Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pumpkin Cake by Charlie of Back to the Fridge

Greetings Pumpkin Fans,

Charlie here, from Back to the Fridge. I've been a fan of Megan's Munchies for a couple months now. In fact, I believe this is my very first comment. So you can see, as soon as I discovered the emphasis placed on the large orange squash around here, I was hooked.

Of course, I'm one of those people who loves to read about food and recipes, yet never actually gets around to making anything. I felt bad about this here, considering how many tasty munchies I've seen pictured. So I finally decided to do something about it. I made my own recipe and asked Megan to post it. (Seemed like the only way I could claim to have made something found on this site!)

So without further babbling, I give you Chuck's Pumpkin Cake. (Well, okay, just a little more babbling.) The "Chuck" in this recipe is my dad. (Yes, I'm a junior.) I have no idea where he got this recipe. All I know is it's been in the family for as long as I can remember and it's always been a big holiday favorite. It's high time the rest of the world found out about it.


1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 cups pumpkin
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Combine oil and sugar. Yum. I think I would actually eat oil and sugar as a dessert all on its own. What more do you need?

Add eggs and beat until smooth. In spite of the fact this photo makes it look like the beaters are about to break the sound barrier, this is on low speed:

Next, combine all the dry stuff in a separate bowl. Although the recipe calls for three teaspoons of cinnamon, I really don't think it would hurt to toss in a little more. I mean, it's cinnamon. What could go wrong?

Now add the dry stuff to the sticky stuff. I don't have one of those fancy collars to go around my mixing bowl, so I've found using a big tablespoon gets the job done. Check out my big job-getter-dunner tablespoon in action:

Once that's all mixed, add the pumpkin. You'll find the job-getter-dunner tablespoon also miraculously works on canned pumpkin. I also highly recommend keeping a cell phone next to the mixer in case you need to alert the media. "Hello, Media? This is Charlie. This cake's gonna kick butt!"

Ahhh... now we come to the controversial step: the molasses. My mom swears the real pumpkin cake recipe does not include molasses. However, the sheet of paper I'm looking at, typed up and printed out by my dad himself, clearly says molasses is an ingredient. So just put it in.

Ahhh... now we come to the OTHER controversial step: the chocolate chips. Most people freak out when I tell them, "It's pumpkin and chocolate chips." They give me a look as if I said the final ingredient was okra and beets. Chocolate has improved countless desserts for eons, and suddenly it's weird to put them in a cake? I really don't get it. So just put 'em in.

At this point you will all thank me for NOT uploading the photo of me licking the beater like a three-year old. Now pour into an ungreased (and sticky-less, if you have it) tube pan:

Ready for the worst part? Bake for one hour. I know! An entire hour must pass before you can eat this. I'm working on a version that bakes in twenty seconds. I'll let you know how it goes.

Anyway, for now, it's one hour at 375 degrees. When the timer goes off, stick a toothpick in the cake. It will very likely NOT come out clean. Put it back in another fifteen minutes. Once it passes the clean toothpick test, let it cool, then flip it out:

WARNING: This is not diet food. This is holiday food. As prepared, here is the nutritional info for a 1/16th slice of the cake:

If you're doing Weight Watchers, that's about 10 points for one slice of cake. Yes. I know. So if you're like me, and really would like to not gain a hundred pounds over the next two months, here's an alternate version: reduce oil from 1-1/4 cups to just 1/4 cup. Replace with 1 cup of applesauce. Leave out the molasses. If you do that, you now have this:

That's only six points. And to be honest, 1/16 of the cake is a pretty thick slice. You could easily get 20 or 24 slices out of this big, thick cake and still feel happy. By that time you're probably down to 240 calories or so, and maybe 4 points.

You might wonder what this caloric reduction does to the outcome? Here are two slices side by side:

The slice on the left is the lighter variety. It's definitely not as heavy and comes out a bit more spongey. The slice on the right is the high octane version, and darker due to the molasses. It's definitely heavier and richer and you can taste it. Which one is better? Well, I've tested both among a fair sized group and found opinions split down the middle. Some actually prefer the lighter version. All depends on what you're in the mood for.

For actual readable and printable versions of the recipes, click for the heavy version and here for the light version.



Reeni said...

You can never have too much cinnamon! I love cinnamon and pumpkin, yummy. And I love this cake! Thanks for guest blogging.

