Pumpkin is an ever versatile vegetable so why is it often in a roast, soup, mash rotation? Roast, soup, mash, roast, soup, mash. Perhaps, in New Zealand, this a nod to our Sunday roast, meat-and-three-vege traditional fare. Pumpkin should be treated more like the apple or the carrot, something that closes the gap between sweet and savoury, compliments the savoury or brightens the sweet.
I made this cake following the instructions of a banana yoghurt cake, but changing quantities and ingredients on a whim, hoping for good things. The colour is quite startling, as you would expect from a cake made with pumpkin. It’s autumnal, perhaps a shade of rust. The flavour mellows out; there is a whisper of nutmeg and cinnamon, and not a lot of sweetness. The pumpkin sits on the back burner, not saying a great deal, instead bringing a certain warmth and richness to the cake.
You could easily ice this cake, an orange drizzle icing could be nice, or make it up like carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting. Although, I feel icing takes away its ability to be a light snacking cake, perfect for breakfast.

Next I’m thinking pumpkin bread; savoury, light orange in colour, perhaps of the yeasty variety. Bread and butter pudding with sweetened pumpkin purée, brandy soaked raisins, cream and nutmeg. Cannelloni stuffed with pumpkin and feta; a savoury crumble with pumpkin and parsnip – a crumble laden with walnuts; maybe grated pumpkin will work in a rosti. May winter continue long enough for me to try all these ideas.

Sweet Pumpkin Cake

1 1/4 cup sugar
100 grams butter, melted
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I cooked about 2 handfuls of pumpkin in sugared water until tender, drained the water and blended with a dash of cream)
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda

Pre-heat oven to 160°C. Grease a large rectangular or round tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until thick and creamy. Stir through the pumpkin puree, then the yoghurt. Sieve dry ingredients into the bowl and fold together until just combined. Pour into tin and bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your tin, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Serve with yoghurt, delicious afternoon tea cake.

N.B. This is a large mix.

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