A rich, spiced treat from the White House to your house...
Led by Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, the White House pastry shop turns out thousands of cookies and hundreds of cakes, pies, and other sweets for President Obama and First Lady Obama's many holiday receptions. These are served on beautiful buffet tables in both the East Room, where the largest buffet service is, and in the State Dining Room. Black-coated waiters replenish the supply of treats constantly. (Above: The dessert table in the State Dining Room is beside the White House Gingerbread House)
"The President and I are at every holiday party," Mrs. Obama said on Monday as she visited with youngsters at the Children's National Medical Center. "We have almost two every day for two weeks."
Most guests get to both shake hands and take photos with the Obamas, in what is a grueling holiday tradition: The President and First Lady are on duty, on their feet, in the Diplomatic Reception Room for hours as they greet their visitors.
Guests have it far easier. Their toughest job is selecting from the array of rich, moist cakes on the buffet tables, which include Coconut Cake, Gingerbread Cake, Vanilla Yule Log, Strawberry Shortcake, Opera Cake, Tiramisu, and Pumpkin Cake. Pumpkins are grown in Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden, and the White House has released the recipe for the holiday cake that stars the Presidential squash. It's spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, which balance the sweetness of the orange cream cheese icing. Like most White House recipes, it's fairly easy, and requires a 2-quart bundt cake pan. An electric mixer will make things easier, but is not absolutely required.
Ingredients for the Cake
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon salt
*2 teaspoons cinnamon
*1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground ginger
*1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
*1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
*3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*1 1⁄4 cups dark brown sugar
*1⁄4 cup whole milk, warmed
*3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
*7 ounces of pumpkin puree (either homemade or from a can)
Pre-heat the oven to 340° F. Grease and flour a 2-quart bundt pan.
1. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking soda, nutmeg, and ground cloves into a large bowl. Put this aside.
2. Whisk together brown sugar and eggs with a mixer.
3. Beat in the vegetable oil and then the pumpkin puree.
4. Add the dry ingredients mixture, alternating with the whole milk in three parts.
5. Mix well and scrape the sides and bottom of bowl between each part.
6. Pour into bundt pan. Bake for about one hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
Pour the orange cream cheese icing over the top of the cooled bundt cake.
Makes one cake.
Ingredients for the Icing
*1 cup confectioners’ sugar
*1 tablespoon fine orange zest
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*6 ounces butter, softened
*2 tablespoons heavy cream
*1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
*Pinch of salt
*1⁄2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice, strained
1. Place cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl, and use a mixer until it becomes a smooth cream. If you are using a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment for the best results.
2. Add the softened butter to the bowl and mix.
3. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a plastic spatula and then add the orange zest, vanilla bean or extract, heavy cream, pinch of salt and orange juice. Mix.
4. Set the icing aside until you are ready to pour over cake.
*Decorate with candied ginger or orange slices, if desired.
Other White House holiday recipes: The recipe for Holiday Apple Cake with Maple Glaze is here; the recipe for Holiday Honey Cupcakes is here; the recipe for Holiday Gingerbread Cookies is here; the recipe for Holiday Sweet Dough Butter Cookies is here.
*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama; the cake, above, is beside fresh strawberries, Vanilla Yule Log, and Coconut Cake.