Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

This was a fantastic cake.  It was the first thing to sell out at Carroll Cafe on Friday, and I have to say that it is a great recipe.  The orange zest adds a fresh note that pairs wonderfully with the cranberries, the pumpkin keeps the cake moist and tender.  The fresh cranberries are tart and juicy, surrounded by a sweet sugar topping.  I just might have to say that this is the perfect fall cake.

And incase you’re intimidated by making an upside down cake, this was my first attempt at one.  It was surprisingly easy and even though some of the cranberries stuck to the bottom of the pan they were easy to scoop off and put back on the top of the cake and once it was sliced you couldn’t even tell.  So give it whirl, you won’t be disappointed.

Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin CakeCranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-18

Adapted from Bakeaholic Mama

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest (about the zest of 2 oranges)
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, browned

Cranberry Topping:

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until it becomes golden and nutty smelling, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool while preparing the dry ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake slice (A Seat at the Table)

In a separate bowl, mix sugars, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together.  Fold dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated.

Slowly mix in cooled brown butter.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with 4 Tbsp unsalted butter.  Arrange cranberries in an even layer in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle sugar on in an even layer.  Pour cake batter over the cranberries.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center and comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool for about 20-30 minutes, then flip cake out onto a serving platter.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes and November’s Carroll Cafe Menu

Carroll Cafe will be this Friday, November 8th.  There will be a fantastic line-up of treats once again!  The menu includes:

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake
King Arthur Brownies
Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake
Monster Cookies (gluten-free)
Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Hope to see you there!

And just in time for the next Carroll Cafe, here’s the last recipe from last month’s concert.

These cupcakes are pretty fantastic.  They’re definitely decadent and have the best of both worlds:  dense, custard-y pumpkin pie flavor, and sweet, rich yet slightly tangy, cream cheese frosting.  There’s just the perfect hint of cinnamon.  You can’t go wrong with these, they’re the perfect fall treat, and would also be a huge hit at any Thanksgiving if you’re looking for something a little different than pie.

Pumpkin Pie CupcakesPumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (A Seat at the Table)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, frozen and grated
  • 2 heaping cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease 1 muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Cut in (or grate frozen) butter into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and fold gently until just incorporated.

Scoop into muffin tins, filling almost to the top (they don’t rise very much).  Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 pkgs (16oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the butter.  Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, then add in the vanilla extract.

Throwback Thursday

So I haven’t had a real win in the kitchen lately, and things have been busy with starting class, so instead of a new post today I’m doing a throwback to an old favorite!  It’s September (despite my protests at the passage of time!), which means it is now acceptable to bring on the pumpkin!  This recipe is spectacular.  It’s like pumpkin pie in a mini-muffin.  These are decadent and delicious and the perfect way to welcome fall!  Still need a picture of these tasty treats, they go too quickly to get one!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Muffins  (Originally posted March 27, 2012)Pumpkin Pie Spice Muffins (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 24 muffins

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1  1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp (1  1/2 sticks) butter, frozen and grated
  • 1 large can (29oz or about 4 cups) pumpkin puree
  • 1 (regular size, I think 14oz) can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease two muffin tins and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Cut in (or grate frozen) butter into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and fold gently until just incorporated.

Scoop into muffin tins, filling almost to the top (they don’t rise very much).  Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars

I don’t know about you, but I love pumpkin flavored things all year.  It’s a shame that pumpkin gets a brief over-the-top highlight for two months in the fall and then basically disappears.  So I bring you this recipe in protest of keeping pumpkin locked away until October.  And since it has all the deliciousness of a pie, but is shaped like a bar, it’s totally got year-round potential.

This year, I mixed things up at Thanksgiving and made these pumpkin bars instead of traditional pumpkin pies.  These bars are delicious.  They serve a large crowd, and have all the delicious flavor of pumpkin pie, plus a chewy, crunchy crumb topping.  If you need a dessert to feed a crowd, I’d definitely recommend these!  If you don’t need to feed a crowd you can just make half a recipe in an 8×8″ pan.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie BarsThanksgiving dessert

Makes a 9×13″ pan

Adapted from Joy the Baker


  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, salt and oats.  Add cold butter and quickly work it into the dry ingredients until butter is broken down to the size of small peas.  Add the chopped pecans and toss to combine.  Remove 2 1/2 cups to be the crumb topping, and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Dump the remaining crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the pumpkin and sugar, beat until well mixed and smooth.  Add the eggs and egg whites, beating to combine.  Then add the spices, salt and vanilla extract, and beat until well mixed.

