Pumpkin cake for Halloween

Undoubtedly, Halloween is a great festival to let your imagination and self-expression go wild for a change. Everybody dresses up in the most outrageous way possible and there are some crazy parties taking place. So there are lots of things to consider: costumes, decorations, entertainment and of course food! Last Friday I had been busy making cakes for pumpkin patch organised by the local charity (Down Syndrome Development Trust) that I support. The obvious choice was to make chocolate cup cakes decorated with orange buttercream and Haribo jelly ghosts.

Pumpkin-cake-1

And for my second baking treat I have decided to use the real symbol of Halloween – pumpkin and made a pumpkin cake. I have never cooked anything with pumpkin before so it was new experience for me and I was very excited to see how it goes. I have to admit that my pumpkin cake was a complete success story. The cake is very similar to classic carrot cake but actually it has more moist and soft texture. Though I am a great fan of carrot cake I personally have fallen in greater love with pumpkin cake…sorry carrot cake!

pumpkin cake

Ingredients for pumpkin cake

For batter
1 1/2 caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups plain flour (the practise shows that cheaper “harder” type of flour works best)
425g of finely grated pumpkin
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
1/4 ginger powder

For icing
200g soft cheese, preferably mascarpone (at room temperature)
50g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation

Beat the eggs and sugar till light and fluffy. Then gradually add oil while still beating the mixture. Add the pumpkin and beat the mixture for another minute. Sift all the remaining dry ingredients together. Add flour mixture quarter at a time to the egg mixture and mix well each time. Grease 9-inch square baking tin, pour in the batter and bake at 180°C for about 40-45 min or untill the wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let it cool on the wire rack completely before removing the cake from the tin. For the icing beat the cream cheese with butter and vanilla extract, pouring gradually the icing sugar, untill the mixture is smooth and silky. Spread the icing on the top with the spatula and cut the cake in 16 little squares.

If you want to make the spider webs as in the picture above, melt together 30g of dark chocolate and 20g of butter. Let the mixture cool a little bit, then pour it in the piping bag and draw on each square one dot in the middle and two circles round it. Move the wooden pick from the central dot to the outer circles to create web lines. Keep the cake refrigerated for couple of hours in order for it to set.

To make it a bit healthier swap one cup of plain flour with one cup wholemeal flour and 1/2 caster sugar with agave or muscavado sugar. Also simply enjoy pumpkin cake on its own without icing (it’s still absolutely gorgeous) to make it dairy free and cut down the calories and fat.

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