Thursday, October 15, 2009
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is an old cake from one of Maida Heatter's first cookbooks. It's a lightly spiced pumpkin cake that's chock full of nuts and macerated raisins. The raisins are soaked in dark rum for an hour or so before being added to the cake batter. Raisins plumped in this fashion aren't necessary, but they add a lovely adult touch to an otherwise simple cake. Apple juice could also be used. I like this cake because it's easy to assemble, needs no special equipment to make and uses no exotic ingredients, save for the rum which is optional. When my children were small, I loved to make this cake for them, sans rum of course. It's only mildly sweet and the raisins and nuts add some nutritional value to otherwise empty calories. I did, however, have one child who would confound me. To this day, a raisin has never passed her lips. By the time she finished pulling raisins from this cake or a slice of raisin bread they'd look like Flemish lace. It was the habit years ago to serve this cake with a ginger flavored whipped cream. It's still a lovely garnish, but I prefer to keep things really simple and use a dusting of confectioners' sugar to finish the cake. Here's the recipe.
Pumpkin Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Maida Heatter
3 cups sifted all--purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins, macerated in rum or apple juice for an hour, then drained and patted dry
3 1/2 ounces (1 cup) walnuts, broken into medium-size pieces
2 cups plain pumpkin puree
2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups safflower oil, corn oil, or other salad oil (not olive oil)
4 large eggs
Optional: Confectioners sugar
1) Adjust rack one-third up from bottom of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 x 4-1/2 inch tube pan. Line bottom with paper cut to fit and butter paper.
2) Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Add a tablespoon of sifted dry ingredients to raisins in a small bowl. With your fingers, toss raisins to separate them and coat each one with the dry ingredients. Stir in nuts and set aside.
3) In large bowl of electric mixer, place pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Beat at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs individually, beating after each until incorporated.
4) On low speed add sifted dry ingredients, beating only until smooth. Remove from mixer. Stir in raisins and nuts. Turn into prepared pan. Rotate pan briskly to level top.
5) Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a cake tester comes out dry. Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. The baked cake will only fill about three-quarters of pan.
6) Cover cake with a rack and invert. Remove pan and paper. Cover with another rack and invert again. Cool right side up on the rack.
8) When cool, top may be dusted with confectioners sugar sifted through a fine mesh strainer.
Serve as is or with a generous spoonful of whipped cream. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.