Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Squares | Pinky's Pantry
Fall is pumpkin season. It’s the time when pumpkin farms do a booming business as people flock to them to pick out the pumpkins they want to carve into jack-o-lanterns for Halloween or put on display on their fall table centerpieces. But pumpkins don’t just make great decorations. They’re wonderful for eating, too!

Pumpkins make delicious soups, side dishes, and desserts. I mean what would Thanks-giving be without pumpkin pie? Well, this is an old recipe for the yummiest pumpkin cake you’ll ever bite into! Iced with cream cheese frosting and cut into squares, it’s a family favorite that’s ideal for taking to potlucks and office parties, too. It’s moist and delicious and my cream cheese frosting is the perfect showcase for the rich, not-too-sweet cake underneath it.

PUMPKIN SQUARES

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (15-oz.) pumpkin
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil.
  4. Add the flour mixture and beat till well combined.
  5. Stir in chopped nuts, if desired.
  6. Spread batter in an ungreased 9×13-inch baking pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 pkg. (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.
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Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting | Pinky's Pantry
I love cream cheese frosting. It’s one of my all-time favorite frostings. The way the tanginess of the cream cheese blends with the sweetness of the powdered sugar is absolutely delicious. Cream cheese frosting is most commonly used to ice carrot cakes, red velvet cakes, and pumpkin bars, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use it on a chocolate cake or some other kind of dessert. I actually have a really yummy pineapple cake recipe that calls for cream cheese frosting.

If your cream cheese and butter are at room temperature, whipping up a smooth and lump-free frosting is a piece of cake (pun intended). If your cream cheese is still cold, you can unwrap it, place it in your mixing bowl, microwave it for 30 seconds, stop the microwave to check how warm it is, then microwave another 30 seconds if necessary. Don’t microwave cream cheese too long because it can burn. Ask me how I know.  And I wouldn’t recommend microwaving the butter to soften it. It melts just too darn fast. Ask me how I know that, too.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 pkg. (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together.
  2. Gradually beat in powdered sugar.
  3. Continue beating until smooth and fluffy.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting | Pinky's Pantry
I had to make 72 Red Velvet cupcakes for a Valentine’s Day fund raiser we were having at the office. Thank goodness Yissi and Bashful were home to help me. We decorated the cupcakes with red sanding sugar and SweeTart candies. They turned out pretty cute.

A red velvet cake is basically a chocolate cake with red food coloring added to give it that reddish hue. I have a good recipe for a red velvet cake here. I use the same recipe for cupcakes. The only thing that changes are the baking pans you use and the length of time you bake the cupcakes. Oh, and the Cream Cheese Frosting is halved for the cupcakes since you only need half as much as you would to fill and frost a whole cake.

RED VELVET CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  3. In another bowl, gently beat together oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with electric mixer.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour batter into cupcake wells, filling about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, turning pans halfway through baking.
  7. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into center of cupcakes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  9. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.
  2. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.
  3. Continue beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Cake | Pinky's Pantry
The first time I ever heard of Red Velvet Cake was when I watched the 1989 hit film, “Steel Magnolias.” In the movie, the groom’s Aunt Fern baked a red velvet groom’s cake in the shape of an armadillo. I know. I never heard of a Groom’s Cake either, but apparently it’s quite the tradition down South. Wedding cakes are usually made for the bride so they came up with a cake for the groom which is served during the rehearsal dinner (or the reception) and is usually shaped into something whimsical like a football, a race car, a basket of fishing tackle, a beer keg, or anything that reflects the groom’s personality, hobbies or interests.

I distinctly remember one part of the movie where Ouiser, the cantankerous old friend of the bride’s mother (played by Shirley MacLaine) cut and served the groom’s cake at the wedding reception. I’ll never forget how gross I thought it looked because it was all red like you were looking at the armadillo’s bloody innards. My horror quickly changed to laughter at the dialogue between Ouiser and Drum, the bride’s father (played by Tom Skerritt).

Ouiser:   I’m not speaking to you.
Drum:    Oh, what a shame.
Ouiser:   I mean it, Drum.
Drum:    Ouiser, can we call a truce long enough for me to get a piece of cake?
Ouiser lobs off the back end of the armadillo, plops it on a plate and hands it to Drum.
Drum:    Thanks, Ouiser. Nothin’ like a good piece of a – – .

Red Velvet Cake | Pinky's Pantry

RED VELVET CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ cups canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  3. In another bowl, gently beat together oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with electric mixer.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Divide batter equally into prepared cake pans.
  6. Bake about 22-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.
  2. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.
  3. Continue beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy.