Thursday, December 4, 2014

Annnddd We Turned THREE... (Over a Month Ago)


Ummm, it's the holidays. Thanksgiving just finished. CHRISTMAS IS COMING!! Oh, and I was in Maine. Forgive me. I fell behind. I had plans. Honestly, I remembered Sweet B's anniversary was approaching and I had plans.

And then I glanced at the calendar, and oh my stars, it's November! And anything related to the month of October left my mind completely.


When I finally realized I missed my date, I glanced at the up-coming weeks to find a day in need of celebration and cake.

Who waits for a time to celebrate with cake? Who needs the excuse? [I raise my hand.]

Who is the lamest person on Earth? [I raise my hand, reluctantly, but nobody can see me so I'm not too embarrassed.]

I know. I know. Please don't stop reading. I'm sorry. I'm not a cake person. I just don't have the sweet tooth I once had. No? Not believable? Okay, then I can't have a cake just sitting around the house because I will eat it all myself and then I'll have to do more than just a yoga workout to make up for it or live with the fact that I can't fit into my skinny jeans because I just ate an entire cake by myself and this will not help the fact that cookie baking season is right around the corner and that's a sure bet my skinny jeans will be out of commission until January anyway and with all the baking and eating and sampling and eating when will I have the time to do more than a yoga workout let alone even attempt to try on my skinny jeans?

I digress. The cake. The cake was.... a TRIFLE.


Yes, this mess happened.

I had everything I needed to make this beautiful, eye-catching, four-layer Thanksgiving dessert. Everything except a sturdy cake. The pumpkin in the cake batter made it extremely moist and once halved, the layers just leaned into a hot mess. I took one look at my cake stand, flipped it over into a bowl, and created this beautiful, eye-catching Thanksgiving trifle. No one knew. Except I told everybody. And now I'm telling you.

I'm not really one for secrets. Unless it's a big, juicy one then by all means...let me grab my coffee.

I found the recipe for this pumpkin cake in The Chew cookbook I received last Christmas, and ever since I have had my eye on Carla Hall's stunning Pumpkin Cake with a Chocolate Ganache. It's just gorgeous. The perfect centerpiece of a great meal. Well, this just goes to show any cake can inspire the perfect TRIFLE centerpiece.

This was absolutely as mouthwatering as its photo. However, I made many substitutions, so I'm providing my adapted recipe below. The biggest adjustment was the sugar. OH MY STARS! I could not believe how much sugar was in this recipe. My teeth hurt just reading the ingredient list. My teeth thanked me later. Yikes. And my sweets-loving father-in-law also thanked me. To say it's rich and decadent is an understatement. To say it's absolutely delicious is also an understatement. The perfect showstopper.

Layered Pumpkin Trifle with Chocolate Ganache
*adapted from Carla Hall's recipe

Serves 12

Pumpkin Chocolate Cake:

1 1/2 c sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs 
2 flax eggs (1 T flax seed + 3 T water per egg)
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
3 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t salt
2 c pumpkin puree

Mascarpone Filling:

2 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 T pumpkin pie spice
1 c pumpkin puree
2 t salt  
2 cups mascarpone  (I could not find this anywhere, locally, so I made my own version: combine 2 (8-oz) pkgs Neufchatel cream cheese, 1/4 c heavy whipping cream, and 2 1/2 T plain Greek yogurt until fluffy. This should equal 2 cups.)

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

3 T corn syrup
6 oz heavy whipping cream
12 oz dark chocolate, chopped into small bits  (I like 85% dark)
1/2 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 9" cake pans. Combine sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and flax eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Whisk dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Stir the dry into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the pumpkin puree. Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Rotate pans half way through cooking. When a toothpick comes out clean, the cakes are done. Let cool for 5 minutes and then turn cakes out onto cooling racks. While the cakes are cooking make the filling. Beat the mascarpone (or mascarpone substitute) and the pumpkin puree until blended, then add the pumpkin pie spice, salt, and powdered sugar. Mix at a high speed until blended (about 1 minute). Once it's fully combined add vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds. Make the ganache in a small saucepan. Combine the corn syrup and cream and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Once the cakes have cooled completely, make the trifle or the original cake version.... 

Trifle: Tear the cake into chunks, using hands or a knife. Alternately layer the cake pieces, mascarpone mixture, and the chocolate ganache. No rhyme or reason, just make it look beautiful :)

Cake: Cut through each cake horizontally with a serrated knife (there will now be four rounds of cake to work with). Spread the filling evenly between the layers. Once assembled, transfer cake to a cake stand with parchment paper lined around the edges (to keep the cake stand clean). Pour the ganache over the cake. Once the ganache is set, remove the parchment.

*Notes: I let my cake rounds cool over night before slicing, and I also made the mascarpone mixture the night before and chilled in the fridge until ready to use.)

With Love and God Bless,

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