Try out this recipe for a festive autumn cake and construct a seasonal gourd-topped candelabra for your home. Courtesy of Country Living Happy Halloween.
1 large flattish pumpkin
5 taper candles
Seeded eucalyptus or other greenery
Toothpicks, if needed
Assorted small white and pale-colored gourds
Drill fitted with a hole-cutter
Plastic wrap or modeling
Glue, if needed
With a little imagination, you can use a wide, flat pumpkin as the base for a dramatic and stylish candlelit centerpiece. A creamy colored specimen and a cascading pile of snow-white gourds hint at the approaching winter holiday season. To further dress the house for the season, try setting a gourd on top of every candlestick.
1. Carefully break or cut the stem off the pumpkin. Using a bit that's just a fraction smaller than the diameter of the candles, drill five evenly spaced holes in a ring around the top of the pumpkin, drilling straight down 1 or 2 inches.
2. Insert the candles into the holes; scrape the openings a tiny bit if necessary. If the holes are too big, secure the candle by wrapping the base with a strip of plastic wrap or a small amount of modeling glue.
3. Arrange the greenery on top of the pumpkin, allowing it to trail down the sides, and secure it in place with floral u-pins. Arrange the gourds on top of the greenery, securing each gourd to the pumpkin with a toothpick, if necessary, for stability. Set several gourds on the table, around the base of the pumpkin, to enhance the cascading effect.
Easy Autumn Cakes
1 chocolate cake mix (such as Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devil's Food Mix)
2 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice
2/3 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
3/4 cup water
1?4 cup (1?2 stick) butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 cup finely ground pecans
Makes 10 servings
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour either a 10-cup great pumpkin pan or 3 round cake pans - 6, 8, and 10 inches. (If making a tiered cake, plan also to double the recipe.) Take care to coat all crevices and corners.
2. Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat, using a mixer set on medium-high speed, until batter is smooth. Fill the cake pans. (For the great pumpkin pan, divide batter evenly between the two halves; for the round cake pans, divide batter evenly.)
3. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center tests clean - about 35 minutes for the pumpkin cakes; 25 minutes for the 6-inch, 30 minutes for the 8-inch, and 35 minutes for the 10-inch layers of the tiered cake. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting or decorating.
4. Trim the pumpkin cake halves before stacking together to form the pumpkin-shaped cake or stack tiers, spreading frosting between layers.
Nutrition per Serving: Protein: 4.7G; Fat: 17.3G; Carbohydrate: 36.8G;
Fiber: 2G; Sodium: 306MG; Cholesterol: 63.8MG; Calories: 315.