Delving furthermore into our autumnal pumpkin theme, here's a great family recipe we've been enjoying for years. Loved by our children (and adults alike), this cake has a really fresh and light texture.
This was the first time I had ever baked with pumpkin, and so I was unsurprisingly skeptical: "How would it taste?" and "Would the cake set?" -since pumpkin appears to be bursting with juice. Was I to be suprised! The cake sets beautifully, and retains the pumpkin moisture to make a delicate but rich flavour that has me reaching for a slice or two... For those of you unsure, I think the best comparison maybe similar to carrot cake, but this is noticeably lighter in texture. Feeding the cake with freshly pressed orange juice is a great way to pack in the citrus flavours, and moisten it further. Add the orange frosting, and the transformation is complete. A lightly sweetened frosted cake, bursting with orange and too difficult to say no to!
There are so many types of pumpkins that is can be great just to see them on display. From small round, to thin swan shaped, squashes, and bumpy nodular types -of all different shapes, varieties and colours. Not all pumpkins are edible though.
Here we used a butternut squash, which I find really easy to handle with this recipe. A thin salmon-coloured outer skin: it's simple to peel, and its orange flesh is hard enough to be able to grate easily. Full of natural moisture and flavour, it's easy to see why this pumpkin is a good choice for many. If you want to use a different pumpkin type, check at your local store that the skin (and/or flesh) is edible first.
As promised, I said we would share this recipe, so here it is. Enjoy!
500g (peeled) pumpkin or butternut squash
300g brown sugar
200g melted butter
3tsp mixed spice (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove etc)
zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp orange juice
1 sachet baking powder
200g soft cheese
85g softened butter
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
juice of half an orange
Prep: 15 min. Oven 30 min. 10 min. frosting and soaking
1. Weigh and prepare all the dry ingredients and place in a suitably sized bowl before you begin. Line a 24cm square cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat your fan oven to 160 deg.
2. Peel and deseed the pumpkin / butternut squash. Either grate manually, or grate (the flesh) using a food processor. Prepare the wet ingredients, including melting the butter.
3. With a hand mixer, beat / whisk the ingredients together omitting the pumpkin.
4. Add the grated pumpkin. Using a large spoon, fold the pumpkin into the wet batter until thoroughly mixed.
5. Evenly spread your cake mix into the square cake tin.
6. Before removing the cake from the oven, test with a cocktail stick to make sure it is cooked. Leave aside to cool slightly, before turning out onto a cake stand to cool further.
1. Place the soft cheese, butter, icing sugar, orange zest and 1 tsp of juice into a bowl. Beat lightly until a creamy appearance (do not overdo this as the mixture will become too runny).
2. Place the cake onto a serving plate. Prick the cake all over the top with a wooden skewer.
3. Pour over the remaining orange juice, ensuring to cover the whole cake. (If you like a juicy cake, then pour a little more on if you like).
4. With a cake spatula, spread the frosting over the whole top of the cake. Place in the fridge for an hour or two, to allow the flavours to settle and the frosting to harden slightly.
Serve onto individual serving plates adding fresh mandarins or orange to delight your guests.
The great thing with the bento is that you can serve into it, and be sure that its leakproof seals will make sure the filling stays where it's supposed to.
Take it to work or school, or just out for a picnic. This great recipe will taste amazing wherever you go.
..... our bentos are so versatile.
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