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.