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.