Friday, October 17, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing

Life is twist and turns and all of the sudden y0u end up where you started.

Let me start at the beginning, well not of time, but maybe...the beginning of my time. When I was a little girl my paternal grandmother, was a milliner. She made hats for some of the most fashionable ladies, actresses and designers in Los Angeles. She never learned how to drive a car. She traveled almost every weekend to downtown Los Angeles to purchase her millinery supplies at wholesale houses. When we spent the weekend with grandma we rode the bus with her from 4th and Serrano to downtown. Let me define we a little better...we; being myself, my two sisters and grandma.

She would do her shopping and then we always had lunch. Sometimes it was at the top of the Broadway Plaza, which at that time turned. More often than not it would be a cafeteria, those were her favorite haunts. Clifton's Cafeteria was always a sure bet. The best part was choosing your dessert...all those little dishes with single servings, covered in plastic wrap...Jello - in a rainbow of flavors, chocolate layer cake, pumpkin cake, German chocolate cake (Grandma's fav), carrot cake, fruit pies, pudding...oh what choices for a nine year old to make.

Well let's jump ahead oh lets say three decades to last weekend when my maternal grandma, who noticed that I had started a blog, gave me a recipe for Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Icing from Clifton's Cafeteria. Now my maternal grandma is a very good cook and where I think I get most of my cooking passion from. She has apparently been making this cake for us for years and I never knew that it was a recipe she adapted from Clifton's Cafeteria. Another tidbit of information that I unearthed about grandma was that she also has a penchant for clipping recipes from newspapers and magazines. Well she clipped this old-y but goody a little over twenty years ago. I received a copy that she had typed...yes I said typed and I mean typewriter, folks.

So I have adapted the recipe slightly... don't really want to mess with a good thing but..I added a few extra spices and the recipe calls out to make three 9-inch layer cakes and then pile them up and frost with the delicious Cream Cheese Icing. Well I decided to make cupcakes instead of a layer cake. I also halved the recipe and made 21 medium size cupcakes.

Clifton's Pumpkin Cake
adapted by A.M.H.
Yield 3 9-inch layer cakes

3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups oil
3 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Blend sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt at medium speed with a mixer until well mixed.

Add oil and continue to beat until dry ingredients are moistened. Add pumpkin and mix again until well blended. Add lightly beaten eggs and blend one minute longer. Do not over mix.

Turn batter into 3 lightly greased paper-lined 9-inch cake pans. Smooth batter in pans so it will be level when baked. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. Cool on racks, then turn out and fill and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (1-pound) box powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped raisins or currants (optional)

Combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and butter. Mix until blended. Add raisins (if using) and mix until blended. Refrigerate until needed.

I could not resist! Yum it was good!


paoix said...

this is truly the pumpkin season. this would be perfect for that afternoon slump in the office :)

Andrew Abraham said...

What a tempting desert recipe... I can't wait to try your Pumpkin cupcake recipe...Great idea..



Deborah said...

I love recipes like this that have a history! The cupcakes look delicious!

Anonymous said...

those look so moist and delish!

Anonymous said...

Other than cutting the recipe in half for cupcakes, is the time in the oven also halved?

Anonymous said...

Can you ship...or better yet, will you just ship yourself to my house and start baking? Sadie's birthday is coming up!

Although we disagree on our fondness for Clifton's, you brought back a great memory. And the picture...well, I love seeing your little teeth marks in the frosting!

The girls are drooling.


Michelle said...

Thanks for bringing back some fond memories! When I was a kid, my dad would take off work on Thursday afternoons and we'd run around town getting errands done. More often than not we'd end up at Clifton's Cafeteria, the one in Century City, for a snack before heading home. It had such a distinctive smell (from the food) and energy (from the senior citizens lol) that I found very comforting. Like you, I marveled over the sheer number of dessert choices. Even then I had an incurable sweet tooth. The food was okay, but the memories are priceless. I have to try this cake for nostalgia's sake :)

Ingrid said...

Yum, I wanna bite! Your cupcakes look so moist and I love anything with cream cheese.
Thank you and Grandma! :-)

BTW, are you going to post the halved recipe? THX!

Mississippi Songbird said...

My mouth is watering.. Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

second time i am making them...cross your fingers! i added some raisins to the last little batch.