Friday, October 05, 2007

Pumpkin Post

So the new color is supposed to be pumpkiny. Frankly, I think it looks a little rusty. Once George gets some time, I am hoping he can add a pumpkiny picture. Remember last year when we had a picture of one year old Amabel in the pumpkin patch? So cute! Anyway, the only thing I know how to do is upload pictures off the internet. I figure pictures of actual pumpkins is boring, but then I got the Crate and Barrel catalog today, which is chocked full of pumpkiny delights! Of course, that is nothing compared to what Williams Sonoma offers. A few years back, George got me the pumpkin pan that makes the big pumpkin cake on the left. I sort of don't like the cheesy ivy in the picture, but isn't it a fun cake?! This other from Crate and Barrel looks a little less complicated- but then of course, when it comes to baking, I like complicated.
Sorry, Crate and Barrel pictures won't upload. How annoying! There's also a mini pumpkin cheesecake pan if you're a cheesecakey person (which I am not), a cute little pumpkin trivet, a pumpkin teapot (which doesn't look so pumpkiny to me), pumpkin dessert plates, and various other pumpkin serving pieces. Williams Sonoma has some similar, but more festive pieces like those on the left. They also have their own pumpkin dessert plates which match the serving ware, salt and pepper shakers and place card holders too! All of the bakeware is available on Sur la Table's website which also has a neat molded loaf pan with pumpkins on top (they used to have it at Williams Sonoma too as it is made by Nordicware who also makes this fall pan- though not pumpkin, it is fun). While we're running through this, I might as well include the link to Wilton's Autumn page, lots of goodies there too.

While all of this is super fun, what I really want, since y'all are all so good at keeping an eye out for me, is something with pumpkins or leaves on it that also has blue. I said this before, I think. My dishes are these clunky Pottery Barn dishes with a cobalt blue stripe around each piece. They are not delicate or formal at all. And I love them. If I ever do chance to find something blue and fallish, it is somehow cheesy or delicate (or both). Something similar to what I posted from the Coton Colors Pottery website is the style I would like, but none of their fall stuff has any blue in it. Anyone know where I might find something similar (and less expensive!)? I have thought of making it myself at a pottery painting place, but 1) I don't trust my skills and 2) the places I know about have a beige color to the pieces and I like a crisp white. Then again, this is turning more gimme gimme, and less autumnally celebratory. One more pumpkin picture (hooty hoot! how to here) and a recipe for y'all should any of you choose to get one of the pumpkiny pans for the season! I have never found a good icing for this cake, but it is nicest just with sifted powdered sugar (and sometimes cocoa and/or cinnamon too) dusting the top.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

2 1/2 cups plus 2T all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2T good-quality cocoa
1T baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. fresh-grated nutmeg (please! just open the jar!)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs

-Prepare cake pans with butter and parchment (or cupcake liners for cupcakes).
-Preheat oven to 350 (or 375 for cupcakes).
-Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside.
-Combine buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.
-Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl at medium speed until fluffy.
-Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is smooth and light.
-Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.
-Divide batter among the pans and bake until wooden skewer inserted into middle comes out clean- about 35 minutes (or 22 for cupcakes).
-Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes.


Anonymous said...

i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pumpkin time! what fun links! we're taking jones to the pumpkin patch for his birthday next weekend and i'm making his own little patch o' mini cake pumpkins to celebrate. i'll let you know how it turns out. FALL ROCKS!

Wrights said...

fall is my favorite and i am so glad that you are celebrating too! i think that fall is the reason i liked cross country so much (and of course when we "did" 10 miles!) the background color is good and pumpkiny,i think! have you tried the pumpkin spice latte at starbucks? it is yum!

Fittsy said...

good-quality cocoa - so what do you use?


Abby said...

"good quality" yeah, sorry. i was just mindlessly copying the recipe from the original magazine clipping. i have always used Hershey's. In two Cook's Illustrated's articles on cocoa tasting, they say their favorite is "Callebaut" at $20 for 2.2 pounds! Whoa! It is mail order. See, that's totally the kind of thing I could blow $20 on! Thank goodness it's not sitting on a shelf somewhere where I might just throw it in my basket! The first article, "Much Ado About Dutching" (all their favorites are Dutch processed) says Hershey's Dutch processed came in second place after Callebaut in all tastings and that it is the "best overall value" commenting on "full body," "fudgy flavor," and "creamy chocolatey goodness." Next after Hershey's in that test was a brand called Droste. Even so,in the other article called "Chocolate 101" (just 5 issues later)they recommend Droste as "best supermarket brand" and have it at $5.49 for 8.8 ounces. They don't have the whole big write up and tastings, they are going through all types of chocolates and just have a bit on each type. In the cocoa category, it just says Callebaut is best and Droste is "best supermarket brand." All that to say, if you feel like Hershey's is too boring, obvious, common, etc. I guess you could try Droste before you go spending $20. I have no idea what the author of this recipe had in mind. I clipped it from Country Living in 2005 and it doesn't give a note about the cocoa except to say "good quality." Long answer huh? Leave it to me!!

Fittsy said...

I've bought Hershey's Dutch process a few times and definitely think that it has a richer taste. They don't sell it at Sam's, and since cocoa is a bulk buy for me, I just get regular most of the time. But, for what it's worth, I have noted the difference. (And I'm always glad when Mr. Kimble and team agree!)

Olive said...

Hsve you checked the Goodwill? It's my favorite store for filling in my collections. Plus, if you go to the right ones after a holliday (and well even before and during) you can get things from places like Target that give them their old merchandise. It might be a year or two behind, but it's still new. Plus, there's always the random decoration things that are SUCH a bonus. I LOVE the Goodwill! I collect vintage Pryrex (the colored ones) and Goodwill always has the best peices and prices.

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