As I mentioned in a recent post, I attended the International Food Blogger Conference in August. Blogging conferences are a great way to learn about new opportunities in the industry, get ideas about how to be more effective, and network with fellow bloggers and brands. If you happen to be me, blogging conferences are also a great way to make you feel insecure about your blog, your career path, and your hair. I have a bad habit of comparing myself to other people, and it's a fact of life that there will always be someone (or a whole horde) who is more successful, more popular, and prettier than you.
What I have to keep in mind when I inevitably start measuring myself against my colleagues is that this blog is a one-woman show. I don't have a virtual assistant managing my social media or an intern to handle SEO. This isn't even my main gig—while I am a full-time freelance writer, most of my time is spent on journalism and copywriting work. So things are a little ad hoc around here. I will probably never be the blogger who is baking Christmas cookies in September to ensure that the recipe goes viral on Pinterest. If I remember to post a cookie recipe in December, that counts as a win (sometimes, I just post the Christmas cookie recipe in February).
The only way I can nail the seasonal content thing is by planning way, way ahead of time. As in, I made this pumpkin Bundt cake for Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws last year. Although I love baking pumpkin pies, my crust aesthetic skills can best be described as "well, it tastes good" and my pumpkin pies are reserved for at-home consumption.
Instead, I've been relying on this pumpkin Bundt cake for my serve-to-company fall dessert needs for the past several years. It's everything I want a pumpkin dessert to be: richly spiced, incredibly moist, and made with plenty of pumpkin. The original recipe features an orange glaze, but I always swap in the vanilla glaze from my Betty Crocker Cookbook. Also, while I usually use canola oil I've substituted olive oil a couple of times and couldn't taste a difference.
Since the cake needs to cool completely before you glaze it, you can bake the cake the night before and glaze it the next day. Note that you may need to slightly level the cake by trimming the bottom with a large serrated knife before you glaze it. I recommend glazing the cake on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet lined with wax paper so that it's easy to clean up any drips.
Cake adapted from All Recipes; glaze adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook (10th edition)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup canola or olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons hot water
Prepare the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray, using a pastry brush to evenly coat the grooves.
Combine granulated sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, and cloves in a medium bowl. Stir half of the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and beat with a hand mixer at low speed until flour is incorporated. Add remaining flour mixture and beat at low speed until all the flour is incorporated and batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Invert cake on wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare the glaze:
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is smooth and the consistency of a thick syrup. Pour glaze over cooled cake.
Keep cake at room temperature until serving, and store any leftovers tightly sealed in the refrigerator.
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