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Saturday, February 22, 2014

pumpkin pound cake


Pumpkin pound cake is amazing stuff. Give it a try. Seriously wow. Buttery, rich, satisfying, solid, I love it better than regular pound cake.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Baking will take 80 to 90 minutes.
Yields 2 loaves, or one bundt pan.
Cream together in a very large bowl:
1 cup butter,
or cold pressed coconut oil for a dairy-free alternative
3 cups sugar -- I almost always reduce this to 2 cups and it tastes fab

Add and beat in:
3 eggs
2 Tbs rum


Whisk separately:
3 cups whole grain, whole wheat flour -- yes, this works with whole grains!
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each of baking soda and Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg


To the creamed ingredients, add dry alternated with pumpkin puree.

You will need 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree total.

Beat in, but still alternating wet and dry until it is all added, and keep folding until smooth. You can do this by machine mixer but I prefer to fold by hand, folding thoroughly until I reach a smooth batter. Folding rather than beating helps with lightness.

Grease and flour your baking tins. You will need either a bundt pan, of any type -- for Christmas a year ago I made pumpkin pound cake in a castle tin, and it was awesome! -- or two loaf tins.

Bake 325 F for 80 to 90 mins, until a small knife or toothpick comes out cleanly. Tip out onto racks and let cool. Drizzle with a lemon juice and powdered sugar glaze if you must, but I really prefer this all by itself. It is buttery and delicious, warm or cool. Eat within a week (easily done) or freeze. It defrosts well.

Homemade pumpkin puree is a much healthier alternative to cans from the grocery store, as well as being far cheaper. I picked up several pumpkins last autumn and "processed" them. It's really not that tough.

I didn't bother canning puree because it requires a pressure cooker -- water bathing doesn't get hot enough to ensure shelf stability. So, I freeze mine.

Cut your (clean) pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds and stem. It doesn't need to be perfect but all the seeds should be gone.

Place hunks of pumpkin onto baking sheets. No need to cut further than you need in order to fit it into the oven. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes. The pumpkin flesh should be soft enough to stab easily through the rind with a dull fork.

Let cool. The thick rind should now peel off easily. Chop up cooked and cooled pumpkin flesh and either blend to puree right away, using an immersion wand blender and a deep bowl, or pop chunks into containers for freezing. Date and freeze.

When you are ready to bake pound cake, muffins, bread, pie, pudding, or anything else requiring pumpkin puree, set out the frozen pumpkin to thaw overnight on the kitchen counter. It will be mushier than before you froze it -- just what happens to all frozen produce, cooked or not -- and will be very easy to puree with any type of blender. Don't toss juice that has separated from being thawed. That's good stuff. Just blend it in. No need for your cake to be dry.

One half of a large pumpkin, basket ball size, generally yields about 6 cups of puree for me. I made three batches of pound cake this morning. Yum.

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