by Maxine Troxell

Thanksgiving is coming up, so what can you serve for dessert other than traditional pumpkin pie? A number of years ago, I ran across this show-stopper cake recipe in Gold Metals’ State Fair recipe book.  I made it one year for the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, and it won Reserve Champion Cake. It takes a little effort, but it is well worth the time. 

Grandma’s Thanksgiving Cake


   2 ½ cups sifted cake flour

   2 teaspoons baking soda

   2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

   1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

                2 cups crushed vanilla wafers

   1 cup chopped pecans

   1 cup vegetable oil

   4 eggs

   1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin

½ cup caramel topping

1 cup pecan halves

Pumpkin candies, if desired


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three round cake pans, 8 x 1½ inches. Mix cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. Beat cookies, chopped pecans and butter in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl frequently until crumbly. Divide among pans; press evenly on bottoms of pans.

Beat sugar, oil, eggs, and pumpkin in same bowl on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Gradually add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour over pecan mixture in pans; spread evenly.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Frost with your favorite cream cheese or your favorite frosting.

Spread caramel topping over top edge of cake, allowing some to drizzle down sides. Arrange pecan halves and candies on top of cake. If you are using cream cheese frosting, you will need to store cake in the refrigerator.

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