by Stephanie Zonis
Want a dessert that uses pumpkin but isn't the same old pie or quick bread? Try this dense, very moist cake, with the good flavors of cocoa, spice, walnuts, and crystallized ginger. Crystallized ginger is usually packaged in chunks; it is not interchangeable with preserved ginger in syrup. My favorite crystallized ginger is made by Reed's Original Beverage Corporation, of Malibu, CA. I can find the ginger in some health food stores or upscale markets, but if you can't, you can order from their website at www.reedsgingerbrew.com. You must mince the ginger by hand, with a large knife; it won't work in a food processor.
Once you have done all the "prep" work, this cake is easy to put together. It will keep at room temperature for 5 days or so, if stored airtight, and it freezes, too, although if frozen for a long time the spice flavor will diminish markedly. You can't taste the pumpkin in this, but you will definitely taste the gingers! This is a lovely "plain" cake, ideal with a cup of tea.
2-2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup medium-fine chopped walnuts
1 cup finely minced crystallized ginger
2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2-3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
1/8 tsp. salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
(not pumpkin pie filling)
1-1/3 cups corn oil
1/3 cup water
4 eggs, graded "large"
Optional for serving:
Adjust rack one-third up from bottom of oven; preheat oven to 325 degrees F. with solid vegetable shortening, grease a 10 by 4 inch tube pan (mine is in one piece, as opposed to two pieces--don't forget to grease the tube, too). Line the bottom with a round of wax paper cut to fit, grease the paper, and dust the entire inside of the pan lightly with flour, knocking out any excess. Set pan aside.
Sift flour before measuring. When it's been measured, take out a tablespoonful or so, and place in a medium bowl with the chopped nuts and minced crystallized ginger. Mix until the nuts and ginger bits are well-coated with flour; set aside. Sift together the remaining flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, preferably fitted with paddle beater, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, and water. Mix at low speed until combined; increase speed to medium and beat until smooth. Scrape bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula. At low speed, add eggs, one at a time, beating after each to incorporate. When all eggs have been added, if necessary, beat mixture at medium speed until smooth (this will be a very thin mixture now).
At low speed, gradually add sifted dry ingredients. Scrape bowl and beater(s) as necessary to blend well, and mix just until combined. Remove from mixer. with large spatula, stir in nuts, ginger, and any remaining flour until blended.
Turn into prepared pan. Holding pan with both hands, rotate briskly to level top of batter, then push batter slightly higher along pan edges and tube as best you can. Place in preheated oven.
Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, rotating pan 180 degrees about halfway through baking time. I have had no problem with this becoming too dark on top, but if yours begins to get that way, cover lightly with foil. The baked cake will fill about three-quarters of the pan. Cake is done when a toothpick or cake tester inserted in highest part emerges with only a few moist crumbs still clinging to it; do not test the cake for doneness in the crack that will form on top. Do not overbake.
Remove to cooling rack; let stand about 15 minutes. Gently loosen cake from edges of pan and tube; invert carefully onto cooling rack (cake is heavy and hot). Remove pan; gently peel wax paper from bottom of cake. Re-invert to cool completely before serving.
If desired, just before serving, sift a bit of confectioners' sugar lightly onto top of cake. Cut slices with a large, sharp, serrated knife.
Copyright © 1999 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created November 1999
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