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Pumpkin Cake

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween, Little Trick-or-Treaters!

 

 

An off-cake-topic story… On my first Halloween candy-giving experience some seven years ago, I had this crazy notion to make kids trick me before – or instead of – giving them treats… I also had the apparently insane thought of giving out home-made cookies, what did I know about bizarre assumed safety rules, according to which store-bought packages of who-knows-what-unpronounceable ingredients were safer than home-made cookies made of butter, sugar and flour… Ok, ok, I get it now, I would never let my kids eat a home-made cookie from a stranger, but I wasn’t a parent then, and I don’t have 15 years of trick-or-treating experience under my belt either, give me some slack… My husband warned me that requesting a trick may not be that great of an idea, and I sweetly thought he was just being protective of his new wife and didn’t want me to get badly smothered in spray paint, my painstakingly just-completed, elaborately designed vampire-gone-witch-lacy-red-and-black renaissancy dress destroyed by some childish notion of a trick…

 

 

 

Alas, that was not what he was implying… Kids had NO idea what “trick or treat” meant! I could qualify that, now a mommy of two myself (outch, that sounds serious, and makes me feel ancient), and give 3-year-old princesses and ninjas a break – maybe they really don’t know much about tricking… Though, they’re natural into tricking unsuspecting parents into yet another bedtime story three books later, another piece of chocolate-covered macadamias with the box half-way empty, another toy of the kind piled up and forgotten in the corner, another five-minutes-turned-half-hour at the playground, another … you get the pattern.

 

 

 

 

I vividly remember standing at the door, my beautiful witchy costume at its best, hat and all, Mary Poppins would have been so proud of me, for what seemed like an eternity in the stare of a perplexed young fellow, anywhere between eight and ten years old – no clue what his costume was…

 

 

 

“Trick me”, I replied to his mumbled “Trick or Treat” greeting, the open white plastic bag pushed in front of him. He looked up from it, uncomprehendingly, as no candy fell in for a while. “Trick me!”, I said in a louder, witchy voice, thinking he may not have heard me the first time, with wrappers rustling in his bag… “Trick or Treat?” he repeated almost pleadingly, his face starting to melt very childishly for his size – not sure if he was scared of me, or of the thought he was not going to get candy… My husband emerged to his rescue with the basket of Ghirardelli chocolate squares – as close I could bring myself to “candy”. Later in the evening I was convinced past any doubt whatsoever that anything un-resembling miniature chopped-off body parts was worthless to the little trick-or-treaters… “I wanted him to trick me-eee”, I wailed loud enough for the kid to hear, while running away from our bewitched house, with his unrewarding green-wrapped mint chocolate square… My husband gently, almost parentally, smiled at the silliness of my request, which was even cuter in his nobleman outfit, hat and feather, and real sword and all…

 

 

I repeated that request throughout the candy-giving couple of hours. “Trick Me!”… “Huh?”… “Trick me!” … “?”… “Trick me-eee!” – getting witchier and witchier as the evening went on. I did get a “Boo!” – the subsided scream of a tween girl in her wannabe cheerleader pompons was the only redemption to the unimaginative crowd of youngsters, who passed through our doorsteps that Halloween… I did get some complements on my costume from a few young girls, which made it all better… And I guess I learned my lesson – give out the candy and don’t dig into semantics or pretend to be original…

 This Halloween our older son was almost four. He was, of course, a pirate. Hubby thought him some PG piraty language, so if any candy-giver might have refused to shed the valued treasures willingly, he would have screamed on top of his lungs “Walk the plank!”, pulling out his plastic dagger and assuming a swordsman’s stance.

 

 

 

 

No trick request were received.

All candy nastiness was given voluntarily. Though, I have to say that together with the above mentioned tiny body part replicas, there were some animal crackers in festive purple-and-orange packages and pumpkin- and bat-shaped single-serving pretzel baggies in my son’s pumpkin loot basket… Thank you, Neighbors, for not poisoning my child, and thank you Manufacturers for bringing some sense to this sweet Halloween madness.

 

 

And what’s the moral of this story? Oh, enough with the Trick-or-Treating didactics, just let them eat cake!

 

 

 

 

The pumpkin cake…

 

Ahm, it is a “cheater” – the pumpkin-tasting layers are Trade Joe’s pumpkin bread mix, four boxes of it. It is baked in a bundt pan I purchased for the occasion, which supposedly can hold up to 15 cups of cake mixture. The filling is cream cheese-based, with some heavy cream and I enhanced it with a jar of pumpkin butter – also Trader Joe’s. I had the most difficult time with the fondant – as a result, please note the naturally-looking texture of the pumpkin, I was shooting for a lot smoother version – because coloring it destroyed the fondant’s texture, and no amount of powdered sugar was enough to restore it. It is a new brand that I tried for the first time, Choco-Pan – it’s chocolate-based, very tasty and with no “nasty stuff” in comparison to everything else called ‘fondant’ out there – but with zero instructions on their site of the time of this post, and a very brief, bullet-pointed sticker on its box. Eventually, I resorted to corn starch, and it worked a lot better than the suggested powdered sugar, but the pumpkin was beyond salvaging in the smooth department, unless I had three more hours to spare – which at 4am, I did not…  My mom, who is visiting with us for a few weeks, stayed up with me all night for moral support and kept insisting that the roughness makes the cake look more like a real pumpkin… Eeh… Maybe.  

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cake Colage

 

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