‘Tis the season of pumpkin in the Northern Hemisphere, and while I admit to a bit of pumpkin spice overload while in the US last month, I do adore the cheery vegetable and welcome it into our home each year.
This pumpkin cake, spiked with ginger and studded with crunchy toasted pepitas and sunflower seeds, is easily mixed in one bowl for a fuss-free afternoon tea, Thanksgiving, or anytime treat.
Since moving to Australia, I’ve been making pumpkin cakes and pies using fresh butternut squash that I’ve roasted or steamed, in place of the large, round American pumpkins since they’re not easy to find. This year I was able to find some good old Libby’s pumpkin pie mix at a nearby expat foods store, and went for it. I advocate for any product that simplifies holiday cooking, especially if it’s all natural and preservative free. Guns blazing, I walked out with two big cans: one for this pumpkin-ginger cake and morning oatmeal, and the other for our upcoming Friendsgiving celebration.
It’s worth noting that the canned pumpkin I used in this recipe is pumpkin pie mix, which contains sugar and spices. Pure pumpkin puree or homemade pumpkin puree can absolutely be used. Simply double the sugar quantity from 1/2 cup to 1 cup, and add the extra spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice listed in the recipe below.
To make pumpkin puree from scratch, chop a pumpkin in half or quarters and scoop out the seeds. Lay face down on a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes at 180C/350F until soft. Or, for a faster option, peel and chop the pumpkin into large cubes and boil until tender. Then, mash and use immediately or wrap well and freeze until ready to use.
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- 3/4 cup wholemeal flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup raw sugar*
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup pumpkin pie mix*
- 1/2 cup mild-flavored oil, such as light olive
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower
- *If using plain pumpkin puree, add 1/2 tsp each: nutmeg and allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon and extra 1/2 cup raw sugar.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a standard 9x5x3" loaf tin with baking paper, leaving a 1" overhang over the sides for easy removal.
- Combine the flours, salt, sugar and baking soda in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour.
- Add the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices into the well, and whisk the wet ingredients together. Then start incorporating the flour mixture until just combined (don't be tempted to overmix).
- Pour the batter into the tin and scatter the mixed seeds over the top. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted of the center comes out clean.
- Pull the cake out of the tin (using the overhanging baking paper) and cool on a wire rack.
The ingredient quantities in this recipe are adapted from Elise Bauer's SimplyRecipes.com
Audio pairing: Miami Horror, “Real Slow”