Monday, November 4, 2013

"Great Pumpkin Cookbook" (Peanuts characters) - Great Pumpkin Cake for Halloween

Date I made this recipe:  October 31, 2013 - Halloween!

Great Pumpkin Cookbook - No Tricks...Just Treats (Peanuts Comic Strip):  Cartoons by Charles M. Schulz; Recipes by June Dutton
Published by:  Determined Products, Inc.
© 1990; 1981 (Peanuts copyright held by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)
Recipe:  Great Pumpkin Cake - p. 31

There is nothing I love more than a good, all-purpose line, something from a movie, TV show, or song that just summarizes everything.  In this case, the best line out of the classic TV cartoon, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is this:  "I got a rock."

In this TV cartoon, poor, hapless Charlie Brown goes trick-or-treating with his friends and afterwards, they compare notes:  "I got five pieces of candy!"  "I got a chocolate bar!"  "I got a quarter!"  And then... (Charlie Brown)"I got a rock."  No matter where they go or what they do, Charlie Brown ends up with a rock. This clearly, is a metaphor for life's trials and tribulations and is a line I quote often.  In fact, it works on so many levels of daily life, it's ridiculous.  Let's look at some examples:

Co-worker A:  "I got a promotion"
Co-worker B:  "I'm so happy for you because I get to move up in your slot."
You (the un-promoted):  "I got a rock."

Or there's this scenario:
Co-worker A:  "I got a raise!"
Co-worker B:  "I got a raise, too!"
You (the un-raised):  "I got a rock."

Or this one on Valentine's Day:
Friend A (no longer friend): "I got engaged on Valentine's Day.  Look at my ring!"  (While you simme...r)
Friend B (also no longer a friend):  "He delivered flowers to my work, then took me out for a fabulous dinner at "Chez Overpriced" and then gave me specially-made truffles from cocoa beans he had flown in from South America!"
You (the un-Valentined):  "I got a rock."

Do you see how easy this is?  There is not one situation in life to which "I got a rock" does not apply.  Let me tell you, that Charles M. Schulz guy was quite a genius!  Oh, and there's that comic strip things of his too, that I heard did really well.  (PS--Charles was from St. Paul--practically a neighbor!).

Out of all the Peanuts TV specials that appeared over the years (most notably, the other favorite - A Charlie Brown Christmas) none have tickled me more than "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."  And it's pretty much due to that one fabulous line.  Who would have thunk?

So when I saw this cookbook - Great Pumpkin Cookbook -  on Etsy (talk about feeling like you hit the Halloween candy Mother Lode), I had to have it and then as soon as I had it, I promptly put a note on my calendar to cook from it on Halloween.  And so sure enough, I made Great Pumpkin Cake and it was fabulous and so fun and fitting for a day I usually hate (too many Halloween's spent bundled up in winter coats kills a mood; kills it). 

This cake is really moist, something I wasn't expecting, such that you can eat it without the whipped cream frosting...and I have been eating it without the frosting.  And eating it, and eating it and....

And so I'm happy to report that when it came to this cookbook, I did not "get a rock."  But I'm telling you--try out my suggestion some time in work and social situations and see if it doesn't just summarize everything.  It does - trust me.  But as to whether or not you'll see the Great Pumpkin rise up out of the pumpkin patch?  Well.....

Great Pumpkin Cake (makes a 9 x 13 x 2 cake)
1 stick soft butter
1 - 1/4 cups sugar      
2 eggs
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda  
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin (Note: 1 cup not 1 can)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped pecans     

1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, beating well after each addition.  Sift flour with dry ingredients.  Combine pumpkin and milk.  Add sifted ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture to butter and sugar.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.  Bake about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.  Cool.  Top with whipped cream to which sugar and vanilla have been added, or with vanilla ice cream.

*I purchased this book on Esty:  Chelle's Kitchen -


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