Monday, October 15, 2012

Recipe: Pumpkin Orange Cake

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. – Jim Davis 

An amazing, moist cake.

Related recipes: 
Two-layer pumpkin cheese pie

This is sort of a post about leftovers, but not the kind you would expect. It's leftover sugar pumpkin from Thanksgiving.

This is what the eggs and sugar needs to look like.
"Beat until light coloured and thick."
Never one to make my life easier, when I made my pumpkin 2-layer cheesecake for Thanksgiving last weekend I started with a real, honest to goodness pumpkin. No canned pumpkin for me.

It was actually for cost effectiveness that I did it. A can of pumpkin will cost you about $3.00 and if you’re making cheesecake you only need a cup or less. 

Vendors only sell one size of canned pumpkin in our groceries, too... usually 28 oz. So my thriftiness left me with 3/4 of a sugar pumpkin (cost of sugar pumpkin, 99¢) sitting in my refrigerator.

Sugar pumpkins are the little, wee ones you see at farmers’ markets and outside grocery stores this time of year. They’re also called “pie pumpkins.” They are only about 6-8” wide, but are sweeter than larger pumpkins so perfect for pies, cakes, cookies etc.. They have very smooth flesh.

Not all pumpkins are the same. You can use the common jack ‘o lantern pumpkins for cooking but as they increase in size they tend to get “stringier.” That means you may have strands of pumpkin in your finished baked good. They are perfectly fine to use, but keep that fact in mind.

In Nova Scotia we are famous for our giant pumpkins (Atlantic Giants). Bred initially by Mr. Howard Dill of Windsor, the progeny of his pumpkins are demanded the world over for pumpkin growing contests.

The cake batter is much thinner than regular cake batter.
Atlantic Giants have smashed world records on many occasions. This year someone actually grew a giant pumpkin over one ton in weight! How many pies could you get from that? They are very coarse in texture, though, and although edible wouldn’t be as good as a sugar pumpkin. (Except for photo ops.)

Regardless, I still had 3/4 of my sugar pumpkin left over. This recipe is like a zucchini cake, which is also a vegetable that people often have "left over." It’s very easy to grow too many zucchini. One plant is usually enough for a family.

I heard a story several years ago about someone putting zucchini in unlocked cars in Bayers Lake shopping district in Halifax. Can you imagine? Go in to pick something up at a store and find zucchinis in your back seat when you come out! Evidently someone planted more than one seed. Newbies…

This cake is possibly one of the best I have ever made, and I’ve made a few cakes. It is light and moist with a crumb that holds together. Interestingly, it’s not very pumpkin-tasting at all, and the grated pumpkin disappears completely when cooked as do the mandarin orange pieces.

If you have some leftover pumpkin, or want to try to cook your jack o’ lantern after this Halloween, try this recipe. Just remember, you can’t use purée. It has to be grated fresh pumpkin.

I may have some for breakfast!

Pumpkin Orange Cake
Prep: 15 min  |  Bake: 60-70 min  |  Yield 16 servings
4 eggs 
2 cups white sugar 
1 cup vegetable oil 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 (10 oz) can mandarin orange pieces
1 cup walnut pieces
2 cups grated sugar pumpkin, raw 
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners sugar 
2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp clove or vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan. 

Beat the eggs and sugar together until light coloured and thick. (See photo)

While the eggs and sugar are beating beaten, mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl – from the flour through to the baking soda.

Add the flour, in three additions, to the eggs and sugar, beating well after each addition.

Once the flour has been incorporated, add the mandarin orange pieces, grated pumpkin and vanilla.

Pour the batter into the pan. It will be very loose. Let the batter sit in the pan for 5 minutes.

Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, between 60-70 minutes, or until done.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate. 

Let cool 10 minutes more and then make the glaze. Beat the confectioners sugar, milk and extract together until smooth. Pour over the top in ribbons.


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