Friday, September 15, 2006

Pumpkin Walnut Cake


Pumpkin Walnut Cake

Did you know that pumpkin is a berry? The largest berry, actually. I didn't know that until I started looking for more information on pumpkins. Why did I look for more information? Because Meeta has chosen it as the theme for this month's From My Rasoi. A very apt theme for the month of September, isn't it? (Having said that, I must mention again that pumpkins are available in India throughout the year and not just around Halloween.)

What I learnt more about pumpkins is that they were around even 12000 years ago, and were very much a part of man's diet in the Ice Age. They are supposed to have originated in South America. (Which makes me think that every second fruit or vegetable that I know has its roots in the Americas. What in the world did our ancestors eat before the 'New Land' was discovered?)
Also, how did they make many of the Indian string instruments before that? If I am not wrong, it is dried pumpkins that they use in making them. e.g. Sitar or Veena. Actually, the main chamber in them is called 'Bhopla' in Marathi or 'Kaddu' in Hindi. Both are words for pumpkin in those languages. That asks for another 'Google search', I guess. :)


Hokkaido pumpkins

As for today's recipe, I didn't really have to do a 'search' for it. Because I found it in a German cookbook that I had borrowed from the library, after I saw the first pumpkins in the markets here. :) This book is dedicated to only pumpkins, squashes and melons. All from the same family. Some of the recipes in this book looked far-fetched to me; maybe included only to make the list of recipes longer. For example, Melon Soup with Pesto. Doesn't sound too great to me. I am happy eating melons as they are.
However, this recipe with pumpkin and walnuts turned out wonderful. And what aroma...ummmm...! By the way, I used a Hokkaido pumpkin for it. As you can see in the pictures in this post, the skin as well as flesh are bright orange. Which indicates high carotene content. That is also the reason why they are preferred in making bottled baby food. Apart from the sweet and nutty taste, of course. The name of this variety hints at its Japanese roots. However, I haven't managed to find out more about its origin. Maybe one of you knows?


Recipe for Pumpkin Walnut Cake

Makes a fairly large cake. (Mine weighed 870 grams.)


300g. or 4 loosely packed cups grated pumpkin
75g. or 3/4 cup powdered walnuts
1 egg
100 ml. or 1/3 cup oil (I used sunflower oil.)
250g. or 2½ cups all-purpose flour/Maida (I used 150g. flour and 100g. cornflour. Only because I wanted to use up the rapidly-aging cornflour.)
200g. or heaped 3/4 cup sugar (I used soft brown sugar. For the same reason as above. :))
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered cinnamon (I used store-bought.)
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 heaped tsp baking powder

butter/oil to grease the mould (I didn't use any. It's a silicone mould.)
powdered/icing sugar for dusting (optional)


Clockwise from top left: silicone Bundt mould,
batter for cake getting ready, grated pumpkin waiting to be a part of the batter


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a cake mould and keep aside.
2. Separate the egg : the egg white into a small bowl and the yolk into a bigger bowl, which you will also use for mixing the batter. If you are not confident of separating the egg only with your hands, you might want to invest in a separator, like Shammi.
3. Stir the egg yolk, sugar, vanilla sugar, oil and cinnamon until mixed well. Add the grated pumpkin and stir again.
4. Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl. Then add the powdered walnuts to it. Stir the batter well to mix all ingredients.
5. With an electric beater, beat the egg white to resemble firm snow. Like so.


6. Add this 'egg snow' to to the batter and stir gently.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake mould and bake for about 50 minutes. The cake is ready when a knife or skewer inserted in the middle of it comes out clean. (You don't really have to think to write this sentence, do you? :))
8. Once the cake is done, turn off the oven (Duh!) and take out the mould. Let the cake cool in it for 10 minutes.
9. Then unmould it onto a cooling wire rack. Once cooled, you could dust it with some icing sugar. I too did after taking the photograph. :)

Make this for you Halloween party and see all *ghosts* gathering around the table. ;-)
In the meanwhile, I'll go call Meeta to have a look at it. :)

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tony said...

Waiting for the recipe...

Foodie's Hope said...

Still waitingggggg....zzzzzzzz :D

Anupama said...

Great Job Vaishali, i'm guessing this is your entry for Meeta's Pumpkin Event. I would also like to see th mold you made it in.

shilpa said...

wonderful recipe Vaishali. Though I love pumpkin, I make only traditional Konkani dishes with it(all of them I have already posted), so still wondering what to prepare for the event. Loved your cake. Next time when I see pumpkin, I will prepare this.

Meena Kandlakuti said...

The cake looks great vaishali..its a very hard work iam sure.BUt hard work always comes up with good results:-)) thanks for sharing

Vaishali said...

The wait is now over, Tony and Asha. :)

Anupama, the answer to your guess as well as question is in the post now.

