Posie Harwood, who finds the best back-of-the-box recipes in the grocery store, uncovers the recipe for the one cake you should make this fall.
My job requires spending part of my time in Vermont, which is lucky for me: At this time of year, it's the only place I want to be. The leaves are changing, turning the hills and forest into bright swaths of color. It's starting to smell like wood smoke outside and the air has a crisp snap to it. The seasons come harder and faster here than in New York City, and I'm starting to think about cold weather comfort food: apple pie and pumpkin bread and spiced cookies.
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This cake, an old Land O'Lakes recipe, satisfies all my seasonal baking cravings. It's got a hefty dose of spices and a tender crumb from canned pumpkin and evaporated milk. The cream cheese frosting tastes lightly of maple, but if you choose to eat the cake plain and unfrosted, you won't be sorry.
Make it in any shape you like. The recipe calls for two 9-inch cakes, which you can then split into two layers each. Or, bake the cake in a large sheet pan, then frost it and cut it into squares. (I used a sheet cake pan and punched out my layers using a ring mold, hence the many layers in the photo.)
The texture of the finished cake is fantastic. It's wonderfully moist but delicate enough to not be dense. Put it on your list for holiday baking: This is comfort food at it's very finest.