Highlight of Thanksgiving…CAKE!

After three days of baking and cooking, Thanksgiving dinner was served right on time – well, actually just a little early. We miscalculated the start of the annual movie outing and had to quickly move dinner up about an hour in order to make it to the theater before the previews ended. You see, my brother, my youngest sister, and I take all the kids to the movies after consuming more food than any person should in one setting. This holiday tradition started 30 something years ago with our own children; now we take them and their children!

By the way, this year’s movie was Arthur Christmas and it was wonderful – what we saw of it that is. Most of the adults took a little nap in the middle of it and the 4 year old slept through most of it. Funny thing this year was that we were scattered all over the theater. The kids wanted to sit all the way in the back, the youngest wanted to sit all the way in the front and the adults wanted in the middle! Luckily the theater was empty and we could sit wherever we wanted.

I’ll have to say though, with all the fun of watching the kids play and taking 12 of us to the movies, the highlight of the day had to be the desserts…Chocolate Fudge Cake, Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting, Cake Pops, and Pecan Pie.

The chocolate cake is my husband’s absolute favorite – until this year. His new favorite is the Pumpkin Spice Cake with that scrumptious maple browned butter frosting. All I can say is THANK YOU Southern Living. I took their original recipe for Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and changed the cinnamon to maple and added chopped pecans. DELICIOUS! The Pecan Pie was store bought, but you can’t beat Sam’s Club Pecan Pie – perfect every time! Besides, every cook needs a little break!

How do I make the cakes? With my favorite cake mixes from Duncan Hines, of course:

Chocolate Fudge Cake
1 Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1/4 cup flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 & 1/3 cups of water

Preheat oven to 325˚. Grease and flour cake pans (I used 3 9″ pans and sprayed with Pam). Mix according to directions of back of cake mix box. Pour into pans and bake according to box directions (for 3 9″ pans I baked them for 20-25 minutes). Remove from oven when toothpick inserted into middle of cakes come out clean. Place pans on wire racks for about 5 minutes, then remove from pans and continue to cool on racks until completely cooled.


Tip & Trick: If your cake tops aren’t level, take a serrated knife and level by cutting off the tops.

To assemble: spread a small amount of frosting on cake plate, then place one cake layer top side down on plate. Spread frosting on first layer and place second layer top side down on it. Spread that layer with frosting and place the third layer top side down on top. (This way you are always spreading frosting on the bottom side of the cakes.) Finish by spreading the remaining frosting on the side and top of the cake (you may have some frosting left over).

 

Chocolate Frosting
2 sticks butter
7 tablespoons cocoa
2 boxes confectioner sugar
6-12 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla

Melt butter and cocoa together in microwave, stirring occasionally. Pour into mixing bowl and add confectioner sugar a little at a time mixing after each addition (if you add it all at one time, the sugar will fly everywhere – I know) and add just enough milk after each sugar addition to keep it spreadable.

Tip & Trick: To make frosting smooth, run hot water over metal spatula or spreading knife and start smoothing frosting. Continue heating knife and running it around the outside and top of cake until desired smoothness is reached.

 

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