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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hurling Punkins and I Baked a Bundt

Hi Everyone! Guess where I went yesterday? Give up? Punkin Chunkin'! Yep, it's true. I went over to Bald Eagle State Park, right here in central PA, to the third annual Punkin Chunkin' Festival! What? You've never heard of Punkin Chunkin? Well, it's fairly new to me also. Actually, this is the first time I have ever gone to such an event. However, Punkin Chunkin has been around for sometime. As a matter of fact, there's even a Punkin’ Chunkin’ Association!

...Since 1986, the great pumpkin has been at the center of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin, where "backyard engineers" test the limits of pumpkin physics...So far the limits of punkin chunkin stand at 4,438 feet...Pumpkins rocket into the sky from different types of launchers, or "chunkers": catapults, trebuchets and air cannons.

The event has its beginnings in a blacksmith shop owned by John Ellsworth. In 1986 Ellsworth, Trey Melson, Bill Thompson and Donald "Doc" Pepper began experimenting with punkin chunking after reading an article about a physics class that threw pumpkins as an exercise in energy and mass...

Bald Eagle is a beautiful state park. One of 119 state parks strewn all over Pennsylvania. Since moving here, I've only been to Bald Eagle one other time and that was after they built the Nature Inn back in 2010.

Nature Inn at Bald Eagle is unlike any place in the Pennsylvania State Park system. Nestled within the natural beauty of Bald Eagle State Park, in the very center of the state, the Inn combines the comfortable amenities of an inviting bed and breakfast with sweeping views and door-step access to year-round land and water activities...

If you look waaaaay back there in the picture above, you should be able to see a piece of machinery with something way at the top that looks like a target. That's one of the Punkin Chunkin' catapulting contraptions. It's actually called a trebuchet. Wait, here's a close-up.

Once used in the Middle Ages to take down fortress walls, the trebuchet lobs objects that weigh hundreds of pounds, thousands of feet and at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour.

The ornamental pumpkins used for chunkin, were donated by a local Amish farm. After the event is over, the broken pumpkins are retrieved by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and returned to the Amish farm community where they are used for feed for the pigs.

I don't know if you can see them that well because it was a rather overcast day at Bald Eagle but, here are just a few of pumpkins floating in the lake.

There were about 10 Punkin Chunkin machines at the event. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get my bearings long enough to actually capture a flying pumpkin:( I did get a few pictures of the hurling pumpkin machines before it started to rain.

The kids had a blast when the little catapulting machines were all gussied up.

Yes, there were tons of vendors hawking their wares. The weather wasn't really friendly enough for outdoor shopping. But, I must say, there was an array of seasonal crafts and lots of foods. (I did manage to buy a huge jar of honey from a local beekeeper:)

And, I made my way past the Fudge Puppies but resisted:)

It really was a memorable experience even if I didn't actually get to see pumpkins flying. Things were happening so quickly and while the sky was promising rain, I just knew it was time for me to head out before thousands of other people did. (last year 12,000 people visited:) I'm glad I did. It took me two hours to get back to a main road!

Boy was I glad when I finally made it home to this home made Pumpkin Carrot Cheese Filled Bundt Cake.

Doesn't look half bad, does it? It's actually an idea I thought of while I was reading this recipe for Rutherford Wynd Pumpkin Bread in the Heritage of Southern Cooking by Camille Glenn published in 1986.

