October is pumpkin season. Starting with the green pumpkins which are great in soups and stews, we go on to enjoy the ripe pumpkin in pasta sauce, cheese cake, ice cream and a lot more. And the month ends with the large bright orange pumpkins that get carved into lanterns for Halloween. BTW, it is great fun to set about carving a pumpkin… if you haven’t tried it, you should.
Okay, so we were talking about it being pumpkin season now. These days we find so many products that are pumpkin flavoured. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin syrup, pumpkin butter, pumpkin ales… the list goes on. We have come a long way from the traditional pumpkin pie, the staple at the Thanksgiving table.
Pumpkin flavour in food items originated with the pumpkin spiced coffee, first introduced by Starbucks, which has become a regular item at any coffee place during the season. From there, its popularity has grown greatly over the recent years. According to the US Department of Agriculture, pumpkin sales have gone up by 34% in the last years alone!
Keeping with the spirit of the season, this pumpkin orange cake brings on the goodness of pumpkins, combined with an orangey sweetness. Preserved pumpkin is the base of this cake.
The preserve is prepared from the smallish sugar pumpkins during the pumpkin season and frozen, for use throughout the year. Cut the pumpkin into four pieces, remove all the goop from inside and roast in the oven till soft. Scrape out the flesh and cook it down, in a pan, with a bit of brown sugar. The pumpkin preserve is ready. It is great for making pies, cookies, cakes and brownies, all pumpkin flavoured. 🙂
To make the cake, in addition to the basic cake ingredients, you use cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to add some zest. Rest of it is very routine.
Beat together butter, egg, and the wet flavours.
Add the pumpkin preserve and mix well.
Mix together the dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternating with the milk.
You can use either a 11 inch cake pan or multiple smaller baking dishes. I had these bakery type paper cake pans which worked perfect!
You have to allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, before applying the frosting.
To prepare the frosting, thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
Decorate with orange segments (either from a fresh orange or a can) and a glazed cherry, and the beautiful cake is ready!
BTW, pumpkin seed oil is the latest beauty product to arrive on the fashion scene. Don’t know whether it will be good for cooking!
- ½ cup butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup concentrated pumpkin preserve
- 1 large egg
- ¼ tsp finely minced ginger
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- powdered sugar
- ¾ cup cream cheese, softened
- 2 tsp orange zest
- Orange segments (fresh or canned) and glazed cherries for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar together, till fluffy.
- Add the egg, vanilla and ginger and mix well.
- Add the pumpkin preserve and thoroughly beat into the mix.
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Add the flour mixture into the beaten butter-sugar mix, in batches, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Prepare cake pans by buttering them. You can either use an 11 inch pan or smaller pans.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pans till ¾ full.
- Place in the middle rack of the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make the frosting, beat the cream cheese till smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and orange zest and mix well, till fluffy.
- Apply the frosting to the top of the now cool cake, and decorate with orange segments and glazed cherries. Lovely to look at, and tasty to eat!