One of the reasons I grow so many pumpkins is their versatility. Easy to roast, soup, curry, stew and transform into sweet treats. The other and probably the real reason is that I simply love growing them – I’m fascinated by shapes, colours and textures. And pumpkins provide all of those in abundance.
The pumpkin I love to use for this recipe is a Marina di Chioggia, but if you don’t grow your own or can’t buy one not to worry Butternut Squash is a great substitute. From one large Marina Di Chioggia I’ve cooked and baked beyond belief. There have been 2 lots of pumpkin Gnocchi, a batch of pumpkin cookies and a revised version that I call biscuits (more crunchy and frankly a lot smaller), a dozen scones and now a cake. That’s a lot of pumpkin my friends!
Marina Di Chioggia is an old rustic style pumpkin originating from the Venice area and has thick, knobbly dark blue-green skin and sweet yellow-orange flesh. The name literally translates as Sea Pumpkin – but let me assure you there is nothing fishy about this pumpkin or this recipe!
I like to try “traditional” recipes, and have made an Italian Torta di Zuuca by Valentina Harris, a cake loaded with citron peel, sultanas and grappa many times, and have even blogged about it. But to be honest I’ve often struggled to cook it all the way through; it’s such a moist dense cake that no matter what oven temperature or how long I cook it, it still comes out slightly soggy and a in all honesty a little undercooked in the middle.
Who wants a soggy middle?
A bright idea and we have a winner – use a Bundt cake tin – a ring shaped cake tin that allows the mixture to cook evenly. And yes it looks attractive too. So I fused my Torta di Zucca with a pumpkin cake that comes with a delightful zesty glaze. Perfect. Combing the two recipes we have a Sea-Marine Pumpkin Cake.
It’s a simple recipe, (and I’ve reduced the amount of sugar used so for the non-sweet-toothed amongst us it is even better)works well and makes a crumbly tasty cake perfect with a cup of coffee or dare I suggest a wee glass of grappa?
Fabulous Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- 150g unsalted butter
- 180g white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 300g pumpkin puree
- 50g cup of candied lemon peel
- 50 g sultanas
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 50g ground almonds
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Extra butter or oil for greasing the cake tin
- Icing sugar for decoration
Optional extras –
Soak the sultanas in 2 tablespoons of Grappa for 30 minutes before adding to the cake mix and include the remaining grappa in the cake mix.
- Preheat oven to 175 C and grease a Bundt cake tin well
- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth and well blended
- Next add the eggs, one at a time continuing to beat / mix in
- Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and continue to mix in well
- Gently fold in the candied lemon, the sultanas and the zest of a lemon
- In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, the ground almonds, the salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground cinnamon and mix well
- Sift the flour mix into the pumpkin mixture and gently fold in so it is well mixed, making sure not to overwork it
- Pour the batter into the greased (well buttered) Bundt cake tin, level/ smooth the top out with a knife
- Bake at 175C for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted gently into the cake comes out clean
- Leave the cake in the Bundt tin to cool for 10 minutes and then gently remove it and place on a rack to cool completely
- To decorate sprinkle a dusting of icing sugar on the cooled pumpkin cake. Alternatively if you like cakes with icing you can make a mix of 25g of icing sugar, with 100g of cream cheese, a teaspoon of lemon zest and the juice of half a lemon. Whisk all the ingredients until the mixture is silky smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cake.
I grow Marina Di Chioggia most years and the one pictured in the photos is from last year’s crop – it lasted superbly on the windowsill over winter and eventually I got round to steaming , mashing and freezing it. With this year’s crop picked and ripening on the windowsill I thought it was about time I emptied the freezer and used the pumpkin puree before I added to it!
Still feeling peckish? Here’s another idea