Pumpkins are an integral part of our Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations. Pumpkin desserts are especially popular during the fall and winter months. They are harvested in the fall when they reach maturity and can be used in food dishes. Common spices used to sweeten pumpkin dishes include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
It is important to remember that there are a few varieties of pumpkins. If using a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree look for the smaller and sweeter pumpkins. Ask someone to point you in the direction of Sugar pie, Baby Bear, Cheese Pumpkin or pumpkin pie pumpkins. The large field pumpkins, the most popular, will be too tough and fibrous to cook with, although the seeds are edible. Here are 10 pumpkin seed recipes. When choosing pumpkins look for ones that feel solid and are heavy for their size. Also, choose one that is free of blemishes, cracks, and soft spots.
When making your own puree, use the smaller pumpkin varieties (5-7 lbs. will do). Working on a counter top with newspaper laid out, cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, remove seeds and stringy fibers, and place cut-side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes to 75 minutes (depending on size) or until easily pierced with a knife. Scoop out the pulp. Puree in a food processor until smooth. You can then strain the puree through cheesecloth to extract all the liquid. Cool before using. The puree can be stored for about a month in the refrigerator.
** This recipe requires buttermilk. If you do not have buttermilk, here is an easy buttermilk substitution recipe.
Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk , room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
- 1 cup pure pumpkin
- (puree) (no spices added)
- 2 cups sifted Cake Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Additional cinnamon to garnish - optional
- Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces full fat cream cheese , room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup butter , room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray with a non stick vegetable spray, two - 8 inch (20 cm) cake pans
- Then line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper.
- If you do not have buttermilk follow the link with recipe in the above text and allow it to set.
- In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. The batter should look curdled.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Carefully add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Evenly divide the batter between your two pans.
- Bake about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake just comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert and remove the cakes from their pans. Cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer) and beat until smooth. Add the maple syrup and confectioners' sugar and beat until light and creamy and of spreading consistency. Add more sugar or maple syrup if needed.
- To assemble the cake Place one of the cake layers on your serving plate. Frost with a layer of the icing. Place the second cake on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.
- To garnish like the above photo, generously dust top layer with ground cinnamon. Refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving.
* NOTES *
This recipe is for a 2 layer cake not 3 as pictured.
This cake can keep fresh for about a week. Seal properly and refrigerate.
Recipe adapted from Objetivo cupcake and image credit