Sunday, November 23, 2014

What, no ear worms? - Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Must be because I am now officially in the Thanksgiving groove.   But before I even get to that I recently needed to prepare a dessert for our holiday luncheon.   That decision turned out to be really easy - pumpkin gooey butter cake.   Oh I considered brownies, and better than sex cake, and even pig pickin' cake.  But those ideas whooshed so fast through my brain there was barely a lingering scent of warm chocolate from the brownies.

Speaking of whooshing ideas, I have already changed the Thanksgiving dinner menu. I'm going with oyster stuffing. With two kinds of bread, some sausage, corn kernels, red bell pepper and some other stuff. Leeks instead of ordinary onions.  Stuffing should have interesting stuff in it and this one certainly will.  Fishy stuff, piggy stuff, veggie stuff, herby stuff and you get the idea  And I can prepare it in advance. Working with recipes that can be prepared in advance is the most important strategy for Thanksgiving dinner.

Back to the dessert - I once got verschicknert on pumpkin gooey butter cake. True story. This was Thanksgiving 2003, and for the first time since 2000, we were home for the holiday.  It was also almost 6 months since my gastric bypass surgery and I was 80 or 90 pounds down.  Those six months had been full of new eating adventures - discovering what I could and couldn't eat; rediscovering coffee; learning that dumping is not just something that happens at Jersey landfills.  I am not going to lie, there were rough times.  I do not recommend this surgery to anyone, because not everyone is mentally or physically ready for it.  Some people get terribly sick or die.  Some get divorced.  And others gain their weight back, all of it.  Would I go for the surgery again?  Absolutely.  But that's me.

Anyway, I made the pumpkin gooey butter cake as one of many desserts.  I had not been eating sweets for 6 months - really had no interest in them - but this was a brand new recipe for me, and it was creamy almost like a cheesecake, so I sliced a wafer-thin piece from the edge, just to taste.  Nirvana.  I tasted a few more times. I stopped when I developed the sugar-fueled, completely  irrational belief that I was going to wake up the next morning having gained back all of those 90 pounds.  Shortly thereafter, I felt like I was going to toss my cookie bars.  My head started to spin, I felt queasy, and ended up having to lie down on the couch for a good half hour.

It's called dumping, a super-hypoglycemic reaction to sweets experienced by us posties (post-surgical gastric bypass folks) in the early stages of recovery.  I still have it happen occasionally, and recently gave up even the smallest amount of ice cream for good, because it just isn't worth feeling like I had drunk two strong Cosmos while on a cruise ship caught in a hurricane.

I haven't baked the pumpkin gooey butter cakes since then, and I surely will not take a chance and taste them at the holiday luncheon, but that's no reason my coworkers shouldn't enjoy something really really delicious.

This is my version of the pumpkin bars.  I switched, cut, and added some ingredients for a slightly more complex combination of flavors and texture.  More festive for the holiday.

Cake base:
1 (18 1/4 oz) package spice cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 cup pecan meal
1/2 cup lingonberries

Pumpkin filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
3 eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar (next time I cut this back a bit)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350°.

Prepare cake base: 
While oven is preheating, melt the butter in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Remove from the oven once melted, and set aside to cool.   In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and the melted butter and mix with a wooden spoon.  Set aside the baking pan, which is now greased and ready to go. Next add the egg and mix well.  If the dough is a bit difficult to work together with the spoon, switch to your hands. Add the pecan meal.  Pat the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 5 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes, then spread the lingonberries over the crust.

Prepare filling:
In a large bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and softened butter together until smooth and light. Next beat in the pumpkin. Add the 3 eggs and the vanilla, and beat together.

Next, add the powdered sugar about 1/3 at a time.  Use a sieve so that the sugar isn't clumped up.  Finally, add the pumpkin pie spice and mix well.

Spread pumpkin mixture over the cake base and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey, but you don't want the center to be runny.  Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Now the funny part - not ha ha funny, but funny - I never made it to the holiday party and neither did the pumpkin bars.  I woke up early to make sure they were all cut neatly, and then left them in the refrigerator and headed to court for another day, and hopefully the last day, of a lengthy trial.  My plan was to scoot home at lunchtime, retrieve the pumpkin bars, bring them to the office, eat a forkful of mashed potatoes, and head back to court.  Didn't happen that way because of the need to restart the trial one hour earlier than anticipated, so ... tomorrow is another day.  It might not be a party, but my legal peeps will have a little sweet treat, always nice any day of the week.

Not sure you can see the layers of cookie base, lingonberries, and pumpkin filling, but I have it on good authority from the Official Taste Tester that they are delicious.  Maybe I'll leave a few home for him.

You can serve these with Cool Whip or real whipped cream.  Since I can no longer eat Cool Whip - it hates me, and after a lifelong relationship, that hurts - I would have to go the real stuff route.  Or eat 'em naked (the bars. I plan on wearing clothes.)

No comments:

Post a Comment