Pumpkins Galore

First up: Pumpkin Cake with Orange Frosting. Sounds a little strange maybe, but you’ve probably heard of carrot cake, yes? Its very similar to that in lots of ways, and even if you haven’t – vegetables in cakes can be brilliant! Corgette, beetroot in chocolate cake, onion-flavoured sponge…no I’m joking, that would be disgusting – the point is, try this pumpkin cake whether you have or haven’t made vegetable cakes before and you’ll be pleasantly surprised, as I was 🙂 Its very very moist – yum – keeps well in the fridge – great – and you can SO easily convince yourself its super healthy AND economical because its a vegetable and nothing goes to waste! Perfection. Here’s the recipe, get carving/baking/planning Halloween 2014:

Ingredients

For the cake:

  •  300g self-raising flour
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • 3tsp mixed spice OR 1tsp each of grated nutmeg, ground ginger and cinnamon
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g sultanas
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g butter
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1tbsp orange juice
  • 500g (weight after peeling) pumpkin flesh

For the frosting:

  • 200g soft cheese
  • 85g softened butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • zest of 1 orange and juice of half of one

Step 1: Sift all the dry ingredients (down to eggs in the ingredients list) into a large bowl and stir. 

Step 2: Melt your butter, in the microwave or in a saucepan – just mind it doesn’t explode in the microwave – and beat all your eggs into the melted butter. Add the zest and juice from the orange to this. 

Step 3: Pour the egg and butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined; scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well to incorporate any clumps of reluctant flour into the batter.

Step 4: Grate the pumpkin flesh into the cake mixture and stir in. Pour the whole lot into a lined baking tin, ideally a traybaking one – not too deep and rectangular – but square or circular tins will do.

Step 5: Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180C/Gas Mark 4. Check towards the end of the cooking time to see if the cake is springy to touch and a skewer comes out relatively clean, without the top being too browned. Leave to set for 5 minutes out the oven when done, then turn out onto a cooling rack and squeeze over a drizzle of orange juice whilst the cake is still warm. Set aside while you focus on the next exciting instruction…

Step 6: Make the frosting. Beat the butter and icing sugar together first to avoid having any lumps of butter, then beat in the cream cheese, juice and zest. It should be smooth and not too runny – bear in mind that the frosting will thicken slightly in the fridge, where you are now going to pop it out the way while the cake cools.

Step 7: When the cake is fully cooled, spread the frosting over the top then cut into squares. Keep this covered in the fridge if you sadly, like us this year, had no trick-or-treaters come to your door. On the other hand, more for us…!

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Source: BBC Good Food, ‘Halloween pumpkin cake’. Thanks for the pumpkin to carve mum and the rest of my family for eating it happily in cake form!

 

And secondly, a quick note on Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. You’ll need to dry them after you’ve scooped them out of the pumpkin and rinsed the flesh off – just wrap them in kitchen towel. Then spread the seeds out on a baking tray and roast in the oven at around 200C/Gas Mark 6 for no longer than 20 minutes, but keep checking them as this time does depend quite a bit on how damp the seeds are and how good your oven is. When they are lightly golden, take them out, shell them (this is fiddly but there’s no way round it unfortunately, unless you want to eat the husks I suppose – bit woody) and sprinkle with salt. Great snack and a much cheaper, though admittedly more labour-intensive, alternative to buying the ridiculously dear packets of pumpkin seeds in shops. Its always a nice sense of achievement making your own anyway 🙂 

 

So, there we are; you now have one carved pumpkin attracting trick-or-treaters to your door, pumpkin cake to offer to said trick or treaters, and pumpkin seeds for yourself to snack on and help prevent the inevitable gobbling of treats meant for the little monsters/ghouls/witches/devils/zombies haunting your streets. Enjoy! Hope you all had a spooktacular October 31st.

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