Remove crust and crumble from the fridge.  Pour filling over the crust and then gently add the crumble on top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles.  (I broiled mine for 1-2 minutes to get a nice golden top, but watch it like a hawk so that it doesn’t burn!)  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (vegan)

Do vegan baked goods kind of make you cringe?  I’m always hesitant to label things vegan because I think mainstream society thinks of vegan food as extreme and unappealing, but I promise, this vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread is yummy!  I got the recipe from Joy the Baker, who I definitely trust to make a delicious anything, so despite my skepticism about vegan baked goods I gave it a try, and per usual she did not lead me astray.

Now it’s confession time….sometimes I make really big mistakes in the kitchen…mistakes like leaving out half of the flour in this bread.  I realized as I was cleaning up, once the bread had been in the oven for about 7 minutes…too long to do anything about it.  But sometimes mistakes workout, and in this case, I had a dense, super moist almost brownie-like “bread,” and it was still delicious.  This also is about as close to gingerbread as I’m going to get.  It has those great fall flavors, but is definitely not overwhelmingly spicy as gingerbread can be.  So if you have vegan guests coming for the holidays, give this bread a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much non-vegans enjoy it as well!

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (vegan)Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (optional?  this is what I forgot…if you do too, it’s still yummy, but it will be fluffier if you add this)
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or another 1/2 cup oil)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 heaping cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two loaf pans (8x4x2) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.  In a large measuring cup, whisk together oil, applesauce, syrup, water and pumpkin puree.  Add wet ingredients to the dry and use a spatula to fold together until just combined, making sure to get all the dry ingredient at the bottom.Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread loaf

Fold in the walnuts, reserving some to sprinkle on top.  Divide the dough between the prepared baking pans and sprinkle with walnuts.  Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before turning out to a cooling rack.

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties with Raw Kale Salad

I made this dish for Tuesday’s School of Christian Living dinner, and it was SUPER popular!  I have to admit I was really shocked by how much people liked this meal.  I was taking a chance on the raw kale.  I love salad and raw veggies, but I know they frequently feel like “health” food in the worst sense of the word.  And while this is definitely a healthy meal, it works together so perfectly.  The patties are creamy and tender with fragrant spices, the kale is hearty and chewy with a tart vinaigrette rubbed into each leaf.  It’s definitely a perfect pairing and works so much better than rolls would for these patties because they are so tender and creamy they would just blend with rolls.  With this salad, the patties really shine!

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties with Raw Kale SaladBlack Bean Pumpkin Patty on Raw Kale Salad

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen


  • 2 bunches curly kale
  • 1 romaine heart
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties:

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties

  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 scallions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I used fresh, but one 15oz can should work)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 3 (15oz) cans black beans
  • 6 Tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (or bread crumbs, or rolled oats briefly processed)
  • olive oil for cooking

To make the salad, tear the kale from the stems and into small bite size pieces, place in a large serving bowl.  In a measuring cup, whisk together the oil, lime juice, vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper.  Drizzle 1/3 to 1/2 the dressing on the kale and then massage the leaves.  Rub the dressing into the leaves until they’re all glossy and shiny looking.  Let sit while you assemble the rest of the meal (the kale can sit like this for about a week without getting soggy and unappealing like normal lettuce).  Just before serving, chop the romaine and cilantro, toss with grated carrots and kale.  Toss with a bit more dressing to taste, or serve it on the side.

In a food processor, combine garlic, scallions, pumpkin, chili powder, salt and cumin, pulse until well mixed.  Add rice,  2/3 of the beans, flaxmeal and oats, pulse to combine.  Remove mixture from food processor into a large bowl and mix in the remaining whole black beans.  At this point you can refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook.

Heat a large skillet with about 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat.  Form the patties (should get about 20 3/4″ thick patties, I used a 1/3 cup scoop to form them) and carefully place in hot skillet.  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden and heated through.  If cooking in batches, heat the oven to 300°F and keep the patties warm in the oven while you finish cooking them.  Serve over kale salad.

Frightfully Good Stuffed Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!  To celebrate… more pumpkin!!!

A year ago my aunt, Sharon, told Mom and me about this amazing recipe she made.  It sounded delightful, but stuffing a pumpkin sounds kind of hard, so we didn’t ever get around to making it until now.  And as I text Sharon, I kind of hate myself for waiting a whole year.  This is amazing.  Like holy YUM amazing.  I HIGHLY recommend you celebrate Halloween with one of these stuffed pumpkins.  Or if you don’t have a strict menu of timeless family favorites that you absolutely must make at Thanksgiving (like us), this would be a wonderfully lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table.  It’s vegetarian, so you can carve it instead of a turkey if you swing that way.  Just don’t wait a year.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait a week before making this again.

I picked up the cheese for this at Whole Foods, they have a bin of oddly shaped bits of cheese, so I was able to pick up Gruyere and Blue Cheese in just the right amount.  Then again having “leftover” cheese is never a problem in my mind.

