The night I made this, winter weather had come back with a vengeance: rainy, cold, windy and cloudy. Freakishly, I actually like that kind of weather....as long as I'm indoors and in my kitchen because that's good baking weather. It's too cold to work well with chocolate but winter weather calls for something a little different so I made this pumpkin spice cake.
I've made no secret about being snobby over box mixes but I have to admit, this recipe warrants an exception. Actually, Anne Byrn does a really good job with her Cake Mix Doctor books in coming up with recipes that use cake mixes as a base ingredient but the end result tastes much better than the original mix. This was one of those. You can't tell it's from a mix. It's a nice, fluffy-textured pumpkin spice cake. The frosting recipe makes a bit too much frosting for me but that's because I'm not a frosting person. I didn't use the entire amount of powdered sugar called for in the recipe but just adjusted based on the taste and texture that I preferred my frosting to be. If you're not a frosting person either, you could probably get away with making 1/2 to 1/3 of the frosting recipe. Otherwise, make as is and pile that frosting on.
1 18.25-ounce package plain spice cake mix
1 3.4-ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup pumpkin, canned or mashed fresh
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus additional if needed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Lightly mist a foil-lined 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine all cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Place the pan in the oven.
3. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 32 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. When completely cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.