Pumpkin, meet Butter Cake

Hello!

I’ve missed you all sooooooo much!

45 hr of work+ nursing school = when the heck do I get to blog?

I have finished up another semester of working towards my BSN, and am on Winter Break. Alleluia! But despite that equation of little sleep, a girls still gotta eat, right? So no worries, my blog family. I’m still a cooking machine!

Last year, I brought bourbon-spiked sweet potato casserole to the table. This year, I’m still keeping it orange.

There is a bakery I grew up on in Philly called Stock’s Bakery. The sticky buns, danishes, and donuts are massive. Every Easter, Grandmom gets pound cake for everyone.

But… on special occasions, we get butter cake. Not like Betty Crocker butter cake… BUTTER CAKE!

How in the world can I make this decedent, guilty pleasure? I’ve asked the universe since I was a wee one.

When I was younger, Stock’s would sell out of butter by noon. If we remembered, we would call and reserve it. It is nothing fancy to look at:

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All Photo Credit: Stock’s Bakery Facebook

 

Off-white, cracked surface, in a shallow metal tin, wrapped in wax paper. The End.

Then you cut into it, and as you remove your knife from the pan, you watch this gooey, creamy filling mask the metal of the cutlery. This thin square you have just cut is melt-in-your-mouth heaven!

Oh my goodness, I think I’m drooling on my keyboard.. Oops!

Then, last year, on one of my Cooking Channel binders, I saw Bobby Deen make a lighter version of his Mama’s Gooey Butter Cake. Game on, Bobby, game on. After reviewing his recipe, I cut it back a bit more using applesauce, liquid egg substitute, and a reduced fat cream cheese. (I can’t believe cream cheese is the secret!) But then October hit.

It’s Pumpkin Season!!!

Then November rolled around, and suddenly, it’s Thanksgiving! The family has been in a funk over the past year, and getting even funkier, but with my own apartment, now, and a dad and an uncle so close to me, it was my turn to have my very first thanksgiving!

On the Menu:

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NOT sharing

 

  • Rosemary and apricot glazed turkey breast
  • Bourbon-Spiked Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Roasted Thyme and Lemon Veggies
  • Cranberry sauce made from scratch
  • The last of the beloved Grandmom Thanksgiving Stuffing from the freezer
  • Turkey gravy
  • Spinach Roll (A Wilmington institution, Serpe’s Bakery, caught fire last year and had to close. They reopened and we had to get a slice of tomato pie. While there, Dad mentioned how difficult it must be to make their spinach and pepperoni rolls. I accepted the challenge. I think he knew I would, that sneaky old man!)

But it isn’t quite Turkey Day without…

Turkey… duh..

No, dessert!

With pumpkin on the brain, the warming scent of cinnamon air that fills the season, and a partial (very large) can of pumpkin in the fridge, the gears began-a-turning…

When I made Bobby’s cake, the “crust” was much thicker than Stock’s. Ok, let’s cut that back. Flavor was there, but… Ok, let’s “Fall” this thing up!

 Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

10-16 slices

The Cake

  • ½ package of carrot cake or spice cake- cake mix
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 1 tsp lemon juicepump
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce, maybe pumpkin

The Gooey

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin, NOT pie filling
  • ¼ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp light buttery spread (like Blue Bonnet light, or Country Crock light)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ cup powdered/confectioners sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix all cake ingredients well. Transfer to a 9 inch pie pan or square pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat the filling ingredients, slowly incorporating the powdered sugar. Pour over the cake batter and smooth the surface.

Bake 30-35 minutes, and allow it to rest and cool.

 

Optional: Drizzle with melted white chocolate. Why? Just because.

Nutrition (1/16):

Calories: 100, Fat: 1g, Sat. Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 2.2mg, Sodium: 192.6mg, Carbs: 19.8g, Fiber: 0.7g, Sugars: 12.8g, Protein: 3g

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It is a rich cake, so with a bit of whipped cream, 1/16 is quite guiltlessly satisfying. But be my guest to cut a bigger piece… You’ll want to! 

Daniel was invited to a co-worker’s house at his new base, for which I was very thankful. I think he was super excited, too, because he baked three pies to take with him! Yeah, he bakes! Crazy, right?!

So after some good company, yummy food, a glass of wine, and a slice of Fall heaven, it was time to relax.

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The following day, I was back in the kitchen! I baked ALL day! I may or may not have raided the discount rack at the farmers market and bought like 20lb of apples….

You’d think after baking 2 apple pies, 3 batches of cookies, and about 10lb of apples worth of applesauce, I’d be exhausted, right?

I could not pass up the invitation to catch up with my friends at Tim and Tori’s house! I went to high school with both of them, and now they are engaged! Timmy was my first crush in high school and Tori is one of my bridesmaids.

