So, there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees. We've officially "fallen back." I now find myself desperately clinging to the last vestiges of fall. One way I do that is by making, baking, and eating as much pumpkin as I can. Not that I can't rock the pumpkin year round, but it just isn't the same.
As I was saying. Pumpkin. This weekend, it was a one-two punch. For dinner, I made gnocchi in a pumpkin sauce with bacon, mushrooms, and maple. I'd give you the recipe, but I can't. This is a baking blog, you know. (Of course, if you wrote me a fan-type email, I could probably be persuaded. I'm easy like that.) For dessert, I made one of my fall staples, a pumpkin Bundt cake.
The recipe for Pumpkin-Pecan Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting hails from the October/November 2003 issue of Cooking Pleasures magazine, the official publication of the Cooking Club of America. (I pull out this issue every fall and have the spots and drips on the pages to prove it.) This cake is great because it comes together really quickly and the rich, buttery glaze provides a nice balance to the not-too-sweet cake. It also stays moist for days.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans*
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon finely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light olive oil
1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 to 11/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1. Heat oven to 325ºF. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan with shortening.
2. In medium bowl, whisk flour, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, cloves, pepper and salt to distribute all ingredients evenly.
3. In large bowl, beat 21/4 cups brown sugar and oil at low speed until well-mixed. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and orange peel; beat at low speed until blended. With mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. Spoon batter into Bundt pan.
4. Bake 60 to 65 minutes or until skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes; invert onto wire rack. Remove from pan; cool completely before placing on serving plate.
5. Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar; bring to a full boil. Whisk in milk until smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in 1 1/4 cups of the powdered sugar until smooth and of glaze consistency. Add additional 1/4 cup powdered sugar, if necessary. Place in container with pouring spout. Immediately pour over cooled cake. Frosting sets up almost immediately, so slowly pour frosting over cake in one motion.** For a smooth look, do not go back over frosting with spoon or spatula.
*To toast pecans, spread on baking sheet; bake at 350ºF. for 7 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
**If frosting begins to thicken too much while pouring, place container in bowl of hot water and stir until thinner.
Literate Baker notes: Canola oil works just as well as light olive oil in this recipe. This time, I substituted one tablespoon of chai spice powder for all of the other spices and it worked really well.
Now, I'm not planning to turn my back on pumpkin once the snow begins to fall. I will, however, move on to some of my wintry favorites. I think, this year, I managed to hit the pumpkin highlights (even without a pie). I hope you've enjoyed them with me. Let's do it again next year.
Keep it sweet.