Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Day Training - NaBloPoMo Day 21

I think I've mentioned before that I'm the only female in my group at work. I'm almost the only female withing 10 rows of where I sit actually. Women tend to be more inclined to do things like plan parties or organize ways for coworkers to socialize. If I were a manager, I would provide lots of opportunities for my workers to get to know each other. I believe there's no better way to help people work together better then to provide opportunities for them to figure out that they actually like each other.

Because my manager doesn't hold that belief AT ALL, I took it upon myself to plan a Thanksgiving appetizer potluck. I did this in my last group as well, and it always turned into a really fun way for people to chat, if only for 5 minutes between meetings, as we gathered 'round the potluck table. So in an effort to try to get my odd new little group to be a bit more friendly, I sent out an email last week and I couldn't believe the response! They were actually excited! And my stodgy old boss even read my email in the staff meeting and announced what a GREAT idea it was, and that we should do this more often.

The food started coming out at 8:30am this morning. Pies, cookies, veggies, hummus, smoked salmon dip, tortilla pinwheels.... Then at 10:30 the big guns came out. Turkey, breads, salmon, corn casserole, all kinds of soda, more pies.... Ohhhhh. My problem is that I don't have an off button! And I KNEW that I was going out for Mexican food for lunch with my family today, but I still ate. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, and afterall, I did plan the thing. I'm never eating again....

Thanksgiving this year is going to be a piece of cake (pie). It worked out that Ryan's parents are able to join us for Thankgiving at my parents' house. It should be great. My family, his family, and my grandma's in town too. I convinced my mom to let me be in charge of dessert, and she's really having a hard time letting go of the pumpkin pie thing. I like pumpkin pie as much as the next girl, but why settle for pie when you can have.... PUMPKIN CRUMBLE CAKE. I swear I think about this cake all year in anticipation of fall.

In case you're looking for a fun crowd-pleasing recipe to replace the tired old pumpkin pie this year, check out The Cake Mix Doctor's (I heart you Cake Mix Doctor!) Pumpkin Crumble Cake. Recipe below. Pictures to follow when I make it in a few days.

Serves: 18 to 20
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 70 to 75 minutes
Assembly time: 5 minutes

  • Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pan

  • Flour for dusting the pan

  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temperature

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin

  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, chilled

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • Sweetened whipped cream for topping

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with solid vegetable shortening, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set the pan aside.

  2. Measure out 1 cup of the cake mix and reserve for the topping. Place the remaining cake mix, the butter, and 1 egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 1 minute. Using your fingertips, press the batter over the bottom of the prepared pan so that it reaches the sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.

  3. For the filling, place the pumpkin, evaporated milk, 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 eggs, and cinnamon in the same large mixing bowl used to prepare the batter and with the same beaters (no need to clean either), blend on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the mixture lightens in color and texture, 1 to 2 minutes more. Pour the filling over the crust in the pan, spreading to the sides of the pan with a rubber spatula. Set the pan aside.

  4. For the topping, place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the chilled butter, and the reserved cake mix in a clean medium-size mixing bowl. Rinse and dry the beaters. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined and crumbly, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stop the machine and stir in the pecans. Use your fingers to thoroughly knead the pecans into the topping mixture. Distribute the topping evenly over the filling mixture. Place the pan in the oven.

  5. Bake the cake until the center no longer jiggles when you shake the pan and the pecans on top have browned, 70 to 75 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly on a wire rack, 20 minutes.

  6. Prepare two recipes of the Sweetened Cream. Slice the cake into squares and pass the Sweetened Cream to spoon on top.

* Store this cake without the Sweetened Cream on it, covered in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found this recipe just in time. Thanks!

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Erin Kate said...

This looks really good!

9:34 AM  
Blogger Norma said...

Sounds terrific. I've dropped it into my recipe file.

I make a wonderful peanut butter pie, and I discovered I could add 1/3 can of pumpkin and it doesn't change the taste or color and reduces the calories.

1:33 PM  

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