Monday, September 26, 2011

Pumpkin-Walnut Cake

Remember last April when the Austin Bakes group organized a big bake sale benefitting recovery efforts in Japan? Well, we’re getting the band back together again, and this time, all proceeds will benefit the Austin Community Foundation's Central Texas Wildfire Fund. This fund is providing support to agencies working in Bastrop, Steiner Ranch, Spicewood, and other parts of Central Texas affected by wildfire. The bake sale is this Saturday, October 1, from 10 am until 2 pm at six locations in Austin and one location in Round Rock, and there’s also an online giving page. With the day of the bake sale approaching quickly, I needed to test a recipe for a cake that I thought might be worthy of the event. This is a cake from the book Miette, and it caught my eye when I read the book earlier this summer. It’s an easy, bundt cake, and in the book, made-from-scratch pumpkin puree is recommended. I cheated and used organic canned pumpkin puree, and the cake was lovely. With pumpkin and walnuts involved, I expected a deliciously dense crumb, but instead, this was one of the lightest and fluffiest cakes with nuts I’ve tasted. It’s adorned with just enough chocolate ganache to make it special, but just a dusting of confectioners' sugar or even leaving it plain wouldn’t have diminished this cake.

It's a good idea to generously butter a bundt pan. To be sure the cake pops out of the pan without issues, slather plenty of softened butter into all the grooves and curves of the pan. With a well-buttered and floured pan, the batter can be started. Dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt were sifted into a bowl. I combined a little whole wheat flour with mostly all-purpose for the total flour quantity. Then, in a stand mixer, eggs and sugar were mixed, and vegetable oil was slowly drizzled in while still mixing. There is a note in the recipe explaining that if canned pumpkin puree is used, some water should be added. So, the puree was combined with a quarter cup of water, and that mixture was added to the mixing bowl and incorporated. The dry ingredients were slowly added, and toasted, chopped walnuts were folded into the batter. The cake baked for 50 minutes, and I waited impatiently.

As I said, this was a delightfully tender-crumbed cake. The pumpkin puree keeps it that way, and the walnuts added flavor and crunch. The chocolate ganache was completely optional, but it was such nice, subtle added touch on top, I’ll definitely include it again next time. Due to the unanimous thumbs-up review, I’ll be baking another one of these cakes for Saturday’s bake sale.



27 comments:

  1. I have one word to say to this cake : YES. Wish I could be a part of this bake sale!! Bake for Japan was such an awesome experience and I am sure this will be, too. Best of luck!!

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  2. Thanks, Anna! We'll miss you this time.

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  3. It is so nice to see bloggers get together for a good cause yet again! This cake is making me drool!! I love the addition of walnuts - the book sounds like a good one to read!

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  4. What a gorgeous cake! So tempting.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. This looks like such a hearty cake! Pumpkin bread/cake is something I look forward to every autumn, and it is wonderful that this is contributing to such a good cause. I hope you were not impacted by the fires.

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  6. Christine: Thank you! No, I was not personally impacted by the fires. I'm just happy to help however I can with this cause so close to home.

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  7. You are a good egg!

    Fall is here, my mouth is watering looking at this cake, nice of you to bake it!

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  8. Interesting that it turned out light and fluffy. I would have expected the opposite too! Looks delicious, either way!

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  9. Looks yummy, and it must be that time, as I just baked three loaves of 'plain' pumpkin bread yesterday as it is one of my kiddos fall favorites...they can't seem to get enough. Have never made mine in a bundt pan though, but you've inspired me! Looks delicious!

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  10. Feel silly for asking... is the recipe posted somewhere and I just can't find it or do I need to buy or borrow Miette?

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  11. Lisa, What a gorgeous cake! I'd finish the cake with ganache too. Thank you for sharing this recipe - it's bookmarked for a try soon!

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  12. If there's one thing I'm in the mood for right now, it's pumpkin baked goods...and this would for sure satisfy that craving! What a gorgeous cake!

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  13. Pumpkin, walnuts and chocolate is really a perfect match! I used to make a sweet loaf bread that combined them all but haven't in years! This looks so fabulous I might just have to bake one as soon as autumn arrives. I love pumpkin sweets in autumn.

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  14. Laura: I don't re-print recipes from books without publisher's permission. I just list the source that was used.

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  15. Love the combination of flavours..just unbeatable!

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  16. Oooh, thanks for the sneak peak-I already have that book on order.Great cause also. I am in the sticks in Central TX and the volunteer firefighters have been extra busy this year. Seeing a big streak of black in a field is not uncommon around here. Great post.

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  17. That's what I figured, but thanks for letting me know. It sure does look delicious!!

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  18. Lisa, this autumn inspired cake looks absolutely delicious; moist and full of flavour. Love the walnuts.

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  19. Fall is officially here once Lisa starts baking with pumpkin. ;)
    The cake looks like a slice of heaven, too.

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  20. Hello, Fall! It's knocking with this gorgeous, lovely Fall cake!

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  21. What a wonderful bundt cake flavour-and you're right, buttering and flouring beforehand saves a lot of heartache later!

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  22. I always think a pumpkin cake of any kind is going to be dense, Lisa, so it was nice to read this one was light. Nice you used a bit of whole wheat flour too. Looks lovely and for such a good cause.
    (when I first started reading Maida Heatter, she suggested buttering and then sprinkling a light coating of bread crumbs. I have found it works even better than flour.)

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  23. I have been wanting to cook with pumpkin too; this looks delicious/A great way to contribute to helping people left homeless recently/

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  24. nom, I've lately been thinking of baking a sweet loaf cake, like a banana-bread type pumpkin bread, I'm thinking this recipe would work wonderfully.

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  25. That's too funny- I remember thinking that same Blues Brothers line... "we're getting the band back together." It's so apropos! Save me a piece of that cake- looks great!

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  26. i love bundt cakes, but nothing's worse than flipping it over and not hearing that lovely whoosh of cake releasing from the pan. :)

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  27. Hey!
    Just wanted to let you know that over at createlive, we're just finishing up a pumpkin recipe series called "The 12 Days of Pumpkins." For the next few days, we'll be hosting a link-up, featuring any recipes involving pumpkin, and will be choosing a good number of these recipes to have their own page (which can include your blog name and URL!) in a pumpkin cookbook! Just thought you might be interested in the additional press or being included in a cookbook - and this is a really great recipe! Find the link up here!
    Have a great one :)

    -Carly

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