Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

Would you believe me if I told you that I have never had a pumpkin spice latte in my life? It might be hard to accept, but it’s true. I actually gave up drinking caffeine completely more than 5 year ago so I have to pass on the seasonal coffees and teas. But before you start feeling bad for me, rest assured that I make sure to get my all-things-pumpkin fix in during the fall season. I LOVE the time of year when pumpkin flavored treats line the shelves of local grocery stores and bakeries. Then again, who doesn’t?

In my last post I shared the recipe for the Nantucket Cranberry Citrus Pie that sat on our dessert table this Thanksgiving. You’ve probably guessed that there was more than one sweet treat sharing the stage and you are right. My husband loves pumpkin rolls and I love cake, so here you have it: Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. After all, marriage is all about compromise, right? This Pumpkin Sheet Cake is rich, moist, and has that pumpkin spice flavor no one can’t get enough of during the fall. It is definitely a keeper.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, Sifted
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13″ x 18″ sheet pan with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 sticks butter. Whisk in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until combined completely. Whisk in boiling water until mixture is smooth and combined. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Whisk and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the pumpkin mixture and stir until halfway combined. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir until combined. Pour into the pan and smooth until even. Tap the tray against the counter a few times to release the air bubbles. Bake the cake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

To make the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and salt until smooth. Add milk and check the consistency. You want it to be thick and smooth, but still thin enough to spread easily over the cake. If your frosting is too thick add additional milk until desired consistency.

Spread the frosting all over the surface of the cake and sprinkle with chopped walnuts (optional). Cut into squares and serve.

*If you like a very thick layer of frosting, you can easily double the frosting recipe. I actually reserved some of my frosting to top homemade pumpkin cinnamon rolls the next morning. So, so good!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake | Pretty Little Pastimes

The size of this cake is perfect for sharing with friends and family at any holiday gathering. Enjoy!

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National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day 2015

Peanut Butter Chia Overnight Oatmeal I Pretty Little Pastimes

It’s that time again! The day is here that we get to set aside special time to celebrate the creamy (or crunchy) wonder that is PEANUT BUTTER! I was scratching my head Saturday night thinking of a way to incorporate my favorite all-natural peanut butter into my breakfast routine. So I decided to mix it into some oatmeal and voila! Peanut Butter & Chia Overnight Oats. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Chia Overnight Oats

  • 2/3 cup skim or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • fresh blueberries or banana

Mix together the milk, oats, chia, vanilla and one tablespoon of peanut butter and place in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 4 hours). In the morning stir to incorporate and top with remaining peanut butter, honey and fresh fruit. I packed mine in a mason jar so it I could grab it on my way out the door.

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions

Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts & Pearl Onions I Pretty Little Pastimes

I’ll be honest that Brussels sprouts were on the list of green veggies that I tried my very best to stay away from growing up. My mom didn’t care for them, so I got out easy. That is until a good friend of mine (a James Beard nominated chef that doesn’t take no for an answer) decided I was not going one more day without trying one. She made me a plate and I reluctantly tried the tiny little cabbage-looking vegetable I feared. Like many foods she has proved me wrong about, the Brussels sprouts were more than just eatable, they were tasty! I wanted to share my version of Roasted Brussels Sprouts hoping that it might inspire a few more you to give them a try.

When shopping for Brussels sprouts, look for the smallest, freshest you can find. These tend to be sweeter and more tender than larger ones. Before cooking, trim the stems and discard any damaged or discolored leaves. Next, cut the sprouts in half (lengthwise); this will speed up the cooking time. Blasting the halved sprouts in a hot oven will caramelize the edges and bring out their sweetness. It also significantly shrinks them, so don’t be surprised when you pull them out of the oven!

I decided to add pearl onions to this dish, because I just love their subtly-sweet onion flavor, especially when paired with balsamic. To prepare the onions for roasting, soak them in warm water for 5 minutes. Remove the onions and discard the skin and trim the roots.

Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1/2 pound pearl onions, trimmed
  • 2 ounces hot capicola (or pancetta), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss all ingredients together and spread out in an even layer on a baking pan. I always line my pan with parchment paper for easy clean up, but if you don’t reserve a little warm water to deglaze the pan at the end. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are brown on the edges and tender, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts & Pearl Onions I Pretty Little Pastimes

These roasted Brussels sprouts will make a wonderful sweet and spicy side dish to add to your dinner. I am definitely thankful that I was coaxed forced to try them. Enjoy!

Garlic & Leek Smashed Red Potatoes

Garlic & Leek Mashed Red Potatoes I Pretty Little Pastimes

If you like potato and leek soup, you will love these garlic and leek smashed red potatoes! We have a list of staple starch side dishes in our house which include potatoes, rice and orzo, but I have been experimenting more and more with new variations on old favorites.

We saw these fresh leeks while wandering around the produce section earlier this week and added them to our rapidly filling cart. If you haven’t cooked with leeks, keep in mind that they are in the same family as garlic and onions, but have a sweeter flavor. Unlike garlic and onions, there is no bulb on a leek and everything other than the root and stem base is edible, although most avoid the dark green section. Leeks are a good source of Vitamins A, B6, C and K, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber. They can be eaten raw, steamed, baked or sautéed, but avoid boiling as they will lose a majority of their nutrients.

Before working with leeks, rinse them well; dirt may be stuck between the tight leaves. Then trim the root and stem. I choose to only trim about an inch from the darkest green end of the leek, since most of the nutrients are found in the green section. Now they are ready!

Garlic & Leek Smashed Red Potatoes

  • 1 pound red potatoes
  • 4 strips pancetta (optional), chopped
  • 1 large leek
  • 3 garlic cloves (or to taste)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (or soymilk)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chives to garnish

Garlic & Leek Smashed Red Potatoes I Pretty Little Pastimes

In a medium saucepan cover potatoes with water and generously season with salt. Bring to boil and let simmer for 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.

While the potatoes are cooking slice the rinsed leeks into thin rings. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the leeks are softened, about 7 minutes, adding the pancetta halfway through.

Garlic & Leek Mashed Red Potatoes I Pretty Little Pastimes

Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl with half of the milk (1/8 cup) and the 2 tablespoons of butter. Using a potato masher, mash and add the additional milk by the tablespoon, until potatoes reach desired consistency. Fold in the leek mixture and season with salt and pepper. Top with freshly chopped chives and serve warm.

These potatoes are a great twist on a very simple recipe. The addition of the garlic and fresh leeks give these potatoes some new life. They make a great side for countless main dishes, plus they heat up well the next day … if you have any left over! Enjoy!

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