The only thing worse than having an old Chinese food container full of caramel pecan pie filling in your fridge without an intended destination or life purpose (other than Grey's Anatomy-induced stress eating on a Derek Shepherd-full Saturday night)....
...is finding a boom box on top of a filing cabinet in lab. With a CASSETTE tape in it that is probably as old as the beginning of time.
And not having a dance party in the middle of lab on a dreary Thursday-that-felt-like-it-should-be-Friday morning.
Don't worry. My labmates and I are totally on the same wavelength when it comes to such things.
So we pressed play on that cassette tape, with the reckless abandon of people who have already been pipetting for three hours straight. And we partied like it's hot.
In the tissue culture room.
Lab coats and all.
(Well, except me. I refuse to wear a lab coat. I'm quite rebellious.)
We made it five minutes before the head of our lab came out of his office to inform us that whatever was coming out of that antiquated piece of technology was not, in fact, music after all. But someone with a very nasal voice trying to pretend that he was not born tone deaf.
Actually, I think what really happened is that he stared at us with all the solemnity he could muster for a good thirty seconds. And then said, "Uh, guys. This isn't going to work."
Back went the boom box to it's filing cabinet, left to collect dust and be discovered again in two decades when no one will even remember that cassette tapes ever used to exist in this world.
But what does this have to do with pumpkin cake, you might wonder?
Well. Sometimes you just have to take life by the horns and dance to bad music in the middle of lab on a random workday just to get through the week.
...you have to resist the urge to eat caramel pecan pie filling all alone in your room.
You have to take a chance on a pumpkin cake recipe that, by all means, seems boring but is actually revelatory in its simplicity.
You have to swirl that filling into a streusel as if your life depends on it.
And then you have to bring it into lab and share it with your coworkers. Because though your dance partying
Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Pecan Pie Streusel
Serves 12, adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook and Food and Wine
- 3 cups AP flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 batch caramel pecan pie filling
- Heat the oven to 350. Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- Place the sugar, oil and pumpkin puree in a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat well on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift and fold the dry ingredients into the batter.
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Drop the pecan pie filling on top of the batter in the pan so that it is evenly distributed around the pan. Add the remaining batter to the pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Start checking the cake after 1 hour. Let cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.