Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pound Cake

A superb addition to any holiday table for family and friends, my Pumpkin Pound Cake can also be enjoyed all season long when pumpkins are plentiful and scrumptious.  This cake has all of the flavors we crave during the fall & winter, along with the fragrance of spice that seems to comfort most of us this time of year.  The hallmarks of any good pound cake can be found in this tasty recipe, such as the familiar tight crumb which tells one that the batter was mixed with room temperature ingredients.  A rich, golden exterior which comes from using light brown sugar and a long baking time in the oven, combined with the creamy essence from using a high-quality unsalted butter are all things we look for in a delicious pound cake.  Add pumpkin puree and you get something even more special.


Pumpkin puree, which can be canned or homemade, not only flavors the bundt cake with all of its goodness, it also makes for an incredibly moist and tender cake.  Finely chopped candied ginger gets added to the batter to amp up the notes & flavors of spice, and coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (your choice) add their richness to every slice.  After the cake has baked to perfection and has cooled down completely, an orange marmalade glaze gets generously brushed on the exterior.  


Make this delicious, eye-catching pound cake for your next holiday table or bake one whenever you get the craving for pumpkin and spice.  Use your favorite bundt pan to make it unique and enjoy a slice with a good cup of tea.  It's excellent!

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Pumpkin Pound Cake Ingredients
  • 2 3/4 cups {365 gm} all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons {12.5 ml} baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon {1.25 ml} fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons {7.5 ml} ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon {5 ml} ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon {1.25 ml} ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon {1.25 ml} ground cloves
  • 2 sticks or 16 tablespoons {226 gm} unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups packed {420 gm} light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon {15 ml} freshly grated orange zest, from one whole navel orange
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups {365 gm} pumpkin puree, canned is OK
  • 4 tablespoons {40 gm} finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 cup {105 gm} coarsely chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
  • 3/4 cup{225 gm} orange marmalade
Equipment: 10-12 cup bundt pan or other tube pan.
Servings: 12 slices


Center oven racks & preheat to
350° F (177°C)
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, fine sea salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves through a fine mesh sieve.  Keep this at the ready.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute on medium speed so that it's creamy and malleable.  Add the light brown sugar and orange zest and beat on medium-high speed for a good 5 minutes; the mixture needs to get very light, fluffy & creamy.  Don't skimp on this beating time; scrape down your bowl & paddle at least once or twice during this process, reaching all the way to the bottom of the bowl.

Before adding eggs to any recipe, I like to crack them individually into a bowl to check for freshness and to make sure there isn't any egg shell.  Add the eggs on medium speed one at a time, beating well between each addition so that there is no slickness.  The eggs need to completely emulsify into the batter; beat each egg for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Stop & scrape down the bowl & paddle at least once or twice during this step.

The batter will get thick, voluminous and quite pale in color.  This will make the cake light & tender.  

On low speed, add the pumpkin puree.  Note: the batter will get grainy, but don't worry, it will come together at the end.  Now add the dry ingredients slowly on low speed.  When almost incorporated, add the candied ginger and chopped nuts.  Beat just until combined and no flour is visible.  Stop the machine and detach the bowl.

Scrape off the paddle and give the batter one or two quick turns.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't contain any unmixed batter; if you find that it does, use your spatula to combine it well.

Coat a bundt pan with cooking spray (I use one that contains flour) or butter and flour the pan.  Make sure you get every nook & cranny, especially if your bundt pan is a very elaborate one.  Don't forget that center tube!

Carefully add all of the batter into the baking pan and smooth the top.  Give the bundt pan one or two gentle drops onto the counter so that the batter gets into every nook.  

Put the pan into the preheated oven without any baking sheet underneath it.  

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.  

The cake will spring back on top when done and won't be wobbly.  A cake tester or toothpick inserted should come out clean.


Cool the cake in the bundt pan for 10-15 minutes.  Place a cake rack on top of the cake and gently invert it. Carefully remove the bundt pan and release the cake.  Let it cool completely.

In a small saucepan, add the 3/4 cup orange marmalade and heat it on medium-low until it is runny and quite loose.  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl.  Discard the solids.

Set the cake on the cooling rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat to catch any drips.  Brush the entire cake with the hot glaze using a clean brush.  Use all of the orange glaze.  

 Don't forget to brush the inside tube of your cake.  See how it glistens with the glaze?  

 Find a good cake pedestal or cake plate and center the cake on it.  Slice into wedges and serve.

A nice slice of Pumpkin Pound Cake set on antique ironstone transferware.

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Although this cake is marvelous for any holiday gathering, I happen to think it's equally wonderful for a weekend brunch, a bake sale, a church social, a potluck dinner or even for a weekday afternoon nibble with a cup of coffee.  Freshly whipped cream can accompany a generous wedge if you happen to feel the need for a bit of extra decadence, but quite frankly it does fine on its own.  Any leftovers can be kept for up to 3 to 4 days at room temperature under a cake dome or covered with plastic wrap.  If you feel it has staled a bit, lightly toast it in a mini toaster oven and enjoy while it's still warm.  I hope a lot of you end up making this simple Pumpkin Pound Cake of mine and come back to it year after year if you happen to like it just as much as I do.  

Happy Holidays!

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