BOO! Pumpkin Pound Cake Surprise
By Susie Coleman
Pumpkin is definitely the shooting star of October. These large meaty treats of orange flesh are only sweetened by the cooler temperatures. In addition to the the larger, colorful pumpkins used for jack-o’-lanterns, there are numerous varieties of pumpkins grown for their fine flavor and texture. Visit a produce stand to find these delicious compact types if you’d like to take advantage of the Fall season to cook with fresh pumpkin.
A simple Pumpkin Pound Cake recipe is the base for this fabulous and versatile cake. It stays moist for days, holds together well, isn’t “crumbly” — and comes out absolutely delicious every single time. It’s VERY simple to throw together and customize with whatever ingredients I happen to have on hand — and I always keep some canned pumpkin on hand. I call it Boo Cake because what’s in it is always a surprise.
Boo Cake is a favorite any time of year or any holiday. Change ingredients with the season; the pumpkin never overpowers other flavors. Baked in a Bundt pan, it turns out as many as 24 servings. Take it to a pot luck dinner and you won’t bring home a single crumb. Top with a glaze or simply tap a little powdered sugar on it when it’s cooled. Or serve completely nekkid with some blueberries or strawberries on the side.
In this recipe, feel free to use canned pumpkin — the taste and texture are perfect. Or cook your own by baking washed, peeled and seeded hunks of pumpkin in the oven in a tightly covered pan for 45 minutes to an hour at 350°; add a little water to the bottom of the pan to provide some extra steam. A fork will slide easily in and out of the pumpkin chunks when they’re done. When cool, cut up the chunks and run the pieces through a food processor or blender in small batches to puree. Freeze the pureed pumpkin if you want to use it later, remembering to drain the excess water off when it thaws (wrap the thawed pureed pumpkin in paper towels to quickly absorb extra moisture).
I feel good about serving this cake, too. It calls for canola oil — one of the “good for you” fats; it’s the pumpkin that keeps the cake moist but not “rich”. I use fresh eggs from free-range chickens plus stone-ground whole wheat flour, which adds even more texture and fiber along with the carrots, nuts and whatever. Us old folks appreciate that the serving size is easily adjustable to any appetite. While Boo Cake does contain sugar, it’s not nearly as sweet as a piece of fluffy chocolate layer cake smothered in frosting.
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Photos by Susie Coleman
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar (or 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar)
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 can pumpkin or 2 cups fresh, cooked, drained, cooled pumpkin
- 2 cups flour (white, whole wheat or a mixture of any)
- 2 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal (recommended but optional)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ADD ANY COMBINATION OF THE FOLLOWING:
- ⅔ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup of grated carrots or 1 cup of grated zucchini, drained
- 1 small can of pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple, drained
- ½ cup coconut
- ½ cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Heavily grease and flour a Bundt pan or two loaf pans
- Beat 4 eggs in large bowl
- Beat in 2 cups sugar
- Beat in 1 cup oil
- Place sifter on a plate. Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the sifter. Sift dry ingredients into wet in batches, beating til combined
- Stir in canned pumpkin
- Mix in carrots, nuts, etc.
- Pour into well-greased and floured Bundt or 2 medium loaf pans
- Bake at 350° for 50 minutes to one hour.
- To see if the cake is done, insert toothpick into cake. If the toothpick looks at all gooey, return the cake to the oven for 10 minutes.
- When done, let cake rest in Bundt pan for about 5 minutes; place cooling rack on top of cake pan and invert both. If your pan was clean and greased and floured, the cake should slide right out.
- When cake has cooled, sift a little confectioners sugar on the top.
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