Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Frosting
A couple of days after Halloween, I popped in to one of the bigger Supermarkets to find that they were giving away all their pumpkins. For FREE. This was both great, but also very sad. If people didn't take these pumpkins, they were going in the bin that evening. I placed a couple in my already heavily laden trolley and took them home with me.
The reason I'm introducing this post with the source of my pumpkin, is that I made this cake only a couple of weeks ago from fresh pumpkin, which demonstrates how well pumpkins can last, and just how wasteful it is for them to all go in the bin once Halloween is over. It also occurred to me how few people actually cook with fresh pumpkin in the UK. Sure, plenty of people buy them for carving faces in to at Halloween, but I haven't encountered many people buying them purely to eat. Once dissected, they freeze really well as both chunks or puree, and like many other root veggies, they're incredibly versatile.
This recipe is very similar to the way I normally make carrot cake. Just swap out the pumpkin for carrot and the pecans for walnuts, et voilà!
50g icing sugar
260g full fat cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
250ml sunflower oil
4 large eggs
250g light muscovado sugar
200g grated pumpkin
50g pineapple chunks
300g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp vanilla extract
75g pecans, plus 12 halves
Preheat your oven to 160C/180C fan. Grease and line two deep 8" cake tins.
Combine the oil, eggs, and sugar in a large mixing bowl, whisking until you have a thick and light-coloured mixture. Fold in the pumpkin, pineapple and currants, followed by the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and pecans. The mixture should be evenly mixed, but not overly.
Divide the mixture between the two tins, and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until golden and shrinking away from the tin's edges. (Check that a skewer dipped in to the middle comes out clean if you're not sure.) Remove the cake from the tin, take off any greaseproof paper and leave to cool while you prepare the frosting.
Cream the butter and icing sugar together until smooth and light, then combine with the cream cheese, vanilla extract and syrup until smooth and silky.
Spread half of the frosting on to one of the cakes, place the other on top of that, then spread the remainder of the icing on top of that. Finish by decorating with the pecan halves.