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Monday, October 26, 2009

Best pumpkin cake ever


Really. It turns out the secret to extra-moist cake is vegetable oil!?

My recipe is based on this one. Despite having lots of oil and sugar it is AMAZING. So far my adjustments to the ingredients have not disrupted the integrity of its flavor or moistness. Once I've got the recipe down, I'll try making cupcakes with it. I can't imagine the format would make a difference to the final output, but better safe than sorry.

I first concentrated on replacing the white flour with as much wheat flour as possible. (I've got it to 1 cup white flour and 1 cup wheat flour.) Next was to reduce the sugar...so far I've brought it down from 2 cups to 1 1/4 cup. Of course, the sugar reduction was negated by the 3/4 cup of chocolate chips I added, but it's still better than the chocolate plus the original amount of sugar.

Right?

I tried reducing the oil and adding applesauce. I found that the interior moistness remained, but it gave the exterior a slight crunchiness that I didn't like. I'd rather just keep all the oil and not eat the cake like it's a main dish.

Just in case the link becomes unavailable, here's my modified version of the recipe:

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups white sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 12x18 inch pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine sugar and oil. Blend in vanilla and pumpkin, then beat in eggs one at a time. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared 12x18 inch pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Cousin sleepover

    Two of our nephews spent last Friday night with us. I didn't have anything crafty planned or a specific outing...just pizza and a movie and then bedtime. It was the first time we've had them over---which as they're 6 and 9 years old seems rather shameful. But times change...we used to see them a LOT more than we do now so sleepovers were never a thought. I'm actively working on changing that, though. The 9 year old and Oldest are so sweet together that it warms the cockles of my heart watching their interchanges. The 6 year old is two years older than Youngest so they don't have that much in common, but as a group they get along very well.

    As supported by this, unstaged, picture.




    My oldest nephew is playing his DSi while the others watch. (Hmmm. Have we come full circle in terms of electronic screens? Small to extra-large back to small...)

    I absolutely love having relatives over and making memories with them. We'll be seeing them again tomorrow as we head over to Marietta Square for its 33rd annual Harvest Square Arts and Crafts Festival. There'll be arts and crafts (duh), scarecrow contest entries, a kids' costume contest, a pet costume contest. We're not prepared to participate in the kids' costume contest, but this family will be represented next year. Husband is an EXCELLENT costume-maker!.

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    Welcome to my gym



    Since becoming an over-scheduled parent, I've attempted several times to incorporate exercise into my daily life. Each plan and good intention was invariably thwarted in some way. One July I started swimming in the early morning only to later discover that the pool would be closed during the entire month of August. I started hiking at a local state park only to learn a few days later that someone was attacking females there. I started walking in my neighborhood only to develop severe lower back pain due to my swayback (such an old-fashioned word!). I truly have multiple examples of how each of my plans was foiled.

    So here's my newest creative approach to getting exercise...my office building's stairwell. It is a really great workout and fits so well into my schedule. In about 5 minutes I can climb 17 flights of stairs, get my heart rate up, tone my muscles and then get back to work. Perfect. (Knock on wood.)

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Budding artist

    Here's a drawing that my four year old did last week.



    It's of him at the park. On the right, he drew a kid on a slide. He told his dad that it was the same kid and the reason he drew more than one is because he wanted to show the motion of the boy going down the slide.

    His dad, a graphic designer and illustrator, can barely contain his pride. Mom, of course, is very proud as well.