Shilpa, to be honest, this is the first time for me too, as far making something different with pumpkin is concerned. I too have always used it in traditional Indian dishes.

Very true, Meena. Very very true.

Ashwini said...

The 'New Land' has a tendency to claim all good things as their we will take it with a pinch of salt. Especially considering our ancestors had developed a food system based on the 'doshas' in the body when theirs were probably hunting and gathering???!!!
Now that I got that out of my system lemme say the cake looks delish....pumpkin baking in the house is an amazing aroma isnt it?

Meeta said...

Looks great V!
Thank you for taking part. I thing this is certainly going to be something for me to try out.

Faffer said...

What a delicious looking cake! Your recipe has come in at the right time. I have a rapidly-aging butternut squash and I think I can use it in this recipe instead of the pumpkin. How many cups is 250g of flour - as you can tell, I really am a novice at baking :) Thanks so much.

Deepa Cooks said...

Greaaaaat recipe.Thanks for sharing.Still now I am searching for recipe for the Meet's Pumpkin Event.



Anonymous said...

Your blog actually makes me want to cook, and makes me think I can make my food look just as pretty!!

Linda said...

Vaishali, your cake looks delicious. Trust you to come up with a poetic way to say "stiffly beaten egg whites" -- "egg snow" -- I love it!

Prema Sundar said...

Hi Vaishali,
Pumpkin walnut cake looks very nice. A good entry for pumpkin event.Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Vaishali said...

Ashwini, well, what can I, you get the point, don't you? :)

Meeta, I am sure, you'll like it. Will be great for Soeren's lunchbox too. :)

I knew, somebody would ask this question, Faffer. The thing is that the measurements in the original recipe were in weights. (They always are in German recipes.) I weighed all ingredients and then checked their quantity in cups/spoons too. The only thing I forgot to check in cups was the flour. Please give me some time. I'll check it and update the recipe.

I wish I could send you this cookbook, Deepa. It has a lot of recipes with pumpkin. I am sure, you would have found something. :)

Thanks, Maneka, for appreciating. I will let you in on a secret, though. Although I did the rest of the job, I made my food processor grate the pumpkin for me. :)

That is such a sweet comment, Anon. Thanks.

Linda, I wonder how you always find something nice about me / my posts. Well, I am not complaining. :)

My pleasure, Prema.

Menu Today said...

Hi Vaishali,
Your cake looks sooo nice. Thanks for sharing.Good dish for Meeta's event.

Foodie's Hope said...

Excellent looking cake!Worth the wait!! I better not show it to my kids, then I have to bake on a Sat. NO!!! :D :D
I am getting ready too for FMR entry!! I have butternut pumpkin,too early for halloween pumpkins, thanks...

Krithika said...

Looks delicious !! never used pumpkin in my baking. Will try this soon if I am successful in converting them to cups :-) Thanks for sharing

Krithika said...

Vaish, i do see that you have most of the ingredients converted to cups. how about flour ?

Anonymous said...

Do you know why a dumboski is also called a 'Kaddu' in North India?

shammi said...

Ooh! What a lovely cake!

By the way, that single walnut looks to me like it's making a quiet break for freedom. Did it get through? :)

HariPriya said...

tht looks yummy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!thnx for sharing..By the way did u saw my Gajar Halwa!!!

Lera said...

vaishali, you 've got a beautiful looking cake spread out to tempt me,that's not fair..

Vaishali said...

There again, MT. You always say kind words. :)

Asha, too early for Halloween pumpkins? Oh! Here in Germany, most of the shops have Halloween displays in their windows already. Is it perhaps the time difference? Hehehehe...

Krithika, I have updated the recipe with the quantity of flour in cups now. Hope you manage to try it out.

No idea, Anon. But you know what, I like your expression 'Dumbowski' a lot. I am gonna use it for sure. :)

It did get through, Shammi. Only to be put in another cage, though. My tummy, I mean. :)

I'll drop by your blog now, HariPriya. Thanks for letting me know.

I'll try and bake it for you when I am in Bangalore next, Lera. :)

Daagh said...


this one is tooooooooooooo good...

Anonymous said...

I cant wait to try it!!

How about pumkin puree .... I have some puree handy.... can I use that instead??

Vaishali said...

Thank you, Daagh. *grin*

Anon, I have no idea whether it will work with pumpkin puree. Honest. Maybe you want to try it out and let me know?

Sushma said...

Vaishali, the pumpkin cake looks delicious. Thanxs for sharing

Browsed few of other recipes and they look very tempting. Would add you in my blogroll. Pls do let me know if its okay with you.


Nandita said...

Loveit-lemme go buy a big pumpkin today!

Anonymous said...

Really? a berry?
Thank you berry much for that info!

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Kanika said...

It is a nice recipe of Pumpkin. The cake looks very nice. I will surely try it in any occasion in my house and surprised everybody. Thanks for sharing nice cake recipe.

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