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From the White House to Your House: Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Did you know that the White House selects a "theme" every Christmas for its holiday decor? 

I didn't either, until I got a hold of the press release announcing it.  This year it's "Shine, Give, Share." I'm guessing that the recipe for Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting included in a press release the White House sent out Wednesday (and found below) was part of the "sharing" initiative.

Here's more about the holiday decorations at the White House:

  • A "Shine, Give, Share" banner has been hung in the East Wing Lobby, where the East Visitor Entrance is. Along with a silver garland, it, "captures the warmth of the holidays and welcomes visitors from across our country." A banner? Whatever happened to mistletoe?
  • The Obama's dog, Bo, is beating out Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for Official White House Holiday Animal. "Bo can be found in almost every room, from large topiaries to small ornaments." There are five Bo topiaries. They are made of felt, pom poms (750 of them — who counted this?), candy and, as the press release breathlessly announces, "even trash bags!"
  • The Green Room, of all places, is decorated with aluminum trees. The aluminum is recycled.
  • There's a gingerbread version of the White House. It's been a tradition since the 1960s. This year's rendition is made up of 400 pounds of gingerbread, white chocolate and marzipan. It took two months to make. Maybe that's why its recipe wasn't included in the press release. That, and the 400 pounds part. 

Here's the recipe for the Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting. I haven't tried it. Give it a whirl, and let me know what you think. I'll do the same.

Pumpkin Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
A recipe from the White House Pastry Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1¼ cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
7 ounces of pumpkin puree (either homemade or from a can)
¼ cup whole milk, warmed

Pre-heat the oven to 340° Fahrenheit.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and ground cloves into a large bowl. Put this aside. Whisk together brown sugar and eggs with a mixer. Beat in the vegetable oil and then the pumpkin puree. Add the dry ingredients mixture alternating with the whole milk in three parts. Mix well and scrape the sides and bottom of bowl between each part. Grease and flour bundt pan. Bake for about one hour. Let the cake cool in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack. For the finishing touch, pour the orange cream cheese icing over the top of the cooled bundt cake. Makes one cake from a 2 quart bundt pan.

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice, strained

Place cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in bowl and use a mixer until it becomes a smooth cream. If you are using a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment for the best results. Add the softened butter to the bowl. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a plastic spatula and then add the orange zest, vanilla bean or extract, heavy cream, pinch of salt and orange juice. Set the frosting aside until you are ready to pour over cake.