From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I paid a visit to the pumpkin patch today. Surreptitiously, the trip was to select pumpkins to line the stairs that lead to entry of our home. The real reason was to watch the children pick their Halloween pumpkins. When our children were small, Halloween was second only to Christmas in terms of the excitement it generated, and certain rituals quickly became associated with the holiday. So, hot or cold, wet or dry, preparations always began with a trip to the pumpkin patch where they were set loose to find their own version of the perfect pumpkin. They could have any pumpkin they wanted as long as they could carry it back to the scales without assistance. One of my children, who to this day, swallows life in great gasping gulps, always picked the largest pumpkin in the field and, of course, was left to puzzle how it move it. Today, I was reminded of that as I watched a four year old try to move a pumpkin nearly his size through the fields. My deja vu aside, I was also struck by how much children still love this holiday. As we move closer to Halloween, those of you who are asked to bake for it, might want to keep this simple dump cake in mind. It makes enough cake to feed the immediate world and it is very, very easy to make. I have one caution to share with you, and that regards the browning of the butter that is used in the icing. Don't let it get away from you. Remove it from the heat as soon as it turns a light golden brown. It will burn if you blink. This cake is wonderfully flavorful. Pumpkin pie spice and the juice and zest of an orange combine to give the cake a unique taste that sets it apart from others of its kind. The cake is light and refreshing and the frosting is delicious. I know those of you who try the cake will enjoy it. Here's how it is made.
Orange Pumpkin Sheet Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Pillsbury Test Kitchens
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
Lightly Browned Butter Frosting
1/3 cup butter (do not use margarine)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with shortening and dust with flour, or spray with baking spray with flour.
2) Dump all bar ingredients into bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat on low speed, scraping bowl as necessary, until ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes longer. Bake 23 to 27 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
3) In 2-quart saucepan, heat butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until light golden brown. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk until smooth and spreadable. Immediately spread frosting over cooled bars. Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until set. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. If desired, garnish each bar with orange peel strip. Yield: 48 bars.
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