One of the publications I write for professionally has started running seasonal recipes for the holiday issue. My submission last year was a superb cheese spread, this year it is a Pumpkin, pumpkin-spice cake. I know pumpkin-spice gets overdone, often being used in things that don't have pumpkin in them. But the mix of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice brings back memories of the holiday season. By mixing the spices myself, I can punch up what I like (cinnamon and nutmeg) and go softer on the cloves - for me cloves can easily overpower. You can adjust to your taste. I have made this twice, added more raisins and nuts to the second one. Any time a recipe calls for vanilla extract, you can substitute bourbon (or rum, or brandy). Bourbon brings out amazing flavors in raisins. As with wine, don't cook with Bourbon you wouldn't drink, for this I used a Four Roses Single Barrel Barrel Select- it has a nice spice to it.
Should I post more baking / cooking posts?
Pumpkin, Pumpkin-Spice Cake
Ingredients grouped as you will add them:
4 ounces salted or unsalted butter (room temperature will work best)
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon (I prefer Saigon cinnamon)
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (about ½ a nutmeg)
½ teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons bourbon or vanilla extract
15-16 ounces of pumpkin puree (homemade or canned.)
1 to 1 ½ cups of raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat liberally with non-stick cooking spray, a 9-inch fluted tube or Bundt pan.
Measure and stir together the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
Cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (3 to 5 minutes you really can’t overdo this.) Add the eggs and beat until light a fluffy. Beating the mixture with the eggs incorporates air into the mixture, making the cake less dense. You will notice a change in texture and color. This will take 2 to 5 minutes depending on the mixer.
Stir in the dry ingredients at low speed, or by hand taking care to not over mix (or the mixture will deflate resulting in a denser cake.)
On low speed or by hand fold in the pumpkin and bourbon or vanilla. Bourbon works especially well with raisins. Be very careful in mixing in the pumpkin, as the weight of it can cause the mixture to break.
Carefully fold in by hand the raisins and nuts (optional.)
Transfer to prepared tube pan.
Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester or wood skewer comes out clean.
Invert on cooling rack and remove the cake from the pan.
Cool to 2-3 hours before slicing. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days (it never lasts longer than that for me.)
One of the keys to this recipe, is beating the butter, sugar and egg mixture until fluffy resulting in a better rise and less dense cake. Avoid the temptation to add the pumpkin puree before the flour, it can cause the mixture to break, resulting a very dense cake. Adjust the spice level to your taste. By mixing the spices yourself you can adjust to your taste. For simplicity you could use pumpkin spice mix. If desired drizzle with a glaze, or dust with powdered sugar. It is delightful with a soft cream cheese spread. Makes a great coffee or breakfast treat.
Will you try making it?