VeggieGirl said...

Fabulous guest post and cake!!!

Gabi @ mamaliga said...


This recipe is a killer!!! How did you get those Nutrition Facts images one? Do you have an automatic generator?

Thanks for the post!!!

Gabi @

The Blonde Duck said...

I love this cake and blog! Yum! First time visitor!

johngl said...

As one of Charlie's victims, I mean "cake tasters", I can honestly say that both of these recipes are quite good.

I did prefer the heavier, richer version and, after a "test" bite of each piece, I consumed the rich one first. As Charlie frequently says, "nom nom nom nom..."

The lighter version was on the plate about 30 seconds longer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Charlie - great post!

And mom is not right, we are. There was definitely molasses in there! And now that I think of it, we probably had the same bottle of molasses in the cupboard for what seemed like 15 years!

I also don't understand the aversion to chocolate chips and pumpkin. The first time I made this for my step-son, he felt my forhead for he thought I was mad!

It's what makes this cake!

Gera said...

Hi Megan and Charlie!

Stunning guest post and mmm love this cake!! Why not chocolate?? Practically chocolate can go with every dessert out there!
I think both versions are great but for my taste..the heavier version ;-)

Gera .:. sweetsfoods

Bob said...

Looks awesome, I don't have any problems with pumpkin and chocolate chips. Heh. But whats with the pickles in the ingredient shot...?

Charlie Hills said...

The pickles are just another facet of my oddball approach to life and to see if you're all paying attention. :)

The nutrition labels were generated by this fantastic tool:

You just type in the recipe in plain English and it figures it out for you. I meant to mention that in the post!

Balance, Joy and Delicias! said...

great post Charlie! thanks for sharing your family recipe with us!

Mary H. said...

I could totally be inspired to buy a bundt pan now.

Laurie said...

Great guest post, Charlie! Your cake looks fabulous.

Pumpkin said...

Great guest post! If only I had an oven, I would eat the crap outta this cake!

giz said...

I dunno... everyday that I wake up on the green side of the grass is a holiday so this cake can come with me everyday.

Lisa said...

Great cake! I prefer not to look at the calories, points or fat content:)

Katie said...

This looks great!

You are one of the chocolate salt winners please email me your address.

Jessie said...

this is a great pumpkin cake! Reeni is right you can never have too much cinnamon! Pumpkin and Cinnamon go so well with each other.

carolinebee said...

seriously awesome cake! That wait is a killer! Megan, I just made a new blog, I love reading yours so I just wanted to say hey!

jeri923 said...

I am Charlie's mom. The original recipe (from my aunt) I got a long time ago, so Charlie's memory that it's been in our family for years is absolutely right! However, and this is a big one -- the original recipe does NOT include molasses. Chuck decided to "tweak" it himself. Me personally? I prefer the lighter version, no molasses and applesauce (which I tweaked when I decided to try and lower the calorie content). Either way, it is a fabulous cake. Make it for Thanksgiving: your family and friends will swoon!

Charlie Hills said...

What's a "chocolate salt winner"?

Anonymous said...

WOW - that pumpkin cake looks amazing!

Thanks for the kidn words about Lando - it meant alot!

Zesty Cook said...

Great Guest post and awesome Cake!

Rosyblue said...

Man, this looks good. I'm going to try it. Thanks for the guest blog post!!!

Bobbi said...


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a gorgeous cake! Delightful! I'm a pumpkin addict...



Sara said...

I love pumpkin with chocolate, it's a great combination.

molly said...

Why are there pickles in the picture of the ingredients?

Charlie Hills said...

See my reply to Bob's comment above. :)

HangryPants said...

Very nice, Charlie. I agree chocolate chips go well with pumpkin, but what's up with the vlasic pickles?

Anjanette said...

so jealous of your mixer!!! :)

Charlie Hills said...

The mixer was actually a Christmas present from my mom two years ago. So don't be jealous of my mixer. Be jealous that I have an awesome mommy. :)

And the mixer *is* awesome for this kind of stuff. I can make this cake batter, start to finish, in ten minutes. The mixer never stops and neither do I. Your mileage may vary, but I am the kind of person who can crack two eggs at once, one in each hand.

Olga said...

wait, what's the jar of pickles doing in the picture? did I miss something? :)