Pumpkin Showpieces

Pumpkin Praline Cake

Air beaten into egg yolks and whites provide the "leavening" for this cake, so be sure to beat them as long as directed.

  • 2 cups chopped or broken pecans, toasted
  • 2/3 cup finely crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cooked fresh or canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Powder sugar
  • Vanilla-Rum Filling
  • Whipped Cream Topping
  • Finely chopped pecans
  • Orange peel (optional)

1. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with waxed paper; set pan aside. Grind the 2 cups toasted pecans. In a bowl, stir together ground pecans, crushed vanilla wafers, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and the 1/2 teaspoon orange peel. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated sugar with electric mixer on high speed for 6 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. Fold in pecan mixture.

3. Wash beaters thoroughly. In a very large mixing bowl beat egg whites on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

4. Fold about 1 cup of the egg white mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Fold pumpkin mixture into the remaining egg white mixture. Spread into the prepared pan.

5. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake tests done. Immediately loosen the cake from the pan. Invert the cake onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Peel off paper. Do not roll up cake. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack.

6. To assemble, cut cake into three 10x5-inch pieces. Place first piece on a serving plate; spread with half of the Vanilla-Rum Filling. Top with second cake piece and remaining filling. Top with remaining cake piece. Frost sides and top with Whipped Cream Topping. Press chopped nuts into sides. If desired, garnish tops with strips of orange peel. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Vanilla-Rum Filling: Cook one 4-serving-size package regular vanilla pudding mix according to package directions, except reduce milk to 1-1/3 cups and add 1/4 cup cooked fresh or canned pumpkin. Remove from heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons rum. Cover surface with plastic wrap and cool. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Whipped Cream Topping: In a bowl beat 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons brown sugar just until stiff peaks form. Makes 2 cups.