Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MY PRECIOUS PUMPKIN!!!



I really enjoy Katie's blog Apple and Spice and have loved following her adventures with the Cake Slice baking group.  I decided to sign up when she mentioned that the group would be starting a new book in October and were open for new membership.  The book is Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman, and I'm really looking forward to baking my way through it.



That said my heart sank a little when I read that the first months cake was Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pound Cake.  Why you might (reasonably) ask?  I have plenty of history with vegetable based cakes - I could be described as (an almost .... well perhaps an actual) chocolate fiend, where could the problem be??  Well, the problem was with the pumpkin, you see it is incredibly difficult to get canned pumpkin here, and I had managed to source a can earlier in the year (in Harvey Nicks if you don't mind!!!) and was guarding it fiercely for Halloween, I have read so many wonderful pumpkin pie recipes on American blogs that I had been looking forward to choosing my favourite and giving it a go.

A good friend and fellow book-club member had sneaked a significant birthday past us (very bold!!) but her sister let the cat out of the bag, so T and I decided that we should convert a scheduled coffee morning into a Birthday celebration - and what better occasion to use my precious pumpkin!!



The cake went down so well that I nearly didn't manage to get a photo of it sliced!!  It tasted beautifully moist, with a very pleasant light spicy back note that combined well with the chocolate, nuts and of course the pumpkin. 

 




The precious (!) canned pumpkin - fresh cooked pumpkin just doesn't have the correct texture (too wet!).
















Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pound Cake


1 3/4             cups flour
1 tsp              baking powder
1 tsp              bread (bicarbonate of ) soda
1 tsp              ground cinnamon ( I ground my own because I had run out of the ground stuff!!!!)
1/2 tsp           salt
1/4 tsp           ground cloves (thankfully I had these!!)
pinch             nutmeg (I grated this!)
4 oz/110g      soft butter
1 1/4             cups sugar (I used soft brown muscavado)
3                    large eggs
1 cup             canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp              vanilla extract
1/3                cup milk
1                   cup dark chocolate chips (I chopped up a bar of Lindt 85%)
1                   cup walnuts (reserve some for the top then chop the rest)


Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F
Line a 19 cm round tin with parchment paper
(the original recipe is for a loaf tin but I think round is more celebratory)

Sift the flour, baking powder, bread soda, spices and salt together  into a large bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time at a medium speed, be sure to scrape down the sides while mixing.
Stir in the pumpkin puree, vanilla and milk.
Stir the flour in gradually and gently.
Add the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts - combine well.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
Bake for approx 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool in its tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Then place on the wire rack and cool completely.



51 comments:

Rhyleysgranny said...

Lordy that looks one lovely cake. I made pumpkin pie last year and did not have(of course) the necessary canned pumpkin. I did have a few bags of pureed pumpkin in the freezer after scooping out two of the said fruits/veggies for my grandchildren and it worked very well. I have this sneaking suspicion that nobody really likes pumpkin and all these recipes exist to use the innards after Halloween. It is very watery and tasteless.

Brownieville Girl said...

I think you might be right there Granny!!

Although it has to be said that spices and sugar (and of course some butter) are the way to go when disguising tasteless veggies!!

The canned stuff is actually worthwhile both taste and texture wise - at least I think so!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

great post and this is so intruiging... could you try buying it on-line and having it delivered? As you probably know, I also have issues even sourcing the most regular of products... but I guess that's what you get for choosing to live in the back end of beyond... I was thinking that sweetened canned chestnut puree could work as a substitute? Its much easier to get hold of, particularly around Christmas... what do you think?

manu said...

Canned pumpkin puree??? Oh we have not it in Italy! I think it makes this recipe easyer!Lucky girl!

happeningswithLana said...

It sounds very good. I just found your blog thru a post you left on mine, so looking forward to looking around yours. Thanks for stoping by.

Munch and Muse said...

Normally, every store in town is selling canned pumpkin at a discounted rate but this year's an exception. My friend talked to her grocer because she was trying to find pumpkin for her daughter who lives in England. Her grocer said that the stores are having problems getting the canned pumpkin from the producers. I'd offer to send you some but I found canned pumpkin here and sent 4 cans to my friend's daughter so she'd have it for Thanksgiving and the shipping was $45, making those cans the most expensive pumpkin ever (LOL)!

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Lovely looking cake. I ordered the pumpkin from an online shop importing US goods but there is a hefty delivery charge. So, of course, I ended up buying lots of naughty American treats to try to get the good of the delivery charge. Not ideal!

