BOO CAKE! 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. It’s never exactly the same twice.

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.


Photos by Susie Coleman

Boo Cake
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Serves: 18 to 24
The base of this recipe is a Pumpkin Pound Cake; pumpkin is friendly with all kind of nuts, fruits and vegetables, which are easy to stir in. "Boo Cake" gets rave reviews wherever I take it. You don't need a mixer, either; you can whip this one together by hand without much effort. In fact, a mixer will make it fluffy.
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar (or 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups flour (white, whole wheat or a mixture of any)
  • 1 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal (recommended but optional)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • ⅔ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup of grated carrots
  • 1 large or small can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • ½ cup coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Heavily grease and flour a Bundt pan or two loaf pans
  3. Beat 4 eggs in large bowl
  4. Beat in 2 cups sugar
  5. Beat in 1 cup oil
  6. Place sifter on a plate. Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda to the sifter. Sift dry ingredients into wet in batches, beating til combined
  7. Fold in canned pumpkin
  8. Stir in carrots, nuts, and coconut
  9. Pour into well-greased and floured Bundt or 2 medium loaf pans
  10. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes to one hour.
  11. 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 5 minutes.
  12. When done, let cake rest in Bundt pan for 10 minutes; place cooling rack on top of cake pan and invert both; give it a little shake from side to side. If your pan was clean and greased and floured, the cake should slide right out.
  13. When cake has cooled, sift a little confectioners sugar on the top.
My favorite cake. Huge hit at parties. Stays moist for days. Not that it lasts that long. Serve slightly warm to watch your guests light up. Whipped cream, anyone?

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