22 September 2008

The Great Pumpkin Cake

In case you missed it in the papers, I grew a pumpkin this year. An organic pumpkin, due to a free packet of organic seeds and a very natural (completely absent after toeing them into the ground) farming method.

And now it's official: I love pumpkins. I love watching them grow, I love how they taste, I love them sitting on my kitchen counter, patiently waiting to be consumed.

To commemorate my first hand-produced food, I needed a special recipe. Was it divine gourd intervention, then, that led me to In the Sweet Kitchen's Pumpkin and Orange Breakfast Cake? Whatever it was, I owe it my gratitude.

This golden orange poundcake will warm you like September sunrise; alongside a bracing but smooth cup of Earl Grey, you may find yourself, as I have, repeating this breakfast for lunch and dinner.

The first bite is moist, dense and instantly conjures the beginning of autumn: the pumpkin isn't overly assertive, but rather offers a fresh, vegetal sweetness. A drizzle of hot, sugary orange syrup and a dollop of vanilla yogurt are exceptional accompaniments: The citrus intensifies the bright flavors, and the vanilla adds a subtle, creamy layer to each forkful.

Pumpkin-Orange Breakfast Cake With Fresh Orange Syrup
Makes: 10 servings.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
3 large eggs, two separated, all at room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake or pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Juice of one large orange
1/2 cup sugar
Vanilla yogurt, for serving

1. Butter and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°. Cream butter, sugar and orange zest together until light and fluffy. Add the whole egg and two egg yolks, one at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in pumpkin puree.

2. Sift together flours, baking powder and salt. Add to pumpkin batter in three stages, blending gently but thoroughly after each. In a small, clean bowl, whip egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Gently fold into batter, then pour batter into prepared pan and smooth surface.

3. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until top of cake is springy when lightly touched, sides are beginning to pull away from the pan and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes; turn cake out of pan and let cool completely.

4. For the syrup, combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat, bring syrup to a boil, and simmer, without stirring, two minutes. Use while hot, or let cool and refrigerate.

5. To serve, place a slice of cake on a plate. Pour some warm syrup over the cake, then add a spoonful of vanilla yogurt.

To make your own pumpkin puree (even if you didn't grow the pumpkin yourself): Slice off the top and bottom of the pumpkin, and roast the whole thing in a 350° oven for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size, until it feels soft and tender. Let it cool slightly, then slice in half, scoop out seeds and pulp, and scrape the flesh into a blender or food mill and puree until smooth. Let the puree cool before using.

Making your own is hardly more complicated than opening a can of pumpkin puree, and it not only tastes better, it makes the entire house smell heavenly.

Is growing my own tea next? If I ever leave Brooklyn, perhaps.


Dave's Blog said...

I will expect you to come to COHO for a shift at the pumpkin patch some weekend after Oct 8 and Before All Hollows Eve, Miss Pumpkin!!!

Bonbon Oiseau said...

this looks so seriously good ana..all my favorite flavors..why does it leave me a little sad?

speaking of nice pumpkins: new recipe: roasted pumpkin (or delicata squash in my case), drizzled with a little sourwood honey and fresh chopped mint..dinner last night..

www.tafuny.com/ you know it?

AC said...


i thought of you and your blog when i saw this - i am definitely going to try making these soon!

montague said...