick bread that is studded with cranberries and walnuts.  Eating a slice and sipping a cup of coffee while gazing at the changing colors across the lake is a celebration of all that is good about Fall.  The urgency and cold winds of Winter can wait.


2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a standard loaf pan.  Line bottom and 2 long sides with waxed paper.  Whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy.  Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until blended.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Beat in pumpkin, then vanilla.  Beat in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions each.  Fold in cranberries and nuts.  Transfer batter to pan.

Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.  Cool bread in pan on rack 15 minutes.  Cut around bread at short ends to loosen from pan.  Turn bread out onto rack; peel off waxed paper.  Cool bread completely.

Printable recipe

Biscoff Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies and a Perfect Fall Day

October 27th, 2012

The weather is rapidly changing as both hurricane Sandy and Winter bear down upon us.  But last Thursday was a perfect Fall day in North Carolina.  I baked these delightfully Fall tasting cookies after a day spent with one of my best buddies and blogging pals, the other Penny.  Penny has two blogs now; her lifestyle blog, The Comforts of Home and her cooking blog, From Harvest to Table.  We spent the morning in Asheville antiquing in the downtown area.  It is so much fun to spend time with someone who shares your interests.  We were both on the same quest.  We were looking for props for our cooking blogs.  After a successful morning of shopping we stopped for lunch at Creperie Bouchon.

The leaves were falling and the dappled sunshine made eating outside delightful.  Not even leaves falling into our crisp Sauvignon Blanc deterred us.

Our lunches of Pesto Chicken Crepes with arugula, tomatoes and Swiss were just right.

We couldn’t resist the frites dusted with Herbes de Provence and served with Roasted Red Pepper Mayonnaise.  Perfect.

One of my purchases was this cute blue polka dot plate.  It pairs well with the milk bottle that I picked up in France this summer.  It inspired me to make these cookies with cinnamon spices,  pumpkin and biscoff spread.  I am cleaning out my pantry  before my return to Florida and my jar of biscoff had just enough left in it.  I found the recipe on the Two Peas and Their Pod blog.  A perfect recipe for a perfect day.



1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup Biscoff Spread
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and Biscoff spread and mix until combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Stir in the oats.
5. Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden and just firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack

Printable recipe

Pumpkin-Parmesan Biscuits

October 19th, 2012

Sometimes, all I want for breakfast is a warm biscuit, scone or corn muffin.  There is something satisfying about a hot cup of coffee and bread that is not too sweet, but just right.  Biscuits have a long history in the South and any Southerners worth their salt can make biscuits in their sleep: dump, mix and kneed.  They have not been easy for me because I grew up in Michigan and biscuits never crossed my Mother’s table.

I have had many disasters with biscuits and was sure that I did not possess the biscuit gene.  But the secret to great fluffy biscuits is not to worry about them.  Don’t handle them too much and cut the butter into them with abandon.  Now I get it.

These pumpkin-Parmesan biscuits were featured in The Food Network Magazine.  They are perfect for this time of year with a hint of pumpkin, nutmeg and Parmesan.  The pumpkin lends them a light orange color and they are delicious hot out of the oven or warmed up the next morning.

The pumpkin-Parmesan biscuits are great with just butter.  But they would be great split and stuffed with sage flavored sausage patties for a brunch or served in a basket for a Thanksgiving dinner.  But I am enjoying them for breakfast for the next few days.  Wish you could join me.


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/8 tsp dry nutmeg)
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced, plus melted butter for brushing
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Whisk in 1 tablespoon Parmesan.  Add the diced butter and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.  Mix the pumpkin and cream in a small bowl and pour over the flour mixture.  Mix with your hands or a fork to make soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into 3/4-inch-thick rectangle using a floured rolling pin.  Cut out biscuits using a 2-inch-round cutter and arrange about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  (You will need to gently re-roll scrapes to get all of your biscuits).  Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan.  Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the biscuits cool slightly before serving or cool completely and freeze.

Makes 12 to 14 biscuits

Printable recipe

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

September 24th, 2012

This was a fun idea that I picked up from Food Network Magazine.  Simply flavor cream cheese with shredded cheddar, salsa,  and nacho flavorings and then roll into a ball and refrigerate.

When it is firm, roll it in crushed nacho flavored chips to give it a pumpkin color.  The hardest part was finding a bell pepper stem to use on the top.  If you have peppers in your garden, this should not an issue, but my supermarket did not have a lot of pretty stems to choose from.  I was happy with the festive look anyway.

Happy Fall!


16 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons salsa
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno

Nacho-flavored tortilla chips, crushed
Bell pepper stem

With a mixer, blend the first 6 ingredients together.  Scoop into plastic wrap and use the wrap to form the mixture into a 5-inch pumpkin-shaped ball; chill at least 2 hours.  To serve, unwrap, roll in crushed nacho-flavored tortilla chips and press a bell pepper stem into the top.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.