LET’S talk about pumpkins! For me, pumpkins were always that giant orange beast that you acquired days before Halloween purely to carve into a jack-o-lantern. I’d rarely appreciated the pumpkin, or it’s squash relatives, for much else. I delved into the world of butternut squash while at uni (still a favourite) but then I moved to Asia, where you’re hard pushed to find a butternut squash – and even less so the humble parsnip! Christmases just aren’t the same!
MY move also meant I missed out on the pumpkin spice latte trend. I have no idea if they arrived in the UK before I left, but my town doesn’t even have a Starbucks, so I’d have missed out either way!
OF the pumpkin related foods I’ve had in my near 6 years away, the most delicious was a pumpkin bread made my some American friends. It was a kind of deliciousness I’d never experienced before. That was three years ago! I acquired the recipe, made it once with a disastrous rice flour substitution and never bothered again.
IT would have stayed that way had it not been for the sad development that I am apparently unable to eat bananas anymore. A banana intolerance is a thing – who knew! My banana cake is one of my go-to baking recipes, but alas, a change had to be made. The recipe I’ve been using is one of my Mum’s adaptations. It’s really very good. As I was mulling over what to do about it, pumpkin sauntered into my mind.
THERE were a few things I needed to change about the recipe anyway, so I went ahead and altered a few quantities, replaced two ingredients and this recipe was born. And it’s good – if I do say so myself.
NOTE: I made my pumpkin puree from scratch, which I gather from research is why the cake isn’t as vibrant in colour as some pumpkin cakes can be! The method I used was really easy and I’ll put it in the recipe below.
NOTE 2: To make this gluten free, swap out the flour for the gluten free variety, and to make it vegan, swap out the butter for any vegan alternative and replace the eggs with flax eggs or chia eggs.
113 g butter, softened
113 g sugar (I use demerera or muscavado)
1 Cup pumpkin puree
100g dark chocolate, smashed or dark chocolate chips
190 g flour
1.5 tsp baking powder (not needed if you use Self-Raising flour!)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
extra sugar, for sprinkling on top
- Pre-heat to 180°C and prepare your desired cake tin(s).
- Cream the butter and sugar. This is why the butter should be softened so they mix into a mulchy, creamy, buttery, sugary mix!
- Add the eggs and mix well.
- Mix in the pumpkin puree and chocolate chips, in that order!
- Add the flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. At all times, be careful not to over-mix.
- Transfer the cake mix to the tin(s) and sprinkle sugar over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes (c.20 minutes for cupcakes) or till a skewer comes out clean. You will know your oven best!
I have added my method for making pumpkin puree below. This was a complete hit with my co workers and I’m so deliciously ready for autumn – it takes its sweet time to fully land here. I kid you not, this cake has cocooned me in cosy autumnal feelings! Let me know if you try this recipe out! Tag me on instagram – @thisgeekyteacher
I made pumpkin puree from one small, dinky little pumpkin, which made about 1 cup of pumpkin puree. I cut it in half and scooped out the seeds, making sure to remove as much of the stringiness as possible.
Place the two halves onto a tray, open sides up, and covered with foil. Bake them at 180°C for 30 minutes. The time will, of course, vary depending on the size of the pumpkin!
When the pumpkin flesh is soft, scoop it into a blender and add a little bit of water. How much water you add depends on the consistency you want your puree to be. Put this aside ready for your cake.