Jill said...

Your cake looks much more enticing than mine (which I foolishly made in the loaf pan and not the mini-Bundt pan I wanted to use). In the US, canned pumpkin is on every aisle end-cap these days since Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner. Jill @ Mean Mrs. Mustard

Kitten with a Whisk said...

Mmm, what could be better than pumpkin and chocolate?

Jimena said...

Love the whole walnuts on top of the cake! Here I am taking for granted that everyone has access to pumpkin puree! Its found year around here in the states (at least in Florida) and thank goodness for that. Anyways, I loved this cake and am glad you did too!

Brownieville Girl said...

Dom, I think that the chestnut would be way too sweet (even if you reduced the sugar in the recipe). Katie used home made sweet potato puree (less watery than pumpkin) and said that it worked really well.

Manu - I don't feel sorry for you, there is so much fantastic food in Italy!!!!

Lana, you are very welcome.

Edie, $45!!!!!!!! Hope the tea talk went well.

PDNFTA - hope you got some peanut butter morsels!

Jill, I don't understand why we don't have canned pumpkin, plenty of pumpkins growing here!

Totally agree Kitten!

Thanks Jimena - can't even ask my friend to bring some home from New York, could only imagine the excess baggage charges!!!!!

Nicole said...

wonderful!!! I am delighted to follow your blog as well!

Jennifurla said...

Oh how yummy, it looks like the taste is just awesome.

Kelly said...

Your cake looks delicious.

I think that if you use fresh pumpkin, you can dry out the puree by cooking it in a saucepan. Of course I am spoiled by the canned pumpkin here, but I might try that while there are so many fresh pumpkins in the markets now.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Joie de vivre said...

I have been hearing that there is a pumpkin shortage but we haven't seen it here yet. I'm glad you made the cake, it looks scrumptious!

Evie said...

Perfect for a celebratory tea!

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

ok ok ok ... maybe NOT the sweetened chestnut puree then but the un-sweetened one that you'd use in stuffing etc... I'm convinced it will have a similar texture and depth as the pumpkin and will complement the chocolate really well... so convinced i'm going out to buy some from Sainsbury's (where they have no shortage) and will bake this over the weekend and put it on the blog... so there!...

Brownieville Girl said...

Thanks Nicole, Jennifurla, JdV and Evie.

I'll give that a go Kelly - thanks.

On your own head be it Dom! I do enjoy reading about baking disasters!!!!

Choclette said...

You're right - where the heck do you find canned pumpkin puree, certainly not down my neck of the woods :( Have you actually tried using homemade pumpkin puree?

Brownieville Girl said...

Have to admit I haven't Choclette!!!

But I have read on blogs that homemade is too watery and tasteless (the canned tastes very concentrated). Think I'll roast some punpkin, puree it, and then reduce in a saucepan as Kelly suggested.

Worth a try!

Cream until Fluffy said...

Looks lovely! I like the nuts on top - great idea :)

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

cheeky! Actually my dear mother has just given me her recipe for chocolate and chestnut puree cake and it's a HFW recipe... so ner!

manu said...

You're right BG! But food is never enough and I always like trying new recipes . . .

Jacqueline said...

That looks fabulous! I too have been itching to try several pumpkin recipes, but can't get hold of canned pumpkin. I do wish you could get hold of it here.

Brownieville Girl said...

Thanks C and F!

Dom - that looks like moving the goal posts to me!!!

Manu ... me too!!

Jacqueline - maybe there is a business there for us!

Zoe said...

I laughed when I realize that your precious pumpkin is from a can! I do agree sometimes can stuff work pretty good and can be better the fresh ones...don't know why too :D

Bridgett said...

Hand me a fork, I'm ready for some of this!

Maranda said...

Well I think you put that pumpkin to very good use!!! Fantastic job on this cake! If we have another pumpkin cake I will have to ship you some canned pumpkin! LOL!!

PS. I love your little bio section! I too am a lover of books and music and theater, etc. I miss my book club! :-( We are living in a temporary place right now so I haven't found one here. Well, there is one but I don't attend. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Anywhooo. Great job on this cake! I want it again just looking at yours!

Felice said...

Your cake looks delicious. Sorry you had to use up your one precious can of pumpkin. Someone should think about importing the stuff because obviously there is a market for it. Luckily I can get it here but I know that you can't buy it in Australia either.

Karen said...

