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Watching the Calories? Try Pumpkin Butter Cake

In this season of pumpkin spice decadence--like the 420 calorie Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte--isn't it worth considering cutting back on the fat and sugar and, instead, opting for something that comes through with the pumpkin spice taste but is far less indulgent? Besides, treats aren't treats if you have them every day (10 days of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and you've just added more than a pound to your person!). I, for one, can forgo the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) for food I can chew rather than drink. Plus, as I contemplate my time on the StairMaster, and how long I'll need on the StairMaster to work off that 420 calories, I'm not too ensorcelled with those PSLs. Going at top speed (no HITT--top speed all the way!), I figure I probably need about 25 minutes on the StairMaster. Then I'll need the defibrillator. I think I'll pass on the PSL.

What I will do is have a slice of Pumpkin Butter Cake. No, it isn't health food. It's cake. It's also low in fat and incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. Although I usually try to avoid packaged mixes, in this case, the Pumpkin Butter Cake starts with a commercial angel food cake mix. The mixes are inexpensive, readily available, and you don't have to figure out what to do with left over egg yolks from a homemade version. A can of pumpkin is the other main ingredient, and it helps keep the cake incredibly moist. The cake bakes in 15-20 minutes and then is rolled around a luscious pumpkin butter filling. You end up with a light, not-too-sweet dessert that provides all the taste and deliciousness of pumpkin spice but won't overload you with calories and fat. I should tell you that you'll have enough of the cake to make two rolls, but only enough filling for one. Put the extra cake, rolled up, in the freezer for another time (you can unroll it after it thaws and then fill it).

Low Fat Pumpkin Butter Cake

Pumpkin Butter Cake -- Makes 1 roll plus 1 extra

1 16-ounce package of angel food cake mix

3/4 cup of pumpkin puree

1 cup of water

1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

1 cup of chopped or broken walnuts

Confectioners' sugar (optional)

Filling (Pumpkin Butter)

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup of dark brown sugar

1/4 cup of orange juice

1 teaspoon of grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two jelly roll pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the pumpkin, water, and pumpkin pie spice well. Whisk in the cake mix and keep whisking for a few minutes. The batter should puff up considerably. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans, sprinkle on the walnuts evenly, and bake the batter for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool just a few minutes (don't wait too long, or the cakes will stick to the paper!), then invert them onto clean kitchen towels (the nut-studded side should be face down on the towel), peel off the parchment, and roll the cakes up, jellyroll-style, from the short ends. Let the rolled cakes cool completely. While the cakes are cooling, in a microwave-safe bowl or measure combine the filling ingredients and stir them well until they're combined. Microwave the mixture for 5-6 minutes, stirring it after 2 minutes and then every minute, until it has thickened and darkened in color. The filling--pumpkin butter--should look similar in consistency to apple butter. Unroll one of the cakes from its towel and spread the pumpkin butter evenly over the cake to about 1/4-inch from the edge of the cake. Re-roll the cake with the pumpkin butter inside. Put the rolled cake on a plate, dust it with confectioners' sugar if you like, and keep it refrigerated (wrapped well) until serving time. The cake actually tastes better if it sits in the refrigerator a day or two before it's served. Freeze the other rolled cake (wrap it well first) for another time or make two batches of the filling and fill both cakes.

Pumpkin Butter Cake

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