For a light cake, keep the dry ingredients apart from the wet until the last minute. Then fold deftly and quickly, and get it in the oven as soon as possible. You will be well rewarded. Serves eight.
- 1 delica pumpkin (or other small variety; or 300g pumpkin puree)
- 300g plain flour
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 125g light soft brown sugar
- 175g caster sugar
- 100ml buttermilk
- 150ml olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- For the ginger buttercream
- 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100g cream cheese
- 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 280g icing sugar
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease and line a standard, loose-bottomed cake tin. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and cut into wedges. Put these on a baking tray, scatter over two tablespoons of water, cover with foil and roast for 30-40 minutes, until soft. (Alternatively, if you have a steamer, steam the pieces until tender – I find they cook quicker this way, but you must allow them to steam dry at the end.)
- While the pumpkin is cooking, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarb and spices into a large mixing bowl. Break the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork.
- Once the pumpkin is tender, scoop 300g of the flesh into a food processor and add the sugars and buttermilk (save the rest for another dish). Whizz to a smooth puree, then blitz in first the eggs and then the oil and vanilla. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix, quickly fold in the pumpkin mix, then tip into the cake tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
- While the cake is baking, get on with the buttercream icing. Beat the butter for five minutes with the paddles of a food mixer until soft, voluminous and pale. Sieve the cream cheese to get rid of any excess liquid, then beat that into the soft butter. Finely grate the ginger (with a microplane, ideally) and beat in, then beat in the icing sugar a third at a time, then put in the fridge to set.
- Once the cake has cooled, cut it in half across the middle with a bread knife, sandwich the two halves with half the buttercream and spread the rest all over the top and the sides. If you want to be fancy, garnish with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds tossed in a hot dry frying pan with a few tablespoons of icing sugar.
And for the rest of the week…
Buttermilk makes great salad dressing. Whisk with equal parts of extra-virgin olive oil and a touch of Dijon mustard: that’s great on winter salads of bitter leaves and pear or apple. Whizz any leftover pumpkin with a few tablespoons of grassy olive oil, some seasoning and a hint of chilli or black pepper (and maybe a teaspoon of maple syrup), to make a fine side for a Sunday roast.
Originally created from here.