With Halloween sneaking up on us and Autumnal weather seemingly here to stay, it’s the perfect time to experiment with a bit of seasonal baking. From baking my sweeter than sweet cheesecake truffles I was left with enough pumpkin puree to sink a ship, so set about finding the most delicious recipe for a moist, flavour packed, spiced pumpkin loaf. When it dawned on me that all I had in the cupboards was a piddly half-loaf tin (and I’d already whipped up a monstrous volume of batter) said loaf morphed into a pumpkin CAKE instead. So here it is: a wonderfully spiced pumpkin cake dotted with pecans, chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds, that will leave your house smelling of a festive bakery, conjuring up memories of bonfires and cosy nights in by the fire. Knitted fluffy socks – optional.
- 220g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 150g caster sugar
- 100g light brown sugar
- 340g pumpkin puree
- 120ml vegetable oil
- 60ml orange juice
- 120g chocolate chips/pecans/pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a round 9 inch cake tin or normal sized loaf tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients until combined, making sure to break up all the brown sugar lumps. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, oil and orange juice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and gently fold together with a wooden spoon. There will be a few flour pockets, but that’s fine, just try not to overmix.
Fold in your chocolate chips, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Feel free to use any add-ins that you fancy – cranberry, dark chocolate and sunflower seed? Milk chocolate, walnut and raisin? It’s a chance to use up anything you have in the larder (like I did) and just make sure that the total weight of add-ins is around 120g.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 60-65 minutes. Halfway through baking you might want to loosely cover the cake with aluminium foil to prevent the top from getting too brown. It is ready when a sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack before removing it and cutting into slices. With there being spices baked inside with the pumpkin, the flavour really intensifies a lot more after 1 or 2 days of being left to mingle, so I would definitely bake it at least the night before you’d like to serve it. Provided you can wait that long of course! Personally, I find the cake goes perfectly with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream, but it would be just as lovely on its own or positively drowning in a pool of double cream, mmm.
What do you like to bake most during Autumn? I find the heartier, more substantial cakes more inviting, to go with the warming meat stews and pies I’m having for dinner. At this rate I’ll have to invest in some stretchy pants or a personal trainer, but baking at this time of the year is simply so fitting!