The flavors of fall lend themselves perfectly to drinks, desserts, and other treats for special occasions. I prepared the following two recipes as part of Veronika’s third celebration, but they would be equally at home at a grown-up birthday party or other fall gathering!
Pumpkin Poke Cake:
- 1 (15-ounce) package yellow cake mix
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
- 1 (12-ounce) jar non-dairy caramel topping
- 1 (11-ounce) jar sweetened condensed coconut milk
- 2 cups non-dairy heavy whipping cream (such as Silk)
- In a bowl, whisk together the cake mix and cinnamon, then add the pumpkin and stir until moist. Spoon the batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish; the batter will be thick.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
- Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. This is a fantastic step for kids to join in! Reserve 1/4 cup caramel topping for later, and stir together the remaining caramel topping and condensed coconut milk. Pour over the cake and into the holes, spreading evenly.
- Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream with a stand mixer until medium peaks form (about 3 minutes). Spoon over the cake, spreading evenly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
- Just before serving, dust the cake with additional cinnamon to taste and drizzle with the reserved 1/4 cup caramel topping.
Slow-Cooker Pear Cider
- 8 pears
- 1 orange
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- Cut the pears into quarters and place in the bottom of a slow-cooker. We used a mix of red Bartlett and green Anjou pears, for a beautiful color contrast.
- Peel and slice the orange and add to the slow-cooker, along with the cinnamon sticks, ginger, and cloves. Cover and cook on high for 4 and 1/2 hours.
- Srain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher. Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup, and chill until ready to serve.
The cider can be served warm or chilled.