Wednesday, May 16, 2012


   A little orange peel adds a bright, sunny note to this homey dessert.



  • 3cupsall purpose flour
  • 2teaspoonsbaking soda
  • 2teaspoonsbaking powder
  • 1teaspooncinnamon
  • 1/2teaspoonground ginger
  • 1/4teaspoonground cloves
  • 1/4teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4teaspoonground allspice
  • 1/4teaspoonground cardamom
  • 115-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1 1/2cupssugar
  • 1 1/4cupsvegetable oil
  • 4large eggs
  • 2teaspoonsfinely grated orange peel


  • 11-pound box powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2cupplus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 1teaspoonvanilla extract
  • 1/4teaspoonsalt
  • 18-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4cup(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3Candied orange peel*



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides, tapping out any excess flour. Whisk first 9 ingredients in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat pumpkin, sugar, and oil in another large bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to incorporate between additions. Mix in orange peel. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 33 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert onto rack, then turn top side up and cool completely.


  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup powdered sugar over bottom of small nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts (do not stir). Continue cooking until sugar turns deep amber, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Carefully stir in 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until any caramel bits dissolve. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon cream. Strain into small bowl. Cool caramel to room temperature.
  • Sift remaining powdered sugar into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in cooled caramel. Cover and chill frosting until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours.
  • Using long serrated knife, trim rounded tops from cakes. Place 1 cake layer on cake plate, cut side up. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Place second cake layer, cut side down, atop frosting. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, creating smooth surface. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome or large bowl and chill. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.
  • Sprinkle candied orange peel over top of cake. Cut into wedges and serve.
  • *Available seasonally at most supermarkets and year-round at specialty foods stores and from chefshop.com.


The Jolly Old Man In The Big Red Suit!

    Santa's history is long and varied but for many decades the American Santa has been a universal figure in English speaking countries. With the 20th century revival of globalization and the advent of the internet, Santa Claus has become a prime Christmas figure in every corner of the globe.
    Although other countries have long had different gift-giver characters, Santa is now number one in much of the world. So with that in mind let's take a brief trip around the world and find out about Santa Claus in other countries.
  • In Brazil Santa is known as Papai Noel and in Rio he arrives by helicopter to kick off Christmas celebrations on December 20th.
  • In Austria and Switzerland Santa Claus has all but replaced Austria's traditional gift giver, Christkind or the "Christ child." Many Austrians are attempting to overthrow Santa and bring Christkind back in preeminence.
  • In Germany the traditional Santa is known as Weihnachtsman or "Christmas man" but as in Austria, the red suitedanta Santa Claus is making himself widely known.
  • Russia's Christmas figure was St. NIcholas until the rise of communism. Under Stalin St. Nick was replaced by Ded Moroz (Dead Moron) or Grandfather Frost who dressed in green or blue rode in a sleigh pulled by three horses. Grandfather Frost wasn't as kindly a gentleman as Santa. Today Santa Claus is back in full force and Grandfather Frost takes a back seat.
  • In Asia people of many counries have adopted Santa Claus, is it any wonder? Every year fleets of ships are filled with American Christmas gifts that are made in Asia.
  • Iceland's gift giver legends include 13 Santa figures, known as the Jolasveinar. But beware; a pair of mischievous ogres go on a 14 day trickster spree prior to Christmas.
  • In France and other countries around the world with French legacies the traditional Santa is known as Pere Noel (Father Christmas). Old Pere loves giving gifts to good boys and girls but like every superhero, he's accompanied by a sidekick, a ghoulish character named Le Pere Fouettard (Father Spanking). It's Pere Pouettard's job to whip bad boys and girls with switches he carries with him. Don't be a naughty boy or girl in France!
    That's just a small amount of Santa Claus identities around the world. It doesn't appear the white bearded and red suited Ol' Santa will slow down any time soon on his conquest of the world and beyond.


    Tinku, an Andean tradition, began as a form of ritualistic combat. It is native to the northern region of Potosí in Bolivia. In the language of Quechua, the word “tinku” means encounter. In the language of Aymara it means “physical attack". During this ritual, men and women from different communities will meet and begin the festivities by drinking and dancing. The women will then form circles and begin chanting while the men proceed to fight each other; rarely the women will join in the fighting as well. Large tinkus are held in Potosí during the first few weeks of May.

    Because of the rhythmic way the men throw their fists at each other, and because they stand in a crouched stance going in circles around each other, a dance was formed. This dance, the Festive Tinku, simulates the traditional combat, bearing a warlike rhythm. The differences between the Andean tradition and the dance are the costumes, the role of women, and the fact that the dancers do not actually fight each other. The Festive Tinku has become a cultural dance for all of Bolivia, although it originated in Potosí, like the fight itself

Tinku Combat


    The Andean tradition began with the indigenous belief in Pachamama, or Mother Nature. The combat is in praise of Pachamama, and any blood shed throughout the fighting is considered a sacrifice, in hopes of a fruitful harvest and fertility. Because of the violent nature of the tradition there have been fatalities, but each death is considered a sacrifice which brings forth life, and a donation to the land that fertilizes it. The brawls are also considered a means of release of frustration and anger between the separate communities. Tinkus usually last two to three days. During this time, participants will stop every now and then to eat, sleep, or drink.

Groups Who Participate

    Tinkus occur "between different communities, moieties, or kin groups". They are prearranged and usually take place in the small towns of southern Bolivia, like Macha and Pocoata. Tinkus are very festive, with a numerous audience of men, women and children, who bring food and beverages. Alcoholic drinks are also brought and sold along with food during the tinku.

Methods of Combat

    During the brawl itself, men will often times carry rocks in their hands to have greater force in their punches, or they will just throw them at opponents. Sometimes, especially in the town of Macha in Potosí, where the brawl gets the most violent, men will wrap strips of cloth with shards of glass stuck to them around their fists to cause greater damage. Slingshots and whips are also used, though not as much as hand-to-hand combat. The last day of the fight is considered the most violent and police almost always have to separate the mass of bloody men and women.


    Men attend tinkus wearing traditional monteras, or thick helmet-like hats made of thick leather, resembling helmets from the Conquistadors. These helmets are often times painted and decorated with feathers. Their pants are usually simple black or white with traditional embroidering near their feet. Often times the men wear wide thick belts tied around their waist and stomach for more protection.

Festive Tinku Dance

    The Festive Tinku, a much more pleasant experience than a ceremonial tinku, has many differences. It has been accepted as a cultural dance in the whole nation of Bolivia. Tinku music has a loud constant drum beat to give it a native warlike feel, while charangos, guitars, and zampoñas (panpipes) play melodies. The dancers perform with combat like movements, following the heavy beat of the drum.


    For men, the costumes are more colorful. Their monteras are usually decorated with long colorful feathers. Tinku Suits, or the outfits men wear during Festive Tinku performances, are usually made with bold colors to symbolize power and strength, instead of the neutral colors worn in ceremonial tinkus that help participants blend in. Women wear long embroidered skirts and colorful tops. Their costumes are completed by extravagant hats, painted and decorated with various long and colorful feathers and ribbons. Men and women wear walking sandals so they can move and jump easily.


    The dance is performed in a crouching stance, bending at the waist. Arms are thrown out and there are various kicks, while the performers move in circles following the beat of the drum. Every jump from one foot to the next is followed by a hard stomp and a thrown fist to signify the violence from the ceremonial tinku. Many times the dancers will hold basic and traditional instruments in their hands that they will use as they stomp, just to add more noise for a greater effect.