Cheesy Stuffed Pumpkin

Serves 4

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

  • 1 pumpkin, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • 4 oz stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2″ cubes (however much fits)
  • 4 oz cheese, such as Gruyere, Swiss, Blue, Cheddar or a blend–cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a Dutch oven that’s the same diameter as your pumpkin (although your pumpkin will stick and you’ll have to scoop it out instead of cut into it).

Using a sturdy knife, carefully cut a cap off the top of the pumpkin.  Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits (just like carving a pumpkin).  Season the inside with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet or Dutch oven.

Stuff the pumpkin in layers, starting with the bread cubes, then garlic, then cheese.  Repeat until the pumpkin is filled.  Mix together cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into the pumpkin.  Adjust ingredients as needed, you want the pumpkin to be filled and just moistened by the cream mixture.  Put the cap back in place and bake for about 2 hours, check after the first 90 minutes, everything inside is bubbly and the outside is tender enough to be pierced with a sharp knife.  Remove the cap for the last 20 minutes so the top can brown.

Cut the pumpkin into slices and serve.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

To continue the pumpkin theme, here’s what I’ve been having for breakfast lately.  I’m still missing all the fresh fruit of the summer, but adding pumpkin to my oatmeal at least lets me think I’m getting some vegetable in before the day has even really started.  This comes together in about 10 minutes, so it’s easy enough to make during the week, but if you can’t imagine wasting 10 minutes at the stove in the morning you can make it ahead of time and reheat in the morning.  I like to top it with some toasted nuts for some crunch, but definitely make sure you toast them!  Toasting nuts makes SUCH a difference to how they taste and only takes a few minutes.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Serves 4

  • 1/2 Tbsp butter (optional)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3-4 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of cloves

Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.  Add oats and toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes stirring frequently.  Remove oats from pot and add pumpkin and brown sugar.  Stir and toast for about a minute.  Remove pumpkin and add in the water and milk.  Bring to a boil and mix in oats and pumpkin.  Stir in spices and cook for about 5 minutes, until oats have softened and most of the liquid is absorbed.

Pumpkin Poppers

It’s that time of year for pumpkin everything!  These poppers are like doughnut holes.  A little dense and super moist they’re a delicious fall treat.  I made these for church last Sunday.  Not knowing how many the original recipe made I decided to quadruple the recipe (me and my inability to estimate quantities).  I also hate it when you open a can of something but your recipe doesn’t use the full amount.  So since I only had the jumbo size (29oz) can of pumpkin it was most convenient to just calculate the recipe to use all of it.  I ended up with about 75 which worked out rather well.  My sous-chef and I were able to sample them when we made them, and then there were only about 6 left over after church, so when my extended family came over for brunch they were able to try them too.

I ended up only dipping the tops in butter/cinnamon-sugar, but if you like a sweeter treat feel free to coat the whole thing.  I also suggest just sprinkling with the cinnamon sugar so you don’t contaminate the batch and you can save the leftovers for something else (like topping pancakes!)

Pumpkin Poppers

Makes about 75

Adapted from Just the Little Things

  • 7 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 8 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large (29oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cup low-fat milk

For Coating:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease mini-muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until well blended.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and carefully mix until just combined.

Fill mini-muffin tins until almost full.  (A cookie scoop works well.)  Bake for 10 minutes.

When the poppers come out of the oven, let cool while you melt 1 stick butter.  In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon.  Once poppers are cool enough to handle dip the tops in melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

Mom had a no good, very bad day yesterday, so I told her I’d treat her today.  When I saw this scone recipe I knew it’d be a great way to start the day and make her feel taken care of.

These scones are very subtly sweet, so if you’re into sweet baked goods for breakfast you’ll want to double the sugar or put a glaze on top.  I thought they were a great way to start the day, a delicious baked good that you can still feel good about.  With a little butter, some apple butter, or some honey, these are a great way to start the day.  I was able to make them in about 35 minutes, so if you feel like a morning baking project these are definitely easy enough to do before you’ve had your morning coffee.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

Makes 12 scones

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 Tbsp  (1/2 stick) cold butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup milk + 1 Tbsp for brushing on top
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients, pulse until mixed.  Add in the diced butter, pulse until mixture becomes sandy with little pieces of butter throughout.  (This can also be done by hand with a pastry cutter)

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, 1/4 cup milk, and egg.  Add in the dry ingredients.  Mix with a spatula until just combined.  Dough will be crumbly, so knead a few times by hand to bring dough together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a disk.  Cut in half, form into disks about 3/4″ thick and cut each round into six pieces.  Place scones about 1-2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden.