Fall Birthday Treats

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)
  1. 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.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Ingredients:

  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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