I had all the ingredients for the recipe but I wanted to add some carrots. (Marion went on one of her buying sprees and came home with 5 bags of carrots:) Yes, five! I also had seen a pumpkin bread recipe in one of my other cookbooks that had a layer of cream cheese squeezed through the middle. Enticing:)

So basically, what I did was:

1. I added a cup of shredded carrots to the pumpkin batter. And substituted 1/2 cup brown sugar for the sugar in the pumpkin batter. (1 cup white sugar & 1/2 cup brown)
2. Since I used pumpkin pie filling that already was seasoned, I omitted the cinnamon and nutmeg. (Marion insists on buying Libby's pre-seasoned pumpkin filling. Thankfully, we only have four large cans:) (yes, I will be donating a few:) I also omitted the water because I figured the carrots would hold enough moisture even though I spun them dry:) I suggest adding the water or perhaps some pineapple juice.
3. As for the cream cheese "layer," I mixed up 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar, (I always have vanilla sugar on hand but you can use regular sugar) 1 tablespoon of flour and one egg. (I omitted the orange zest and went with lemon. I also added about 1/3 of a cup of shredded carrots:) I was going to decrease the sugar but I was glad I didn't. If I didn't add the carrots I probably would have decreased the sugar as I didn't want the cream cheese layer to be too sweet. It wasn't.

As you can see, I also baked the whole shebang in a bundt pan. First a layer of the thick pumpkin batter which I had to spread with a spatula. Then dollops of the cream cheese mixture, and the rest of the batter spread over the cream cheese. I was rather messy with the spreading and dolloping but it worked! I also glazed it with a quick mixture of confectionery's sugar and milk.

The verdict? Dee...li...cius! Not too pumpkinney and not to carrotty. As a matter of fact, the carrots added moisture and a coconut like texture that Marion thought was real coconut; dyed! Pumpkinification!


Pasta Party Update: The Pasta Party is coming along famously! As of this very moment, we have 18 Pasta dishes en-route to the Party! It isn't too late to join in on the fun. Here's the Pasta Party invite just in case you missed it. You have until October 23rd to get your entrees in. Just wait until you see the array of glorious dishes we are going to have. Each and every one looks more delicious than the other. (in no particular order of course:) Thanks everyone! I'll be back on Wednesday with a Wordless Wednesday post and of course the Pasta Party Round-Up on Friday for World Pasta Day! Be sure and bring huge appetites!

46 Nibbles:

Mae Travels said...

The pumpkin devices are intriguing -- too bad you were rained on so hard!

Mary Callan said...

What a fun day - sorry about the rain!! the bundt cake looks super good - I've never heard to such a great combination of flavors!
Mary x

Brandi said...

Oh my bundt cake and fudge puppies!! Sounds like a delicious afternoon.

Nee said...

Hi Louise , what a fun day you had , despite the rain . I heard of hurling pumpkin , didn't understand how they did it , now I know and my kids enjoyed learning about your adventures ( I do too) . The bundt cake is to die for , so moist . Happy to hear the Pasta Party is doing so well. Thanks for sharing :)

Kitchen Riffs said...

Hurling punkins? Sounds like fun! I've read about this, and it really does seem like smashing entertainment. ;-) Lovely bundt. And glad to hear the pasta party is perking along so nicely!

Geraldine Saucier said...

It sounds like you has a wonderful day. Central Pa is beautiful in the fall. The bundt cake looks delicious:)

Pam said...

I have a pasta recipe scheduled to post tomorrow, but I'm on vacation and I don't know if I'll get a chance to email it to you!

~~louise~~ said...

The rain held off long enough for me Mae but as for the others, I sure hope they had umbrellas!

~~louise~~ said...

It was a fun day Mary and the bundt was a sweet reward!

~~louise~~ said...

It was Brandi. Although, I must admit, after a few hours, I was wishing I would have gotten one of those Fudge Puppies, to GO!

~~louise~~ said...

It was a fun day, Nee. Your kids would have loved it. There was so many things for the kids at the Punkin Chunkin. Next year you should make a family trip to PA!

~~louise~~ said...

Smashing John, lol...

~~louise~~ said...

Pennsylvania is a beautiful state, Geraldine, but it really struts its stuff in the Fall:)

~~louise~~ said...

Not to worry Pam, I'll pick up the link and mail you your number. Have a GREAT time! And take lots of pictures!

SissySees said...

Your cake sounds neat, but I'm going to have to get our fire company to consider punkin' chunkin' as a fundraiser!! ;)

Anne Regalado said...

