Cake of the Month ~ Pumpkin and Walnut Squares


 I made soup with some of my Halloween pumpkin leftovers but despite the addition of curry paste and coconut milk it was pretty bland. This cake however proved a very good way of redeeming tasteless Halloween pumpkin.


I froze most of my leftover pumpkin. I cut it into chunks and put it into a big pot with a couple of inches of water and cooked it until soft. I drained it and then went in with my stick blender. I froze it in 1lb portions. I used one of those tubs of pumpkin to make two of these cakes.


I'll come clean and admit that this cake started life as muffins. Lack of  muffin cases forced a change of plan. I poured the batter into a traybake tin instead. Much less trouble especially as my traybake tins are lined with reusable baking liners.

Pumpkin and Walnut Squares
Makes 12

In a bowl put
9 oz (255g) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
2½ tsp of spices -select your own combination from cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves and mixed spice.
6 oz (170g)  light muscovado sugar
Mix well with your fingertips to eliminate lumps in the sugar

In another bowl put
2 eggs
Beat the eggs and add
3 fl oz (90 ml) vegetable oil or melted butter
3 fl oz (90ml) milk
3 tablespoons of honey 
8 oz (225g) pureed pumpkin -an ounce more or less will not make much difference
Mix well

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine thoroughly so that no dry flour remains. Be careful not to beat the living daylights out of it though.

Finally fold in 3 oz ( 85g) chopped walnuts or pecans.

Spread batter into a 13' 'x 9'' traybake tin which you have greased and base-lined.
When spreading the batter if you push it into the corners and make the edges slightly higher than the middle it will help make the cake the same thickness throughout.

Bake at 180°c (160°c fan oven) for 25 mins.

When cool if you like ice it with a little runny water icing  -about 4 oz (110g) icing sugar plus 2 tbsp water or orange juice. I added a smidgen of 'chestnut' food colouring for a bit of autumnal colour coordination.
Cut into squares once the icing has firmed up.

To be honest I only iced it to encourage children to eat it. They are a bit reluctant to eat cakes with veg in them. Don't be misled by my silly children though -this is a delicious spicy cake with the crunch of nuts and a moist crumb.

Options
~Any kind of winter squash or pumpkin will do -butternut for example. You don't have to wait for a discarded Halloween pumpkin.
~The nuts are optional. You could leave them out or use sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead.
~The honey could be replaced with maple syrup. This would be particularly good with pecans.
~As with most cakes this freezes well. Cut into squares, place on a baking sheet and open freeze until hard. Then gather squares up and place in a container and put back in the freezer.


Comments

  1. We used to also find pumpkin soup bland no matter what you put in, now we roast the pumpkin and it is far better (might not be so good for using in cakes, for those, we find steaming the chunks a little better). We love pumpkin cake.

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    1. Good point, and now you mention it I remember that last year I did roast the pumpkin before using it in a pasta dish which was very good.

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  2. I have an excellent pumpkin cake (like a loaf cake) that the children love so I think I will stick to that for them, but I think that the adults might very much enjoy your recipe and I have a large pumpkin still sitting on the counter waiting for its fate, so it could get used up this week - thanks for sharing such a lovely looking cake!

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  3. That beautiful photograph made my mouth water! Next year I will freeze the punkin (as the two year old calls it - the name has stuck!) Thanks for the recipe.

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  4. I'm thinking I could make this and just not tell them what's in it? Oh, who am trying to kid, they can sniff out veg at half a mile. I would scoff it though!

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  5. Now that sounds good. My boys (even though all of an age to be considered grown up) will still ask suspiciously "Does it have courgette or something" when presented with an unfamiliar cake. That's what comes of spending years trying to sneak vegetables into baked goods I suppose.

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  6. OH I have 6 sugar pumpkins and one of them is going to be these.....yum!!!!! They look wonderful!!! Thank you so much!!!

