It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start turning a red golden brown and falling off the trees and squashes and pumpkins appear in the shops. I adore the warm, smooth and comforting taste and texture of squashes and love to eat them simply roasted, in risottos, with pasta, on pizza or in soups. However, I had never eaten or tired a pumpkin pie or cake before. After reading many posts from fellow bloggers about these sweet delights I decided it was high time I too sampled these autumnal treats.
I chose to make a pumpkin cake from an old copy of Good Housekeeping Magazine. The recipe called for roasting and then pureeing your own pumpkin rather than using a can, which was just what I was looking for as I have never seen tinned pumpkin puree here in the UK. When preparing the cake batter it reminded me strongly of carrot cake, as it used oil instead of butter and soft brown sugar instead of caster.
Roasting and then pureeing the pumpkin turned it a wonderful shade of orange and added a great colour to the batter once combined. A lovely array of warming spices were stirred in and I could tell the cake would be good from tasting the batter even before it was cooked.
I chose to decorate the cake with a simple chocolate icing as I wanted something to offset the sweetness of the cake whilst still allowing the pumpkin flavour to shine through. (I turned up cake upside down to ice it, as this always gives you a flat surface to work with).
The cake was incredibly moist and all the pumpkin flavour was really enhanced by the spices and added a silky richness to the cake. I took it into work for the Monday Munchers where it was greatly enjoyed. I was pleased to find that not many people had tasted pumpkin cake before either so it was the subject of much discussion.
If I made the cake again I would like to try adding some raisins, or maybe cranberries into the batter along with some chopped pecans as I think these would be a great addition. Either way I’m glad I’ve finally tried a pumpkin cake and more importantly, that I liked it!
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
For the cake
550g raw pumpkin
250ml sunflower oil
200g light soft brown sugar
225g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the chocolate icing
100g dark chocolate
2 tbsp milk or cream
75g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Chop the pumpkin into small chunks, place on a baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes until softened and lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C.
Grease an 8inch loose bottomed tin and set to one side.
Put the oil and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together until the sugar crystals have dissolved. Then add the egg one at a time, beating well between each one.
Add the flour, bicarb and spices and fold in using a spatula.
Puree the roasted pumpkin using a hand blender or processor until smooth. Fold into the batter.
Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Allow to stand until warm before un-moulding.
To make the icing, break the chocolate into pieces and add to a pan along with the butter and milk/cream.
Heat gently until all melted, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before sifting in the icing sugar and beating with a spatula until smooth and thickened.
If of a good spreadable consistency then ice the cake, if not then allow to cool for a little longer until firmer.
Makes 1 8inch/20cm cake.