Tag Archives: Pumpkin

Pumpkin Cake With Caramel Frosting

October is always such a pretty month here in West Michigan and also provides a lot of fun family activities at local orchards.  Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery offers a lot of fun activities such as horse-drawn hayrides, u-pick apples, wine tastings and a corn maze.  Also, their donuts are absolutely amazing.

The two photos below are ones I took at Robinette’s a couple of weeks ago.  The giant pumpkin this year weighs 1,500 pounds and is for sale for $500.  Needless to say I didn’t buy any of the giant pumpkins but it is fun to see them.

The Pumpkin Cake in this post is an easy cake to make and uses canned Libby Pure Pumpkin.  No need to carve a pumpkin for this recipe.  This cake is a single layer cake with a caramel frosting and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. It is easy to make and so delicious with the pumpkin flavor shining through.

Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Frosting

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), melted and cooled for 5 minutes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup half and half or milk
12 Kraft caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter, very soft
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Flaky Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides with baking spray.  Line the cake pan with a round of parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and beat with a hand mixer to combine.  Add the eggs, pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Beat again until well combined.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture until well combined and no lumps remain.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Combine the half and half, unwrapped caramels and brown sugar in large-size, microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes, or until caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir at 30-second intervals.

Add the vanilla and stir to combine.  With a hand mixer, beat in the soft butter and powdered sugar until combined.  Continue beating until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.  Frost the cake using an offset spatula.  Sprinkle the top of the cake with flaky sea salt and decorate as desired.  


1.  A 9-inch cake pan can be used if you don’t have an 8-inch with 2 inch sides.
2.  Recipe adapted from the cafe sucre farine.  Check out their blog for elegant but easy recipes.

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Pumpkin Scene

I am always happy when October rolls around.  I think it is our prettiest season here in Michigan.  It is also when the locally grown pumpkins start to appear in the Farmers Markets and farm stands.  I love their bright orange color and their different shapes and sizes, even the giant ones.

Giant Pumpkins

Pumpkins have been grown in North America for thousands of years and are a native plant.  In 1584, French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America.  He found what he described as “gros melons”.  The name was translated into English as “pompions” and over time has become known as the pumpkin.  Source

There are so many delicious recipes than can be made from pumpkins.  A Google search reveals a lot of recipes from sweet to savory.

My favorite way to cook with pumpkin is a traditional Pumpkin Pie.  I always bake two pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Here is a link to my post for a recipe for traditional pumpkin pie, made with either fresh pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin.

However, this year I am adding another kind of pumpkin pie to our dessert menu for Thanksgiving.  It is an easy no bake pumpkin pie with a rich creamy filling that has a delicious light taste of pumpkin and the tang of cream cheese.  It is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts.

Pumpkin Cream Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 1/2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps (approximately 24 cookies )
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2  teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1  cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

For the Crust:

Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the crushed gingersnaps, sugar and cinnamon.  Mix in the  melted butter until thoroughly combined.  Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, evenly covering the bottom and sides.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the crust is set.  Remove the pie crust from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

For the Filling:

Place a medium-sized mixing bowl and beaters of an electric mixer into the freezer while you make the cream cheese and pumpkin filling.

Beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add one cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and beat until smooth.  Set aside while preparing the whipped cream.

Pour the cream into the chilled mixing bowl.  Beat the cream until it begins to thicken.  Add the two tablespoons of powdered sugar.  Whip the cream until stiff peaks start to form, being careful not to over-beat.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese and pumpkin mixture and then spread into the pie plate.

Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.  Serve with additional whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed gingersnaps, if desired.   

Pumpkin Cream Pie


1.  Be sure to chill the mixing bowl and beaters and use heavy cream that is as cold as possible.  This  will help the cream to whip quickly and increase the volume.
2.  I used a food processor to crush the gingersnaps.  An alternative method is to place them in a ziplock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin until finely crushed.
3.  Adapted from Pumpkin Silk Pie recipe by  thegunnysack.  Visit her site for delicious recipes and beautiful photos of food.

We must not forget that jack-o’-lanterns carved from pumpkins are the star of Halloween.  While I may be terrible at carving Jack-o’-lanterns,  I don’t think the little trick or treaters mind at all.  Happy Halloween

Jack O Lantern

Pumpkin Pie

strawberry lake

Fall is a beautiful time of the year and quite possibly my favorite season. There are so many things to like about fall, the crisp air, changing leaves and beautiful orange pumpkins.


Pumpkins just seem to go hand in hand with the fall holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving, what with pumpkin pies and jack-o’-lanterns. There are so many delicious recipes using pumpkin from pies, soup, bread, cookies to Pumpkin Spice Lattes from our favorite coffee shops.

As soon as the small pie pumpkins are on the market in October, I make several pies using the fresh pumpkin puree. Since Thanksgiving and Christmas are such busy times, I use the Libby’s canned pumpkin for making pies.

Picking your own pumpkin from a local pumpkin patch can be fun and here in West Michigan there are several to choose from.

pumpkin patch1

One of our favorite pumpkin patches and orchards to visit is Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm Market at 3025 6 Mile Road NW, Grand Rapids, MI. It is located a few miles from town down country roads where you will see apple orchards on your drive there. I recently visited there and saw their huge Gentle Giant of a pumpkin.

apple orchard1

gentle giant

While pumpkin pie as we know it was not served at the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans, it is highly likely that some form of pumpkin was served. Pumpkins have been around for a very long time. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C. Native Americans were already using pumpkin in their diet centuries before the Pilgrims arrived. Source

I didn’t realize this but Morton, Illinois is known as “Pumpkin Capital of the World”. Libby has a plant there and a large percentage of canned pumpkin is produced there. I have to admit that the easiest pumpkin to use for baking or cooking is the canned pumpkin. But I do think that a pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkin tastes better and is worth the effort.

The most difficult step in preparing the pumpkin is cutting the pumpkin because pumpkins are not easy to cut. You’ll want to use a serrated knife and use a sawing motion to cut the pumpkin in half.

There are several ways to prepare the pumpkin puree from fresh pumpkins but this is the way I do it. Just be very careful when cutting the pumpkin.

Wash the exterior of the pumpkin and dry it. Carefully cut around the pumpkin stem with a serrated knife. Remove the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the stringy insides and seeds. Cut the remaining pumpkin shell in half and then into 1/2 inch slices. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp pairing knife to peel the pumpkin. Chop the peeled pumpkin into smaller chunks. Place in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain and cool.

For more information on how to prepare fresh pumpkin, see this article from Good Housekeeping which details three methods (bake, boil, and steam) for preparing pumpkin puree and can be found here.

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In large mixing bowl, blend together the pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix in the eggs. Gradually mix in the half and half. Pour into prepared pie crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge of pie comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving if desired.

Pumpkin Pie Slice

1. Sugar Pumpkins are one of the most common baking pumpkins and are often labeled “pie pumpkins”, which is the type used in this recipe.
2. The pie pumpkin used in this recipe weighed 3 pounds and yielded 6 cups of pumpkin puree.
3. A 15 ounce can of Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin can be substituted for the fresh pumpkin puree and is what I use for Thanksgiving and Christmas pies.

%d bloggers like this: