This ever-so-slightly ghoulish sweet is designed to prepare with the kids. The pumpkin cake goes together very quickly, requiring only 3 ingredients. While it cools, make the cream cheese frosting, a topping that is so delicious you could spread it on an old boot, and it would probably be kinda’ delicious!

Put on aprons and turn on some daunting classical music, such as Edvard Grieg’s “The Hall or the Mountain King” or Camille Saint-Saens “Danse Macabre.”


Three-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: About 15 servings

Butter for greasing pan
One (15 1/4-ounce) package spice cake mix, see cook’s notes
One (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs

Cream cheese frosting: 1/2 cup (1 stick) room temperature butter, 8 ounces room temperature cream cheese (not fat reduced or whipped), 1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups), 1 teaspoon vanilla

For decorating: Halloween candies such as candy corn and candy pumpkins, and/or Halloween sprinkles

Cook’s notes: Not all supermarkets stock spice cake mix. I find it at Ralphs. If you can’t find it, use a yellow cake mix and stir in 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. If making cream cheese frosting, take 1 stick of butter and one 8-ounce package of cream cheese out of the oven to come to room temperature.

2. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, add cake mix, pumpkin puree, and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes or until smooth and completely combined, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. (Alternately, the mixture can be beaten by hand for 2 minutes or until smooth and completely combined.) Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on cooling rack. 4. Prepare frosting: Add all ingredients to either a mixer or food processor. Beat or process using on-off technique as needed – until completely smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Spread 3/4 of frosting on cake. Leftover frosting can be frozen for future use or used as a “dip” for cookies. Decorate using a Halloween theme if desired. Store covered in the refrigerator