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. :)
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
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. :)