Louise , what ?! You didn't even try one of those Fudge puppies ?! tsk tsk lol I bet you had a wonderful time over there ! Yup , your pumpkin-carrot cake filled with cream cheese is calling my name . 5 bags of carrots are not that much , right , Miz Marion ;D

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Oh my stars! Flying Pumpkins! Who would have thunk? By the way, I would not have been able to resist the Fudge Puppies! Nor would I resist your pumpkin carrot Bundt - Hurray for Bundt Cakes!

~~louise~~ said...

Not only is it a great fundraiser, Channon. It's a wonderful Fall event for the entire family!

Blond Duck said...

I once did a story on a guy with a pumpkin trebuchet!

~~louise~~ said...

You are so right Anne. Although the bundt was yummy, I was attacked by a chocolate craving later on in the evening and so wished I had grabbed one of those puppies:) If Marion would have had her way she would of bought six bags, lol...

~~louise~~ said...

It was quite an event, T.W. I did get to see the pumpkins flying, I just wasn't able to capture them in flight with the camera. I should have given in to the Fudge Puppies, I'll have to wait now until Grange Fair, lol...

~~louise~~ said...

Do tell, duckie:)

Dottie said...

Dear Louise, Fabulous post! I have never heard of Punkin Chunkin! That must have been fun to see those pumpkins flying. Bald Eagle State Park looks like a beautiful place. I always enjoyed the State Parks, especially in the fall. The weather looked like it was rainy and cold. That Pumpkin Carrot Cheese Filled Bundt Cake looks so good! Yummy for sure! That was great that you had added the carrots, boy Marion really got into those bags of carrots! Definitely have to try this recipe. I love all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing your experience at the State Park and the recipe! Blessings, Dottie :)

CQUEK said...

i like this type of event wish to be there and have fun!

Savannah Granny said...

Hi Louise, thanks for taking us to the Punkin Chunkin. My grandson built a humongous Trebuchet when he was a senior in high school. It was for his Physics class. He still has it in their two story barn. They have a farm with a large field right next to the house. We have often talked about planting that field with pumpkins and sponsor a Punkin Chunkin in their little town of 7,000. Since he now has a Master's Degree in Nuclear Engineering I'm not too sure what he may be Chunkin! LOL!
Hubby is a strange one...doesn't like pumpkin but I absolutely love anything pumpkin. He does love carrot cake so I am making this cake and whatcha bet he doesn't know he is eating pumpkin? Your cake looks beautiful, I only home mine turns similar.
Blessings to you and Marian

Nellie said...

This sounds like a most enjoyable event! How wonderful that you had such a delicious cake waiting when you returned home! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Ann Low said...

Hi Louise, Thank you for sharing this post. Looks like you had a lot of fun here. Wish I can try the flying pumpkins myself.... :DD

openid said...

Flying pumpkins, galore...this sounds like a hoot and a half! Love it =)

Janet Rudolph said...

Flying Pumpkins, indeed. This is so funny. Love the recipe! Can't wait to make it.. even without chocolate .. but it has cheese.. my other favorite.. plus vegetables!!! Yay!

Marjie said...

First, the Pumpkin Fest looks like it was a great deal of fun, but you were wise to beat the rush out of there. Fresh "Hunny" sounds like a great find.

Second, I like your cream cheese layer in the cake; I know Ryan will want me to replicate that. I'm a little surprised that it didn't bend around due to the difference in consistency between the cake batter and cream cheese layer, but it surely looks wonderful. And if Marion's only buying 5 bags of carrots instead of 5 bags of other types of produce, count yourself lucky. Carrots will last a good, long time! We love them here fresh, in salads, cooked, or baked into things like your cake. Happy Monday, Louise!

Poppy Crocker said...

