Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Spiced Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Today I've got a recipe for you that was sort of born out of a desire to have just a little bit less wastage when it comes to food and I'm sure it's something that quite a few of you will have had hanging around in your kitchen in the last week or so.  Yes it's pumpkin!  I adore carving pumpkins but I don't really know what to do with all those innards that you end up scraping out.  Mr Normal Kitchen and I went totally over the top as usual and bought the biggest pumpkins we could lay our hands one - one each of course - so by the time we were done there was an ice cream tub full of flesh looking a bit lonely and in need of a home.

Originally I thought about making a pumpkin pie but I didn't have a huge amount of time so I would have needed to buy a pastry case to do this.  I didn't really fancy that idea much so I started searching for pumpkin cake recipes.  I adore carrot cake and figured this was in the same arena.  I found a few recipes but none of them grabbed me completely so I took my favourite bits from a few, cobbled them together and basically made it up as I went along.

I am so pleased with the result!  So now I'm sharing it with you so you can also find a good home for some of your scrapings.  And I say 'some of' on purpose because unless you make a few of these cakes you're probably going to still have some leftovers!

spiced pumpkin cake cream cheese frosting Ingredients:

Spiced pumpkin cake
4oz butter
8oz dark brown soft sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5oz plain flour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8oz grated pumpkin
3 1/2oz chopped dates

Cream cheese frosting
3oz butter
8oz cream cheese
3oz icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 200C or 180C fan

2. Put your dates in a bowl and cover them with water to soak.  I just left them as long as it took me to make the rest of the mixture so it's only a few minutes but worth doing.

3. Beat together the butter and sugar until totally combined and light and fluffy.  Then add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat again.  The mixture shouldn't curdle but if it does add a little of the flour to help.

4. Add the flour, spices, bicarb of soda and baking powder and fold in until completely combined.  I say this because it's the proper way to do it but honestly I carry on using my hand mixer and my cakes turn out perfectly well.

5. Drain the water off your dates and add them to the mixture along with the pumpkin.  Fold in.  (I didn't use my mixer here, ha!)

6. Line a brownie tin with baking paper and add your mixture to the tin, spreading it flat and evenly into the corners.

7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes.  The cake will be a gorgeous golden brown colour and slightly sticky to the touch, mmmm.  It also fills the house with an amazing aroma while baking so if you're selling your house here's an alternative to fresh bread!

8. Leave to cool in the tin then use the baking paper to lift it out.

9. For the cream cheese frosting beat the butter until fluffy and then add the cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar.  Beat together until well combined.

10. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake before cutting into slices.

The cream cheese frosting is optional but I found it a great addition to the cake.  Alternatively you could serve the cake warm with thick custard for a delicious winter dessert.  It's a surprisingly light cake and very moist.  Not too rich and dare I say it a nice alternative to sticky toffee pudding occasionally.

In case you're interested here's a little pic of the pumpkin I carved this year too.  Happy Hallowe'en everyone.