Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And the Winner Is...

This year I tested four new pumpkin loaf/cake recipes (one from a trendy bakery cookbook; one from a celebrity chef; a friend’s family recipe; and the last from my tried-and-true Tartine cookbook). I should have known that Tartine’s recipe would be the best but I mistakenly had the pre-conceived notion that a tea cake would be too heavy. Instead, it was similar in density to a carrot cake with a soft, springy crumb with a slightly spicy flavor. This cake was delicious but I wish I had thought to try it with Bourbon whipped cream before I finished the last slice!

Adapted from Tartine’s recipe for Pumpkin Tea Cake.  I prefer to  mix this recipe by hand.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
Cinnamon Sugar topping: 1 tablespoon sugar + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed together.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5 loaf pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a mixing bowl and set aside.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, sugar, and salt until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition before adding the next egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and whisk for about 5 to 10 seconds to make a smooth batter. The batter should have the consistency of a thick puree.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Serve at room temperature. The cake will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for about 4 days.
While I haven’t made Bourbon whipped cream before, I’m guessing my starting point will be about 1 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, and 1 teaspoon Bourbon and adjust to taste.  

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