Yes, I’m a little early, but nothing compared to the retailers pushing Christmas in August!! I feel like Thanksgiving gets lost among the leaves…or rather holidays of Halloween (is that technically a holiday?) and Christmas. That being said, I’m here to hopefully encourage you to do something a little special this year. Invite someone new to your dinner table, try a new recipe or craft or better yet, treat every day like Thanksgiving. We all have something to be thankful for, even on the grayest of days.
Here’s an idea for a Thanksgiving dessert and a centerpiece all in one.
Take a look at the date on the bottom of the copied magazine page…Country Living October 2006. Do you think I saved this recipe long enough? I finally pulled it out last weekend and made the pumpkin-shaped cake. It turned out pretty good, albeit a tad dry. We really liked the combination of chocolate and pumpkin, but agree it was not quite strong enough. If I were to make this cake again, I would increase the pumpkin to 1 full cup and the pumpkin pie spice to 3 teaspoons. I used two smaller (6-cup) bundt pans and they worked fine. I only had to do a little trimming to get the cakes to stack evenly. In addition to the drizzle icing, I spread a very thin layer of chocolate icing between the layers and mixed the leftover icing with the cake trimmings and shoved them down in the middle of the cake; I knew the family would want more icing, and I needed something to support my leaves and stem. I took the easy way out and used artificial leaves and stem (chenille stems twisted tightly together). I just didn’t have time to make marzipan, although I highly recommend it because it looks so much better. If you try this cake, let me know how you make out.
Easy Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Cake
1 Devil’s Food cake mix
2 t pumpkin-pie spice (increase to 3 t)
2/3 c pumpkin (I suggest increasing to 1 c)
1/4 c softened unsalted butter
3 whole large eggs
1 cup finely ground pecans
3/4 c water
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour or use baking spray to coat two 6-cup bundt pans, 1 large bundt pan or three 6, 8, or 10-inch round cake pans if you want to do some serious carving. Double the recipe if using the round cake pans.
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat using a mixer on medium-high speed until batter is smooth. Fill the cake pan(s) and bake for approximately 25-35 minutes. Watch closely and test with a toothpick. Do not over bake. Cool cake(s) completely on a wire rack before assembling. Trim the pumpkin cake halves flat on the side that would be the bottom of the bundt pan before stacking together to form the pumpkin. If you are using round cake pans you will need to carve the cake into a pumpkin shape after stacking the layers. Decorate as desired. Viola! Easy peasy!
My grandson loves to make name cards for special occasions, so I decided to try to make pilgrims hats. This turned out easier than I expected and I’m including the instructions for you. Names and/or artwork on the hats can be provided by the little pilgrims in your life. All you need is white paper (you can use copy paper), black and yellow construction paper, scissors, glue and Scotch tape.
Lady Pilgrim’s Bonnet
Cut a piece of white paper (8-1/2 x 11 inch copy paper in half) to 5-1/2 inches x 8-1/2 inches. Fold one of the longer edges back 1 inch; this is the front of the bonnet. On the opposite side measure in 2-1/4 inches on each side and then up 1-1/2 inches toward the center of the paper. Mark the center of the same edge with a pencil dot. With your scissors, cut up to the 1-1/2 inch marks and then down to the center dot. This looks like an “M” when it is cut out (see picture).
Now, pull the center point down to the bottom of the back shaping it to fit as you go. Secure with tape. Punch a small hole in each side of the front of the bonnet. Tie a knot in the end of a 6-inch piece of string or ribbon and pull the unknotted end through the hole. Repeat on the other side. Tie a bow with the ribbons to hold the bonnet in place. All done.
From black construction paper cut a 6-inch diameter circle for the brim of hat. Cut a 4″ x 9″ rectangle of black paper. Cut a 1-1/2 inch x 8-1/2 inch piece of white paper and a 2-1/2 inch x 3-1/4 inch piece of yellow construction paper. Look at the picture above for the finished hat to use as an example for the man’s hat.
Glue the strip of white paper 1/2 inch above one long edge of the large black rectangle. When glue is dry roll the rectangle into a cylinder and tape inside and out to hold in place. Do not fold or crease this piece. Poke a hole in the center of the round piece of black paper and then cut pie-shaped wedges, approximately 2-1/2 inches, toward the outside of the circle. Fold these wedges up into the center of the cylinder and tape. Cut the center out of the yellow rectangle leaving 1/2 inch borders on all sides and glue on top of the white band at the front of the hat. I did not cover the top of the hat, but you can if you like. All done!
COMING NOVEMBER 30, 2015
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