Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Pumpkin That Turned Into a Cake

A little over a week ago, I picked up two small organic pumpkins at the farmers' market with the intention of working out the latest brilliant idea I had for a sweet treat: a pumpkin walnut cake.

The more I've thought about it, the more divided I am on how I want the cake to turn out. Do I want a moist, spicy cake? Or do I want a cake that is a little lighter on the pumpkin and the spice, and a little bit drier, more like the walnut torte at the Hungarian pastry shop?

Tough choice.

Since the Hungarian-style torte will require more thought and work, I decided to set aside that recipe for this weekend, and last night I made instead a simple pumpkin-walnut cake along the lines of a moist carrot cake.

One of the baby pumpkins was starting to show a bit of damage on the rind, so I decided that particular pumpkin would get used first. I halved and seeded the pumpkin, cutting out the sore spot, and placed the halves cut side down in a baking pan with about 1/2" of water in the bottom, then baked for nearly an hour to get the pumpkin flesh all nice and mushy.

The cake itself included some Sucanat, whole wheat flour, an organic egg, and a little more in terms of spice than I really wanted (though it was still a good blend of spices: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves). The moist pumpkin I scooped from the shell (and drained a little bit) ended up adding the perfect amount of tender moistness for this particular cake, and 3/4 c of chopped walnuts added a good contrasting texture.

On the whole, the cake is a very pleasing combination of spice and sweet and nut, and I would certainly bake it again. But I definitely want to try modifying the torte recipe to see if that cake would hold up better with a stiff frosting (I'm thinking of an orange-infused buttercream).

Can you tell I enjoy getting these tasty ideas... and then testing them over and over?

Cindrella I'm not... but I do have a ball when I bake.


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