Pumpkin Ale Cake {Spiked Recipe Challenge}

Today I am linking up with This Gal Cooks and Frugal Foodie Mama for their Spiked Recipe Challenge : Fall Beers!

Fall marks the return of all those great things that we love.  Cooler days, crisper air, pumpkin spice lattes and seasonal beers!  We love craft beer year around, but there is something special about the flavors you can only get seasonally.  For this recipe, I chose the Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale brewed by Foothills Brewery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina!  This beer was the obvious choice since my husband works in the brewery at Foothills! : )

foothills pumpkin ale cake

I adapted my recipe from a cake that a good friend of mine introduced me to.  It’s a doctored up cake mix and her original version is ALWAYS a big hit whenever I make it.  So simple – can be mixed up and in the oven in no time!

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For my Spiked version, I made a few substitutions.

Pumpkin Ale instead of the water.

Canned pumpkin in place of the sour cream.

Butter pecan cake mix and vanilla pudding instead of her vanilla / chocolate version.

I kept the chocolate chips … their semi-sweetness is a nice balance to the sweetness of the cake.

The results were just as moist and amazing!  To finish this one off, I added a drizzle of caramel sauce.  And honestly, the cake is so moist, you can get by with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar, if you want to tone down the sweetness!

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Here’s the recipe!

Pumpkin Ale Cake

1 box butter pecan cake mix
1 small box vanilla instant pudding
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs
8oz canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 c oil
3/4 c Pumpkin Ale
6oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350
Mix all ingredients together. Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour into well greased bunt pan.
Bake for 45-50 mins.

To finish, drizzle 1/2 c caramel sauce OR a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Thanks ladies for the challenge!

Caramel Bacon Cupcakes

My husband Loves bacon.  That’s right – capital L Love.    I made these salted caramel, spicy bacon cupcakes for his birthday!

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His birthday this year was right after we got married.  I wanted to make something that would totally surprise him and that I knew he would love.  The Caramel Bacon Cupcakes did both!

First things first, Bacon.  Thick cut is the best, to me, for these because you need something that is going to hold up to being the star of the show .. the bacon toppers.  I rub the slices with a sweet spicy mixture and bake to crispy perfection.

For the base, I used a vanilla cake recipe and added bits of chopped up bacon and a sprinkle of maple flakes.  I usually don’t do homemade cake because I think the real magic is in the icing and details!   (details, details, details!)  

Salted caramel (via The Pioneer Woman) was mixed into a classic vanilla buttercream.  I used a large round tip for these.  Once I started using piping bags and tips, there was no turning back!  So easy!  I don’t know what why you wouldn’t use them.  An easy way to make homemade look professionally done!

They were topped with spicy bacon dipped in the salted caramel!  I love the way the caramel sauce runs down the icing as well.  Final detail, the red & white checkered liners.

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YUM!