The carrots in the pumpkin cake reminded me of a story my grandpa used to tell. During the Depression he sold produce. One restaurant always asked him for the carrots that had gotten too big and woody for other stores or restaurants to want them. One day he asked what they did with all those carrots and they gave him a slice of pie that he thought was pumpkin. As he ate it, they explained that they cooked and pureed the unwanted carrots to substitute for more expensive pumpkin!

I was curious, so I tried substituting carrot puree into "pumpkin" pie once. The pie was a little brighter orange and maybe a bit sweeter than usual, but I don't think anyone would have known it was carrot if I didn't tell them. It was actually pretty good. I'd do it again if the carrots were easier to use than canned pumpkin.

~~louise~~ said...

Awe gee, thanks Dottie. It was fun seeing the pumpkins fly. I only wish I would have captured them on camera. The park looks beautiful in nice weather too. The lake is probably about the size of lake Ronkonkoma. Maybe a little bigger. The Bundt cake really did turn out good. For those who can't get loved ones to eat carrots, it's a great way to "sneak" them in. I think it made the cake less dense too. Let me know if you try it. I bet a nice mascarpone filling would be delicious. I didn't have any on hand.

~~louise~~ said...

They have it every year, Candy. Come on over to PA next year!

~~louise~~ said...

The whole Punkin Chunkin popularity began in a Physics class, Ginger. I think it would be a GREAT idea as a fundraiser especially in such a small town. Howard has a small population also but there were 25,000 people at the event according to today's local paper. I say, plant those pumpkins next year!

I wouldn't make a bet on your husband not knowing about the pumpkin. He won't guess, I'm sure. It's easy to "throw" together. Please let us know if you bake it. Thanks, Ginger...

Katerina said...

I loved the scenery in this festival Louise and I am sure you had a blast! The cake looks incredibly moist and delicious!

kitchen flavours said...

Hi Louise,
Punkin Chunkin sounds interesting and fun! Its a shame you did not get to see it! I wonder what did they do with all the pumpkins that has been "chunked"!!
Your cake looks really delicious, and I love the changes you've made! Especially with the addition of cream cheese filling! You are a wonderful baker! And I like the sentence in the recipe. "Lovely to share - and lovely to be alone with"!
5 bags of carrots? Hahaha! Don't let the "hairs" grow!
Hope you and Marion have a wonderful week!

Marjie said...

Just so you know, I posted another pasta recipe around 10 last night, along with Italian bread for your Pasta Party!

And I didn't make your cake last night, because Ryan wanted apple cobbler instead. We moms have to take requests, don't we?

~~louise~~ said...

It was enjoyable, Nellie. Thanks:)

~~louise~~ said...

Thank YOU for visiting, Ann. It was fun. I've been wanting to do some flying of the pumpkin myself these days, lol...

Liz Berg said...

Hurling pumpkins? What a fun fall tradition. I love seeing the trees changing color in the gorgeous background...just wish the temps didn't fall like the leaves. Your cake looks phenomenal...that cream cheese layer is divine!

Cakelaw said...

Your pumpkin bread looks gorgeous! I will skip the punkin chunkin, but I could definitely try some of those fudge puppies.

Catherine said...

Dear Louise, That looks like a good fair!! It is too bad the weather didn't hold up though. I bet the vendors were selling some delicious treats! Though you went home to a very delicious looking bundt cake and I bet a good hot cup of tea after the rainy weather.
Blessings dear and always in my prayers. Catherine xo

Velva said...

OMG! What a fun way to enjoy pumpkins. I think it would be a blast. My kids would love it. I would too.

Happy fall.

Velva

Guru Uru said...

Haha that would have been so much fun my friend :D
Hurling pumpkins would be a massive reliever for stress too!

Cheers
CCU

I Wilkerson said...

Wow--a pumpkin bundt cake--what a great fall idea! I am planning to try pumpkin bagels (but I got sidetracked making some pasta ;-).

grace said...

i want a pumpkin hurler for my next birthday, and i really think my brother can build one for me--what fun! glorious bundt cake, louise--i like how it turned out.