Thursday, November 3, 2016

Halloween 2016

Pumpkin carving - a puppy, a cat, and a sad face

Big as Athena, goddess of war and wisdom
Middle as Owlette from the TV show PJ Masks - no adults knew who she was but the kids at school did!

Little as a ladybug
We had a super fun Halloween this year - costume parade at school, class parties (my first as a room parent), and a party with friends before trick-or-treating.  I was just home from my visit to Oregon which was an amazing weekend (more later), but I was  so glad to be home to see the kids and spend Halloween with them.

There is still some fall left before Christmas (despite what you may see at stores . . . there were eggnog lattes at Starbucks this morning!) so make this yummy cake for someone you love.  I know this recipe starts out with a boxed cake mix, but it's actually from Bon Appetit (2/00) and it's delicious!  Crystallized ginger can break the bank (I've seen it for as much as $12 for a little jar) so you can leave that out or substitute 1/4 tsp of ground ginger.

Pear Spice Cake (8-10 servings)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 box spice cake mix (18.25 oz)
3/4 cup canned pear nectar
3 large eggs
2 T molasses
1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
2 pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (about 1.5 cups)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. whipping cream
pecan halves for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour (or use a good quality baking spray) to prepare your bundt pan.  Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until slightly brown.  Pour into a large mixing bowl.  Add spice cake mix, canned pear nectar, eggs, molasses, and crystalized ginger.  Using an electric mixer, beat batter 2 minutes.  Fold in pears.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake until cake is dark brown and tester comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Cool cake in pan on rack for 15 minutes.  Run a knife between pan sides and cake to loosen, invert onto platter and let cool.

Stir brown sugar, remaining 1/2 cup butter, and whipping cream in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until smooth.  Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Spoon warm topping over cake.  Garnish with pecans.  Serve at room temperature.

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