Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fall Foods and Fashions

A co-worker designed this outfit for the Illinois Library Association's Project Runway event last week in Chicago. I got to sew the book covers together, make the jacket and add pages to the skirt. The model is a lovely young person who works at the library. It was a fun evening, and got me inspired to sew clothes again. Other than this and some charity quilt projects, I've really only been doing blankie repair...
So Fall is here, and that brings one of my favorite flavors into the foreground - pumpkin. Readers of this blog may remember my disastrous forays into making pumpkin pie. I had a delicious pumpkin cake at Nordstrom over the weekend and am determined to copy it. I will peruse several recipes before attempting, so I don't have another nasty surprise like with the pumpkin pie recipes.
First of course, I went to my Southern Living Cakes book for their Pumpkin Cake:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin (would this work with canned pumpkin? We'll see...)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans
Spiced Whipped Cream
1 whole nutmeg, grated (optional) (What's optional? Grating the nutmeg or the nutmeg itself?)
Combine butter and sugar, beating well. Add egg and pumpkin: beat well.
Dissolve soda in buttermilk: stir well (I'm sensing a theme here). Combine 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon: add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning an ending with flour mixture. Dredge pecans in remaining 1/4 cup flour, and fold into batter.
Pour batter into 2 well greased 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes: remove from pans, and cool completely. Spread Spiced Whipped Cream between layers and on top of cake. Sprinkle nutmeg over top of cake, if desired. Yield: one 2-layer cake.
Spiced Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Beat whipping cream until foamy: gradually add powdered sugar and spices, beating until stiff peaks form. Yield: enough for one 2-layer cake.
This sounds ok, but it's got a lot of work and steps. I don't like recipes that use part of one ingredient now and more later - too hard to remember not to dump it in. Also I can never remember how to make buttermilk, or else don't have vinegar on hand.
I'm reading Fleece Navidad by Maggie Sefton - a great knitting mystery series. Plus that title was irresistible.

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