I walked into Timmy and Tori’s house to see a kitchen of my high school crushes! Some of them I haven’t seen since high school graduation! It was like we never parted! Hugs and laughs the whole night! It was absolutely fantastic and just what I needed to break away from the stress, monotony, and isolation of being a working student.

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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, surrounded by love and laughs!

Welcoming Fall

Last night, I noticed something. Most of my calories are eaten after 5pm, but I can’t quite figure out why. Am I hungry? Am I anxious or nervous? Am I bored? I’m not quite sure. For instance, despite my delicious veggies, and a bowl of grapes, I found myself snacking on goldfish. Not that I ate anything terrible for me, but just the point. Why do I eat more at night?

Speaking of snacking… I have got to tell you about this new cereal I bought yesterday. It was super on sale and it took serious self control to not just sit on the couch with my hand in the box. Apparently, Raisin Bran has two new styles out: Omega 3 with Flaxseed, and Cinnamon Almond. The serving size was bigger in the Cinnamon Almond and I, technically, bought it for dad. Well, it didn’t make to dad’s house, yet. Heck, its lucky it made it home from the store. It was like Special K Vanilla Almond and Raisin Bran Crunch combined into a magical cereal!

I ended my night and began my morning trying to decide between a bowl of the new cereal or a shake for breakfast. I opted for the shake to ring in the first day of Fall.

WP_004011Before my shake, I threw a turnkey into the oven. After last weeks turkey sandwich-made-salad, and dad relentless requests, I threw a whole turkey into the oven. My secrets to a juicy, tender, and evenly cooked turkey? Use a turkey bag and bake the turkey up-side-down (as in breast facing the bottom of the pan). Another turkey trick is to always keep empty jars on hand. Don’t throw out those old salsa jars. Keep them for easy disposal of grease. It never ceases to amaze me how much fat comes off a turkey, even when I remove excess fat before baking!

Breakfast was a pumpkin pie shake! It was so yummy, and, surprisingly, the banana makes it. I made one for Frank and my dad! Thanks for the recipe, Julie. I followed it up with a Caramel Vanilla Cream K cup, spiked with SF white chocolate syrup.

WP_004003After breakfast and some bill paying, I welcomed the new season once more with a zip up and my  boots! Boot season is among us, people! I’m not a particular fan of cold weather, but I love boots! Frank and I headed out for a few errands, and I got two more things to welcome the sudden change of temperature: 2 new sport bras and a pair of fitted long workout pants!WP_004013

Arriving home was splendid! The smell of the roasting turkey hit us like a wall as we opened the door. Frank and I made ourselves some lunch and basked in the turkey aroma! I made a bowl of broccoli soup, topped with goldfish, and Frank heated up a Healthy Choice frozen meal.

WP_004007To kill some time, I prepared the ingredients for my dinner and future lunches. Cranberry sauce is not that popular of an item in this house, so when I do open a can, I freeze whats left, by the tablespoon. I took out 2 Tbsp of the jellied cranberry sauce out of the freezer and, when defrosted, mixed it with 1 Tbsp light mayo. As the flavors blended, I chopped up celery and scallions, and mixed it with mayo, black pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. All that was left was for the turkey to finish!

It finished just in time for dad to come over! Baked to perfection! The best part about being the one who cleans the turkey, is being the taste tester! After I cleaned and divided the turkey, I put some aside for dad, some aside for chili, and some in the celery, scallion, and mayo mix from earlier. Following dad’s departure, I chopped a bunch of iceberg lettuce, tore up turkey, and tore apart 1/2 slice of wheat bread. I drizzled half of my cranberry/mayo mix over top and dug in! Oh my gosh it was just like a Bobbie!

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Something came over me. I went into a frenzy! I ate a cucumber and grapes to chill out. I just had to get out of the house, before I ate any more. I had called dad to see how he was feeling (his knee had been bothering him), and told him about my salad. He exclaimed how awesome it sounded and I offered to come over and make one for him. I think he liked that idea.

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WP_004012I was beginning to feel to turkey’s tryptophan kicking in and debated not going to Zumba. After feeling so manic, I needed to go! I arrived at Zumba decked out in my new gear, ready to go. Wouldn’t you know the sound system was acting up! Come one, universe, really?! After talking, standing around, goofing off, and making phone calls, we were finally patched, and Alex, the instructor, lead half a class and gave us all a free class. Yay! I came home, feeling a bit better, and went to town on some cucumber and salsa to get my crunch and nervous energy out of my system.

After a shower, a few phone calls, and the season premier of “How I Met Your Mother,” I am ready for some chill time.