What a pretty cake! I don't think I've ever had pumpkin and chocolate together...it sounds really yummy.

Katie said...

Your cake looks fantastic and I'm glad you thought it worthy of your pumpkin puree. Its annoying how hard it is to get hold of. Thanks for baking with us :)

Caroline said...

Your cake turned out beautifully. I did not know that canned pumpkin puree is not readily available everywhere, I guess we are spoiled here in US. Good thing it is easy to make at home as well. Just roast the pumpkins to concentrate (caramelize)their flavor, puree & let it strain through a cheesecloth to get rid of escess moisture. Hope you try it sometime then you won't have to rely on having to guard your canned goods :) Nice to have known your blog through The Cake Slice.

Cath said...

Who would have thought that a can of pumpkin would be sooooo precious!!! Looks like it was a hit! Great work! :)

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

so how do I join the cake slice baking group? or is it invite only? I feel the need to expand my baking skills and share!

Alwayzbakin said...

It looks delicious! Sorry you have such a hard time getting pumpkin.

Linda www.mykindofcooking.com said...

This recipe was a worthy use of your precious canned pumpkin! I will have to give this recipe a try.

Brownieville Girl said...

Zoe, precious was probably overstating it a tiny little bit!!!!

Bridgett, I have a large slice here for you!!

Maranda, a bookclub is a great way of meeting new neighbours and you could always read the books from the club at home to keep up with them - no pressure!!!!!!

Felice - maybe that is where all my millions will come from!

Karen - my first time with that combination, well worth a try.

Katie, thanks for being so welcoming.

Caroline - will try that next time, thanks :-}

Thanks Cath.

Dom, you should contact Katie (link above), but I think I read somewhere that they have stopped taking new members for this year.
You could participate in the "We Should Cocoa" baking group, the link is on my last post. We'd love you to share :-}

Alwayzbakin and Linda, thank you both :-}}

OvenDelights said...

Glad you enjoyed the cake as well! I love your blog photos, those berries look so yummy, and the cherry tomatos look even better! So jeaolous!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

The cake looks delicious. My supermarket shelf is loaded with canned pumpkin. Isn't strange how just a little ocean can make a difference in ingredients.

Monica H said...

I'm using my pumpkin stash very sparingly too, though I'm lucky enough to have more than one can :-)

This is such a nice cake to have along with coffee- I bet your friends loved it.

Future Grown-Up said...

We had a pumpkin shortage last year too so I totally understand. Love how you studded the top with nuts...it looks like the perfect cake to share with friends for a birthday.

Elle said...

Had no idea it was so difficult to get canned pumpking in the EU. I bet butternut squash would work for this recipe and Katie used sweet potatoes quite well for it. Your cake is beautiful!

Moogie said...

Yum.... pumpkin and chocolate. I'm in heaven.

Danielle said...

I just recently saw someone combine pumpkin and chocolate and here it is again! I guess I'm destined to give it a try. It looks so good :)

Leslie Limon said...

This has to be one of the prettiest pound cakes I've seen. I love how your arranged the nuts on top. :)

The Urban Baker said...

yum! now that's my kind of pound cake! i have some pumpkin in the fridge...i am going to whip this up!

My Little Space said...

Hmm...yummm... this sounds so delicious. LOL!
Kristy

zebbakes said...

I have just roasted, and pureed Mr Pumpkin and let the pumpkin puree drain. Apparently that is the answer to the wateriness thing. Having never made a pumpkin pie, tomorrow I will try the hummingbird bakery book version. If it works I will be most surprised! But having messed up carving the pumpkin I thought I had better try to do something with it. Thanks for visiting my blog, that was kind of you :)

HanaĆ¢ said...

I'm glad the can wasn't "wasted". The cake looks beautiful, especially with the walnuts on top. Very elegant. Too bad you don't have another can. I have one of THE best pumpkin cheesecake recipes ever. Let me know if you'd like to try it sometime and I'll email you the recipe. Here's my post on it though: http://hanaaskitchen.blogspot.com/2009/11/hcb-pure-pumpkin-cheesecake.html

HanaĆ¢ said...

Oh, and a quick funny story. I took a couple cans of pumpkin with me to Europe when visiting my family, because they can't get it canned either. Didn't realize it was considered "liquid" and so I put it in my carry-on. It was tossed. So bummed!

Choclette said...

Ah, thought you had done a pumpkin recipe, but do I risk using the fresh stuff - decisions decisions!