Just when you thought you were going to escape SoupAddict without a pumpkin-based dessert this fall — [whipshaw!] — I squeeze one in.
I had forgotten all about this one, to be honest. I had baked it the first weekend in October, looking for a distraction from the emotional chaos of my mom’s passing. (And when I need a distraction, it’s always to be found in the kitchen, and almost always with sugar. Or chocolate. Often both. Hm. I think there’s a pattern here. Soup addiction. Sugar crutch. Chocolate escape. Ah well. Could be worse. Like an addiction to “Jersey Shore.”)
So it wasn’t until I found the photos on my camera card that I remembered … oh yeah … those were good. Really good. A cross between pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake and pumpkin cheese cake, it’s a dessert that can’t decide what it wants to be when it grows up. So it chose all three. Good choice.
And here’s the kicker: it’s really, really easy.
Borrowing the cake/pie crust recipe from Paula Deen’s famous ooey gooey cakes means using a boxed cake mix. Yes, a boxed mix. And don’t make me feel guilty about it, okay?
Here, the cake mix is not used as a traditional cake, but rather the instructions are altered to create a kind of cookie dough that stands in for a regular pie crust. Top the “cake” with a smooth, vanilla-scented cream cheese spread.
And pour in the seasoned pumpkin mixture. Into the oven they go.
If your torte sinks a bit in the middle like mine did after a rest, just fill it with fresh whipped cream or ice cream and congratulate yourself on your problem-solving skills. Smile and move on. SoupAddict won’t tell.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Torte
Prep Time:20 minutes
Bake time:60 minutes
Yield: 4 mini tortes
Special Equipment: (4) 5″ mini pie pans (shallow, wide ramekins at least 1″ tall would also work; flan or creme brulee pans are generally too short)
1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
8 tablespoons butter, melted
Cream cheese filling:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2/3 cups heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Prepare the cake layer: Combine the cake mix, egg and butter and mix well with an electric mixer, or by hand in a large mixing bowl with a sturdy spoon. The cake “batter” is more like cookie dough and will be soft and pliable, not “pourable.”
3. Divide the cake dough into 4 equal mounds. Place each mound a pie pan and press to cover the bottom of each pan, as you would a pie crust, plus about a 1/2″ up the sides.* It doesn’t have to be perfect.
4. Prepare the cream cheese filling: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth (this can also be done by hand with a large whisk). Spread into each of the wells you created with the cake layers.
5. In another small bowl, whisk pumpkin topping ingredients until smooth. The mixture will be very loose. Pour over the cream cheese filling in each pie pan. Do not overfill — leave 1/4″ clearance at the top of the pan.
6. Place the pie pans on a sturdy baking sheet (for ease of transport in and out of the oven) and bake at 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.
Alternatively, you could make this in one standard 9″ pie pan. Just increase the bake time to 60 to 70 minutes.
*Depending on the size of your pie pan, you might have extra dough. That’s okay. Just remove it — don’t try to pack it all into the 4 pans. If you’re lucky, you may even have enough leftover for a 5th.