Just Dessert, Thanksgiving 2022

Thanksgiving, the big cooking day, really the entire weekend. The house is filled with wonderful smells, previews of delicious food and good company. For the past few years a neighbor has invited our small family to join her family along with assorted other friends. She likes her house filled with people at times like this.

I offered to add “my” 1996 Spicy Chocolate-Pumpkin Mini-Cakes from Women’s Day magazine to the groaning dessert table. It’s an easy cake I’ve made for previous Thanksgivings and so yummy.

You will need a mini-bundt pan. Mine has six wells, so I have to bake two batches. If you don’t have one, use a muffin tin (fill each well with 1/3 cup of batter). I imagine you could also bake a full-size bundt cake and adjust the baking time accordingly.*

*See below another idea for using a mini-bundt pan

Just the mention of bundt pans reminds me of one scene from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Anglo Ian Miller’s mother brings a bundt cake to the very Greek American Portocali home. Toula’s mother responds:

“What is it?” Harriet states, “It’s a Bundt.” Still confused Maria asks, “A bun?”.. Harriet corrects her, “A Bund-T”…Maria responds, “A bonnn-k?”… And finally Harriet loses her cool, “BUND-T! BUUND-T!” Putting two and two together, Maria announces, “I know! It’s a cake!” and everyone cheers. As she walks away, Maria whispers to a family member, “There’s a hole in this cake…”

Start by heating the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini-bundt pan. Combine the following in your mixer bowl and beat on medium-low, slowly increasing to high: 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter or margarine (I use 3/4 cup olive oil in place of butter), 2 cups sugar, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tbsp pumpkin-pie spice, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda. When smooth, add 4 eggs, one at a time and beat til fluffy.

On slow speed add one 16 oz. can of solid-pack pumpkin, ½ cup milk (I used water), and 2 tsps vanilla. When mixed, slowly add 2 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour. Fill each well with 2/3 cup of batter, smooth the tops. (I folded in about one cup of chocolate chips this year.)

Bake 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (I think it’s more moist if you use oil in place of butter). Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the pan and tap to release cakes. Continue cooling. I do not frost this cake, simply sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Now that you’ve invested in the mini-bundt pan, what to do with it?

Many years ago, when Daughter was a Girl Scout, we made Teapot Cakes for a Mother-Daughter Tea. My recipe (I still have it) was from Women’s Day, 4/21/98. Here’s a link to a more recent recipe for a tea cup cake (4-29-2014): https://www.womansday.com/food-recipes/food-drinks/a7390/mothers-day-dessert/. This recipe uses muffin tins; mine used the mini-bundt pan.

For the Teapot Cake, make simple sugar cookies shaped like the teapot handle and spout, stick them with the icing. And the lid? Droste chocolate Pastilles were just the right size and shape! It was a fun activity for moms and Girl Scout daughters to construct together, then enjoy eating together! Sorry, no pictures of those beauties, but you can use your imagination.

My Thanksgiving table – happy holidays …

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