Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Pound Cake

Today's recipe is Pumpkin Pound Cake!
This is from the Better Homes and Gardens collection of "Fabulous Fall Cake Recipes". What a great way to 
celebrate the harvest! Check out the whole list here.


We need a lot of different things for this recipe! I've broken the ingredients up into two groups for pictures, as it was hard to see them all in one picture. Ruth is sitting on the white sugar, the taller canister next to him is flour. The bag with all the clothespins that's right in front of Ruth is the brown sugar, and Hi-chan has managed to herd the eggs into a safe spot. Labels are fairly visible on the baking soda, shortening (under the baking soda), salt, and can of pumpkin. 
The smaller dragons have gathered the raisins, chopped walnuts, maraschino cherries (Black decided they made a good perch), and spices: cinnamon (tall bottle), cloves, and nutmeg.

Of course, there's also a lot of equipment involved. I've included the cooking spray as 'equipment' because it's only used for greasing the cake pan--a Bundt or 'fluted tube' pan is used for this cake. Black is apparently on the lookout for good perches today. We need two different mixing bowls, so I have a silver bowl and a yellow one. Across the yellow bowl the dragons have set the spoon and spatula. On top of the silver bowl is my electric mixer. Ruth has brought the measuring cups, Hi-chan has the measuring spoons, and Red has decided that he rather likes the cake tester.

Let's get started! First, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Black has that well in hand.

Grease and flour your Bundt (fluted tube) pan. First, you spray the pan all around with the cooking spray. If you don't have cooking spray, spread a little bit of butter or margarine throughout the pan.

To flour the pan, we need to put flour in it. You don't need very much; Black is only using a measuring cup because it makes a convenient scoop. Use about a handful, and then shake it lightly all around the pan so that it sticks to the sides where you greased it earlier. Tap any extra flour out into the sink or trash can once the pan is well coated.


Shortening mixture:
Hi-chan has added 1 cup (200g) of sugar and a plastic measuring cup to the bowl. Whoops!

Ruth adds 1 cup (180g) of brown sugar to the bowl, without dropping the measuring cup. In the background, the smaller dragons are getting the shortening out.

I like to use the stick shortening rather than the stuff in the tub because it's a lot easier to measure. Red and Hi-chan are holding the stick still for Ruth while he cuts on the line for the 3/4 cup (140g) that we need. Hi-chan then assists me in adding the shortening to the bowl--the wrapping makes this tricky for the dragons.

Next we need 2 eggs, which are a bit awkward for dragons to handle here, so Red and Black roll them up for me to crack into the bowl.

That's everything that goes in here for the moment, so it's time to pull out the electric mixer! Ruth tried to use it, but it's too big and heavy even for him, so everyone found a good place to watch while I beat everything for 2 minutes on medium speed.

At the end of 2 minutes, it should look like this. Everything is smooth and uniform in colour--no clumps. Now we set this bowl aside while we mix dry ingredients in the other bowl.

Flour mixture:
Black likes the flour today, even though he doesn't get to play in it. 2 1/2 cups (300g) of flour into the bowl, making the base of our dry ingredient mix.

Red adds 2tsp (10mL) baking soda. 

Hi-chan has the cinnamon, another 2tsp (10mL). 

Black brings over 1tsp (5mL) ground cloves. 

It's Red's turn again, he adds 1tsp (5mL) nutmeg...and the measuring spoon. "Butterfingers," he grumps.
"I think everyone has the dropsies today, Red." That's at least the third thing that's been dropped, though only the second time something that doesn't belong in the cake landed in the bowl.

Black has the salt, 1/4 tsp (1.25 mL). That's the last of the dry ingredients, so we can stir them all together now.

While the others are combining spices with flour, Ruth gets to open up the can of pumpkin. We need 15oz (425g) which is the whole can. 

Ruth is best suited to stirring, so the others brought the bowl over once he finished opening the pumpkin. Now the flour-and-spices mixture is nicely combined, all one colour with no blotchy spots. 
Now to put it all together!

Cake base:

This part needs to be done in stages and involves a bit of juggling different things, so the dragons are watching me add a little of the flour mixture and a little of the pumpkin. 
Then they move to better vantage points to watch me mix things up. The flour-mix and pumpkin need to be added to the original shortening mixture alternately, a little at a time. 
Beat on low speed for about 10 seconds after each addition of flour and pumpkin until it's combined. Doing it this way reduces the chance of making a huge mess with the flour, and makes the mixing go faster and more easily. Don't add too much at once, though, or you'll still end up with a flour-all-over mess.

Once all of the flour and pumpkin are mixed in, your batter should look like this. The volume has roughly doubled from the shortening mix we started with.

Flavorful bits:

Hi-chan likes pouring things out of bags, so she's got the nuts and raisins. These don't have to be measured quite as precisely, but you want about 1 cup (150g or so) of each.

Ruth adds the cherries, as the sieve would be awkward for any of the others. There's about 1 cup (150g) of chopped maraschino cherries here. Well, drained and halved cherries, which works well enough.

That's everything, so now we mix it all together. Ruth is using the spatula to mix so that nothing gets left out due to being stuck on the side of the bowl.

Ruth and Hi-chan hold the pan still for me while I carefully scoop the cake batter into it.

Black watches me smooth out the batter so that it's even through the pan and will cook well. Once that's done, it's all set to go in the preheated oven! This cake bakes for about 1 hour but will need to be checked for doneness at the end of that time.

Once the cake has been in the oven for an hour, test it with a toothpick or cake tester, as Ruth is doing. Stick the tester into the cake about halfway between the walls of the pan, then pull it back out. If the tester comes out clean, your cake is done baking! If not, give it about another 5 minutes in the oven and try again.
Once it's done, let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before trying to take it out of the pan.

Part of the cake got stuck in the pan, though I'm not sure why. Sometimes that just happens. Oh well, it may be messy, but it's still yummy cake! Once out of the pan, make sure to let it cool down all the 
way before you dig in!
If you like, you can brush the cake with orange juice and sprinkle it with coarse sugar (or maybe coloured sugar) for extra flavor and decoration, and then garnish it with more maraschino cherries. Since our cake had already come apart, we decided not to mess around with juice.

Time to dig in! Yummy cake! There should be enough cake for about 14 to 16 servings, depending on how big a slice everyone grabs. This cake went over very well with the group of friends I shared it with.
If you have any leftovers, they can be refrigerated for about 3 days, or wrapped in foil and frozen for up to two months.

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