Got pumpkins? Make a great cake!

By Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate December 01, 2010 03:00 pm

I am a pack rat when it comes to magazines with recipes. I have dozens of old Martha Stewart, Sunset and other magazines going back 10 years or more. I keep them in stacks not by title, but by month, so when I need an idea for Thanksgiving, for example, I find the November stack and look for a recipe I made successfully some prior year or one I think I’d like to try now.

Last week I was trying to use up all the pumpkins on our front porch. A few years ago I discovered not all pumpkins are alike. The kind we like to use for jack-o-lanterns are too watery for baking. Pie pumpkins are denser and once you bake or cook with them you’ll never go back to using the other kind. I’ve grown them before, but this year my crop failed so I bought them at the farmer’s market. I used them as decorations but now it was time to start making pies and pumpkin soup.

As I flipped through my magazines looking for more uses for pumpkins, I discovered this recipe in a 2009 Natural Home Magazine. It was from the “Conscious Kitchen” section which promotes using local products. Besides the Ocean Air Farms pumpkin, I used Alexandre Kids eggs and Rumiano butter.

Instead of one large loaf, I made three smaller ones. We snacked on one and I sent another home with my daughter-in-law. There’s one more in the freezer that I’ll either give away or thaw out for a holiday dessert.

Making pumpkin puree is easy. The magazine suggests boiling or steaming pumpkin chunks then putting them in a food processor or blender. I prefer to cut the pumpkin in half and roast it, cut side down, for about an hour, then scoop out the pumpkin meat (first throw away the seeds and stringy stuff the holds the seeds in) and puree.


Pumpkin Spice Cake with Bourbon-Orange Glaze


10 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ¾ cups lightly packed dark brown sugar

3 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons bourbon, divided

1 ¼ cups cooked, pureed, strained pumpkin (strain through sieve to get any water out)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cardamom (I didn’t use it because I didn’t have any and when I went to buy it, I couldn’t believe how expensive it was!)

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ cup local honey (I used Waimanalo honey from Hawaii)

Juice from 1 orange

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (orange part only)

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter and flour 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Cream butter and brown sugar with electric mixer. Add eggs yolks (reserving whites) and 1 tablespoon bourbon and beat until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and beat until blended. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until just blended. Do not over mix. In a clear electric mixer bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add to pumpkin mixture and fold in gently, do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan and place in center of oven. Bake 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, make bourbon-orange glaze: in a small bowl mix honey with orange juice, orange zest and remaining 1 tablespoon bourbon. Set aside. Let cake cool for 15 minutes then unmold. Carefully turn cake over. While cake is still warm, poke about 20 holes all over the top and drizzle with bourbon-orange glaze. Cool before slicing. If desired, serve with whipped cream and garnish with orange zest. Good for breakfast, afternoon tea or dessert.

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate’s publisher, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.