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Autumnal Cake

The nights are drawing in, cold dark evenings and we are firmly in the season of the pumpkin. My Autumnal cake started life out as a warmly spiced pumpkin cake but did require a lot of work. Thankfully however, I discovered cans of pumpkin puree, unfortunately though this has become increasing more difficult to come across. So now I use mostly butternut squash or sweet potato as puree for this cake. Whenever I’m using the oven, I stick a few potatoes in a tin in a hot oven for an hour with skin and all on and they roast within giving you a tender flesh that can be turned into a puree by simply pulverising it with a fork. I do these two or three times a week meaning I have a stash of cooked sweet potato in the fridge at anytime ready to be turned into any number of good things. Bags of frozen cubed butternut squash are great for this as well and take less time in the oven and can be broke down as well with a fork once cooked.

I do love a fancy cake tin, they can give you a very ornate highly decorative finish to a cake with no work. You can cook this cake in a plain loaf tin, grease with butter then fit with baking parchment. Another great option is a Bundt tin, just remember with these highly decorative tins they must be oiled well to prevent the cake sticking. You can use oil, non-stick baking spray or oil and flower to prevent it sticking. If you have pumpkin from your Halloween carving this is a fantastic use for them. It would seem like complete madness to just throw it away.

It is important to let your cake sit for 10 – 15 minutes when it comes out of the oven to cool slightly before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. This will give the cake a chance to firm up slightly and reduce the chances of it tearing as you unmould.

It seemed very appropriate that the Autumnal cake be sprinkled with thyme. Thyme is by far my favourite herb and its deep woodsy scent highlights the orange in the cake and brings everything together. The icing itself adds a slight sweetness to the cake but more importantly acts as a glue to stick the thyme leaves to the cake.

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Autumnal Cake

Yields10 Servings

 250 g Plain flour
 2 tsp Baking powder
 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
 1 tsp Fine sea salt
 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
 1 pinch Fresh nutmeg
 1 pinch ground cloves
 250 ml Sunflower oilplus a little extra for greasing tin
 200 g Light brown sugar
 75 g caster sugar
 4 Eggs
 250 g Pumpkin Puree or butternut squash/sweet potato puree
 1 tsp Vanilla extract
 1 Orange (zest)
Thyme Icing
 2 tbsp Icing sugar
 1 tsp Fresh thyme leaves

1

Preheat oven to 180°C. Using a pastry brush grease tin (loaf or bundt) then set upside down to let excess oil run off.

2

Combine flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl. Then set aside.

3

In another large bowl combine the wet ingredients sunflower oil, sugars, eggs, pumpkin puree (or other puree), vanilla and orange zest. Whisk ingredients together until smooth.

4

Tip half the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until incorporated, repeat until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and you have a thick smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 55 -60 minutes. To test pierce with a skewer, skewer should come out clean.

5

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for 15 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6

When cooled and ready to ice, make icing by whisking a teaspoon of water at a time into the icing sugar until a runny icing is achieved. Place a sheet of baking parchment under the wire rack to catch any icing that runs off the cake.

7

Brush the cake all over with the icing then scatter with the thyme leaves. The icing will not be visible when it dries it acts more as an edible glue to stick the thyme leaves to the cake.

Ingredients

 250 g Plain flour
 2 tsp Baking powder
 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
 1 tsp Fine sea salt
 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
 1 pinch Fresh nutmeg
 1 pinch ground cloves
 250 ml Sunflower oilplus a little extra for greasing tin
 200 g Light brown sugar
 75 g caster sugar
 4 Eggs
 250 g Pumpkin Puree or butternut squash/sweet potato puree
 1 tsp Vanilla extract
 1 Orange (zest)
Thyme Icing
 2 tbsp Icing sugar
 1 tsp Fresh thyme leaves

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 180°C. Using a pastry brush grease tin (loaf or bundt) then set upside down to let excess oil run off.

2

Combine flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl. Then set aside.

3

In another large bowl combine the wet ingredients sunflower oil, sugars, eggs, pumpkin puree (or other puree), vanilla and orange zest. Whisk ingredients together until smooth.

4

Tip half the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until incorporated, repeat until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and you have a thick smooth batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 55 -60 minutes. To test pierce with a skewer, skewer should come out clean.

5

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for 15 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6

When cooled and ready to ice, make icing by whisking a teaspoon of water at a time into the icing sugar until a runny icing is achieved. Place a sheet of baking parchment under the wire rack to catch any icing that runs off the cake.

7

Brush the cake all over with the icing then scatter with the thyme leaves. The icing will not be visible when it dries it acts more as an edible glue to stick the thyme leaves to the cake.

Autumnal Cake
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2 Comments on “Autumnal Cake

  1. This sounds positively delicious. I love all 3 choices – butternut, pumpkin and sweet potato – so it works for me!!

    • Thank you. It’s exactly the sort of baking I like to eat and bake at this time of year. The gentle warm spices make it so cosy.

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