Football season always brings mixed emotions for me. It is the first concrete sign that fall is coming and can no longer be ignored. Fall makes me sad for an abundance of reasons I’ve already discussed, but it’s such a shock to the system when pre-season games roll around in the middle of August and then the regular season starts, instantly bringing cooler weather. On the other hand, football is a great distraction from the weather. By the time the Super Bowl is played, it’s already February and nicer weather cannot be too far away.
Living in Southeastern Michigan, I’m also a Lions fan kind of by default. I’ve been to a few games years ago at the Silverdome, though they are only distant memories, and more recently a few more at Ford Field, which must be one of the nicest stadiums in the country, even if it has some of the worst parking options. I don’t mind going to the occasional game for something to do, and by some crazy miracle amid losing season after losing season, I’ve only seen victories for my home team. But let’s face it, it’s not fun being a Lions fan most of the time. I just hope in my lifetime they make it to the Super Bowl, but I’m not holding my breath. Thankfully the Lions aren’t the only team I like. The Cowboys, Packers, and Steelers are also among the teams for which I cheer.
Don’t think I’m some NFL super fan, though. I don’t mind having the games on as background noise while I work or eat; I even get kind of involved sometimes, cheering as I glimpse a particularly exciting play. Once primetime comes, my TV turns to Once Upon a Time and Homeland, as having to actually watch a football game without multitasking will put me to sleep faster than Matt Stafford can throw an
interception touchdown. The Super Bowl is the only game I watch all the way through and it’s the only time I watch commercials because they keep me awake. More than the actual games, I like watching the pregame shows, specifically those on Fox, both my local pregame and the national one, and Inside the NFL makes a midweek appearance in my TiVo queue. The hosts, the players, the behind the scenes peaks, the predictions, they fascinate me. My parents may be able to tell you who’s off-sides and whatever on earth that means, but I can tell you all about Terry Bradshaw’s picks for the best rookie quarterback. That’s right, other than touchdown, field goal, and interception, don’t rely on me for much football knowledge. And college football, well that’s just plain torture.
All in all, football season is a fun time of year. It’s another thing to watch and talk about, it’s something to cheer for and distract us from life’s problems. If only I could figure out how to keep fall at bay even as the players hit the field. You probably want a treat while you watch your favorite team battle it out for a win. This Pumpkin Snack Cake with Frosting is the perfect treat.
It’s super easy to make, insanely moist, and has the great flavors of fall. While the cake would probably be amazing on its own, everything’s better with some frosting, right? The frosting is also super easy to make, and is the perfect sweet compliment to the spicy cake. It’s also a pretty light treat. And while I kept the portions quite big, you could totally cut it into smaller pieces to serve a crowd. I also roasted my own pie pumpkins, pureed them, and used them here. It’s really easy to roast pumpkins, and the whole house smells amazing. The roasted pumpkin flesh definitely has to go through the food processor before being used, but this is another simple task. The pumpkin is really flavorful, healthy, and fresh without possible chemicals from cans. However, if you don’t want to pop some pumpkins in the oven, I’m sure the canned stuff will work just fine. You’ll cheer for these bars as much as your favorite football team!
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1⅔ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- ⅓ cup milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- 1⅔ cups fresh pumpkin puree
- 1 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 to 4 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a half sheet pan or cookie sheet with sides, about 15 by 10 by 1. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Make the cake. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves. In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy using a spatula or wooden spoon. A hand or stand mixer would also work. Add the eggs and mix until light and fluffy once again. Add the milk and pumpkin and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix just until a batter comes together.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-37 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs, rotating halfway through if necessary. Cool completely in pan.
- Once cool make the frosting. In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, and vanilla using hand mixer. Mix on medium-low until a crumbly mixture is formed. Gradually add in milk, 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time, until a thick, yet spreadable frosting comes together. It should have the consistency of buttercream, not a glaze. Pour frosting immediately on to cooled cake or it will harden. Spread into an even layer and cut into pieces. The cake is very moist and kind of hard to cut, so just do your best.
- Cake may be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for a couple hours.