When I think of fall, I think Thanksgiving. And when I think Thanksgiving, I immediately think "pumpkin." Pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cookies ... everyone in my family always looks forward to that pumpkin treat.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year because I love to bake. With our family gathering together to share good food and good company, it is my chance to prepare a fabulous dessert. There is nothing I enjoy more than spreading the joy to my friends and family that an amazing dessert can deliver.
With Thanksgiving so closely upon us, I want to make a dessert this year with a "Wow!" factor. The first dessert that comes to mind is this pumpkin torte recipe.
Tribune Chronicle / Debbie Wilson
This pumpkin torte is a decadent and delicious addition to your holiday table for Thanksgiving.
While searching for a fall-themed dessert, I happened to stumble upon this recipe from one of my many Taste of Home cookbooks. I realized right away that it was a winner. I prepared it for the Tribune Chronicle's Taste of Home show at Packard Music Hall last month.
The base of this torte starts with a cake mix, therefore, most of the dry ingredients are already assembled for you. What could be easier than that?
It can be made in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, but I prefer to use two round 9-inch cake pans. The end result is a much more spectacular display.
1 package (18 1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin, divided (1 cup for cake, remaining for filling)
1/2 cup milk (Carnation Milk works well)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, eggs, oil and pumpkin pie spice. Beat on low speed of mixer for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Remaining pumpkin from cake (about 1/2 cup)
1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the remaining pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice; beat until blended. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping.
Cut each cake horizontally into two layers to make four layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate and spread with a fourth of the filling. Repeat the laters three more times. Drizzle the cake with caramel topping and sprinkle with pecans. Store in refrigerator.
To toast pecans (optional), place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for five to eight minutes. When you start to smell the pecan aroma, they will be done. Watch carefully - if the nuts are in the oven too long, they could scorch. Toasting the pecans brings out more of the intense flavor of the nut, and gives it a little extra crunch.
SOURCE:?Taste of Home Contest Winning Recipes 2010
I found that when baking this cake, it only took 25 minutes to bake to the desired consistency. Setting the timer for less time can save your cake from becoming too dry. Additional time can always be added if the cake is not quite done.
When mixing the filling, I used Cool Whip whipped topping. Do not use a mixer to blend in the whipped topping. By folding it in until it is incorporated, it adds air into the mixture. That gives it a light and fluffy texture.
I was a little skeptical when preparing the filling and almost substituted a plain whipped cream frosting in place of the pumpkin spiced filling. But the canned pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice in this filling complements the cake very well. I would not change a thing in this recipe.
Once the torte is layered with the filling, it is time for the finishing touches. Ah, yes! The caramel drizzle and pecans make this torte truly decadent.
As I was passing through the kitchen at the Taste of Home show with this finished product, I was amazed at the many oohs and aahs from the staff members. And once the cake was placed on my table and the doors were opened, many people passed by with very rewarding comments such as "Wow, that cake looks amazing." I was asked if I was going to raffle the cake off later during the show or if samples could be purchased.
If you want a dessert that is over-the-top for Thanksgiving, this pumpkin torte is an excellent choice. It makes a very impressive presentation and tastes every bit as good as it looks. Whatever event you are preparing this torte for, be sure to take the recipe along with you because I am sure you will be getting many requests for a copy of it. This is definitely a prize-winner, not only for Thanksgiving but any time.
I know I will be adding it to my favorites and passing it on to my family and friends this Thanksgiving.