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  7. I've never used pumpkin for sweet dishes, though often make a carrot cake, so why not? Certainly, I always roast my pumpkins/squash in a mixture of olive oil and random spice mixes so the result is very flavourful but you really wouldn't be wanting to do that with an eye on using the flesh for cake!

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  8. Hi Sue, have just made the chowder from yesterday & I have to say although I had doubts about 'warm' tuna, this was the tastiest thing I've had for lunch in a long time. I sort of halved the quantities & it still made 2 massive bowlfuls. Heavenly. How come all your recipes are perfect - they do exactly what they say on the tin but can stand tweaking.

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    1. Thanks Tigger. I guess I am a 'casual cook'. I never make anything where precision is necessary. Incidentally the chowder is nice with cooked chicken and some crisp bacon instead of tuna. Tinned salmon is good too.

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  9. Sounds good; I'm going to try it tomorrow.

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    1. Success! I made a double lot and baked it in a roasting tin. I cooked it for 1/2 an hour and was surprised to find it done; i thought you had meant 25 mins for muffins. I also used Asda gluten free flour, which I think is practically the same as Doves Farm gluten free.
      Thanks; another recipe for the file.

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    2. 25 mins for both muffins and the cake. Glad it turned out well.

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  10. I love those non stick liners. However, I never line my muffin tins; I just give them a good greasing. I like the slightly toastier texture.

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    1. I find when I do that they don't rise as well -not that it really matters of course, but it is a bit of a faff.

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  11. I said No to pumpkins this year. Last time, they were very nearly the end of me. (And people who suggest one should put them in lattes? Those people should be shot.)

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    1. Sorry. I only bought one this year, but then George went and bought two more for a party he was helping to organise. I didn't really want so much of the stuff. Mind you this cake has been a massive success. I've made four now.

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  12. What a great way of using up pumpkin. I had great plans to use ours but it sat out for too long and I didn't want to risk it (bad organisation I know!). The cake looks great and I might have to give it a go anyway :)

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  13. I often turn muffin recipes into tray bakes, much less time and fuss, especially if I'm baking in the evening after work and don't have lots of time. I've got cooked pumpkin in the fridge too and husband just requested a pumpkin/nut bread or cake so you've saved the day here! Pumpkin spiced scones with a spiced glaze/icing are very nice too (made them at the weekend), but they don't use up much in the way of the pumpkin though.

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  14. I love the sound of the maple syrup/pecan version. The only bread I'm now allowed to make is maple and pecan, and I have to admit it is delicious.

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  15. Pati from London2:28 pm GMT

    Oh Sue, having just finish my essay, I have come here and to my eye's delight the first thing I've seen is the photo of your pumpkin cake.....and like a ray of sunshine, it's just made me smile on this grey afternoon here in London. I will definitely be making this cake soon, perhaps with maple syrup and pecans, like you suggest.... Yum, yum... Thanks!! x Pati

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  16. I refused pumpkin too, other than the ceramic one I bring out every year that my daughter hates! Instead I used butternut squash to make butternut squash and pecan muffins (under the October posts) which turned out yummy. Yours looks absolutely yummy too. And I agree about liners - I only make cakes in tins for which I have paper liners!

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  17. It looks delicious. I will try this next year. I made Pumpkin and Ginger Jam again but we still had a couple of jars of last years so I think I'll skip it next year.

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  18. Well...I forgot to add the muscavado sugar, used 4 tablespoons maple syrup instead of honey, used canned pumpkin (I'm lazy) and buttermilk that needed using up. It was delicious. I made it in no time and everyone like it very much. The icing on top gave it a nice sweet hit that made up for omission of sugar. Yum :)

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    1. It is clearly a very adaptable recipe! Glad it turned out well.

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  19. Anonymous5:58 am GMT

    Will make this tomorrow, the recipe sounds delicious! I did make a pumpkin soup by combining ideas from other recipes. I used a sugar pie pumpkin that was roasted and pureed. Also roasted a yam and pureed it too. Added curry powder, sautéed onions and cooked at low for about 30 minutes. I topped each soup bowl with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt before serving. It had a good flavor and was not bland.

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