l’action de grace.

Friends, I hope the upcoming weekend is perfect for you, replete with love and good cheer and tables laden with delicious and satisfying food.

For my part, I started celebrating the long weekend a little early last night, so I’ll spare you the meanderings of my slightly soupy brain today and get right to the recipes.

Either – or both! – of these lovely cakes will be right at home at your Thanksgiving feast, and both of them will serve a crowd quite nicely.

My daughter, who just started in French immersion, came home from school today and told me that “L’action de grace is about remembering that some people don’t have enough food; and also, we need to make a really big pie.”

So I have my mandate.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The Great Pumpkin Cheesecake

My mom, who is no slouch when it comes to baking (remember this? And this?), created this recipe years and years ago, and making it is a Thanksgiving tradition in our family.

For Crust:
1 1/2c graham crumbs
1/4c unsalted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar

For Filling:
4 eggs
1c packed brown sugar
500g (2 bricks) cream cheese
1 – 398ml can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

For Topping:
1c whipping cream
1/4c maple syrup
a handful of sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine crust ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined and beginning to clump together. Pat this mixture firmly into the base of an 8-inch spring form pan and refrigerate until ready to use.

Give your food processor bowl a wipe with a damp paper towel – you’ll be using it for your cheesecake filling too.

For filling, process eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Add cream cheese, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and process until mixture is completely combined.

Pour filling onto crust and bake 45-60 minutes, until cake is set on the outside but still wobbly in the middle.

Place pan on a rack to cool completely, then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, run a hot knife around the outside of the cake and gently remove springform pan sides. Whip cream together with maple syrup. Cover top of cake with whipped cream, and arrange toasted almonds in whatever decorative fashion suits you.

Serves 10-12.


Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

This is liberally adapted from one of Nigella’s recipes, so I’ve kept the original weighed measures, with approximate conversions in parentheses.

For Cake:
175g (3/4c) unsalted butter
125g (1/2c, packed) brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated (white) sugar
100g (1/4c) molasses
200g (1/2c) maple syrup
100g (1/4c) runny honey
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
a dash of ground cloves
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp warm water
2 eggs
1c milk
275g (2 1/4c) light spelt or all purpose flour
40g (1/3c) cocoa powder
175g (1c) chocolate chips

For Icing:
500g (2 bricks) cream cheese
300g (2c) sifted icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For Cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9″ square baking pans with parchment.

In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugars, molasses, syrup, honey, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves over low heat, stirring, until butter in melted.

In a small bowl, combine baking soda and warm water, stirring to dissolve.

Remove saucepan from heat and beat in eggs, milk, and baking soda mixture. Stir in flour and cocoa powder, and whisk to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide mixture between prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a tester inserted into centre of cakes comes out clean.

Cool 15 minutes in pans on racks, then turn cakes out onto racks to cook completely.

When cakes are cool, make icing: in food processor, combine ingredients and process until smooth.

Place one cake layer on a plate and cover with half of icing. Place second cake layer in top, and use the remaining icing to cover top of cake.

Serves 10-12

One Comment on “l’action de grace.”

  1. […] is our month, friends, to give thanks and acknowledge joy and look forward with some […]

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