Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake1

I ordered a DSLR camera today, on a whim. Probably mostly because I was stressed, coffee and sleep deprived. I’ve been looking for one, this was a great price and had good ratings, so I suppose it wasn’t a totally bad decision.

Harley is home and getting better…he’s just not himself yet, so I’m still guarded on his prognosis.

There was no time to put together a recipe exchange today, between work issues and worrying about the cat, but I did have the cake recipe in the back of my head and figured I should post it.

I was staring at a can of pumpkin, thinking I should make another batch of pumpkin bars, when instead it seemed time to try a recipe that had been bouncing around in my head for a while. Taking the basics for the gluten free torte that I’ve made with different flavors (chocolatefruit, clementinechocolate-raspberry) I wondered if pumpkin would work or if the moisture content would be too high to create a good cake.

In the end, it is more like the Clementine cake than the chocolate cakes, moister and denser. But the flavor was excellent and while it won’t replace pumpkin bars for me, if you need gluten free, it’s a nice alternative.

Pumpkin Torte

  • 15 oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp of pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

In a blender or with a mixer, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add pumpkin and melted, cooled butter, blending slowly until combined. Add spices, mixing well and then add the baking powder, mix until just combined. Pour into springform pan, tap pan on the counter to release air bubbles. 

Bake for 40 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  I always bake on a baking sheet to avoid any spillage. Cool on rack until completely cooled. Serves 12 small portions

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Pumpkin Patch Edition

pumpkin-bars1a

I made pumpkin bars by request a week or so ago for a friend’s birthday. You should always have whatever sweet treat you want on your birthday. That recipe is here.

It put me in the mood for more pumpkin. I don’t go crazy and want everything pumpkin flavored during the season, I generally stick to pumpkin donuts (Dunkin Donuts are my preferred and difficult-to-acquire style), pumpkin bars and the occasional pumpkin pie. I prefer the Pumpkin Cream Pie that is the featured recipe tonight, to a traditional custard style pie.

That does not mean I don’t have a bunch of pumpkin recipes at my finger tips. To see everything, click here and it will take you to the pumpkin patch, er, page.

Last week when I mentioned tonight might be pumpkin week, several people sent me links to recipes and these two caught my eye:  from Mnemosyne: Mini Pumpkin Pies (recipe here) and a savory, Roasted Pumpkin Soup from Emeril – click here – (sorry I couldn’t find who sent this to me).

Friend of blog, Tes from TesatHome.com posted a good looking and definitely unusual, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry (click here).

And on a non-pumpkin note, this week’s menu of Lemon-Nut Pork Chops and Raspberry Poppyseed Cake is here.

There you go, a nice mix of sweet and savory for your pumpkin cravings. So what are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes? And what’s on the menu for this beautiful fall weekend, food or otherwise?

We’re not done yet…there’s still pie: Continue reading

Guest Recipe: Pumpkin Curry from Tes

It’s going to be pumpkin week. I asked last Friday if this week’s recipe exchange should be all about pumpkin and from the recipes I received, I guess the answer was yes.

So let’s start off with cyber friend, Tes, from TesatHome.com:

Pumpkin and Coconut Curry

The season is changing in India. It’s so beautiful outside, and the weather is starting to cool down. Soon winter will be here. I love it. Can’t wait to wake up to the lazy misty mornings, cook something warm and comforting, and go out on the road trips to where the season inspire us.

Pumpkin is my favorite ingredient at the moment. I know a lot of my blog friends hoarding tons of pumpkin recipes on pinterest for their autumn cookings. Pumpkin is healthy and delicious. You can play around with it, making sweet or savory as you like.

Pumpkin and coconut curry 2

Now this pumpkin and coconut curry is so good. It’s light and comforting, made with cooked fresh pumpkin and fresh coconut paste, and flavored with tamarind and salt.

Click here for her recipe…

I thought this was just different enough to warrant highlighting it. Head over to her blog for the recipe and while you’re there, check out her photos from the family trips around India.

And yeah, and LET’S GO RED SOX!

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Pumpkin Cream Pie

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

Finally got the cream cheese in between two snow storms. It’s sunny now, I expect by noon the snow to be completely gone and I’ll be cycling by late afternoon. So I took the morning to make this pie.

A week or so ago, a neighbor brought over a slice of store-bought pumpkin cream pie, wanting to know if I had a recipe. It was very good, creamy as opposed to custard style. I preferred that, because one of the things I’m only so-so on is the texture of standard pumpkin pie. This addressed that, while keeping all the flavor.

The slice was heavily spiced and I like that, too. So when I went searching for recipes, none of them had enough spice, so I knew I was going to have to take some risks with the spices.  I tasted in between and continued to add until I felt like I had a good ratio.  I got a good idea from several recipes what would make it creamy and then I just went and played.

The first thing, the crust. I didn’t want a traditional pastry crust because I think those get mushy when you do a custard type pie. I thought I’d do a graham cracker crust until I saw someone use a ginger snap crust in a recipe and thought that would be a great, so that’s the crust I included with this. You can use any type you like and if you want graham cracker, just substitute the same amount of graham cracker crumbs for ginger snap crumbs.

Then I saw a recipe for brown sugar whipped cream and knew that would be perfect for this pie. So when I put it all together, this is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Crust:

  • 2 cups ginger snap crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (more as needed, mine could have used a couple more tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Mix together in a 9-inch pie pan and press around the bottom and sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool while making pie filling.

Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (test after 1/2 and see if it needs more, pumpkin very bland without)
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

bowl, electric mixer

Combine cream cheese, pumpkin, cream, sugar and spices, mix until well combined and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Pour into cooled pie crust. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes, until the pie is mostly set, you’ll want the center to still move a bit, it will set completely while cooling and you don’t want to overcook it. I put foil over the pie for the first 40 minutes so it didn’t burn and took it off for the last 10 minutes to caramelize the filling.

You wouldn’t want to do this with a pastry crust, because it needs to bake, but with the crumb crusts they don’t need that baking time. You may end up covering a pastry crust the last 10 minutes if it is browning too quickly.

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, ice-cold
  • 3 tbsp, packed, brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin spice

mixing bowl, ice-cold (I also put the beaters in the freezer)

Whip cream on med to high until it forms peaks. Using your fingers, crumble the brown sugar over cream, so it’s not clumped and add spices. Fold ingredients gently until incorporated. Spread or pipe over COMPLETELY cooled pie and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 pieces

I think this pie is a great Thanksgiving idea and can be made a day or so ahead – it’s actually better the next day.

Spa Getaway and Retreat

Thought I’d post a few pictures of my getaway.  But first let me say, despite looking and sound delicious, most of the food on this trip was pretty darn awful.  The best description my friend and I could come up with was bland.  A complete lack of seasoning in anything, across the board.  I will say this, at least they didn’t try to use salt and fat as a substitute for spices and seasonings.  Take a look at this dessert and imagine how disappointed we were when, despite its beautiful presentation, it was completely lacking in pumpkin flavor and we had to guess that there was dried fruit in it, because that fruit had no flavor.  It was pretty, though.  Pretty doesn’t make up for no flavor.

We did have some good food in Taos at what was clearly a local hangout….always a good choice because you usually get the best food a location has to offer if it’s popular with the regulars.  So all was not lost.

Now some photos of the trip – the spa was stunning in its beauty and the photos don’t come close to capturing it, mostly because we were more interested in enjoying ourselves and photos were an after thought:

Mixed Pool

Hotel

Arsenic and Iron Pool

Rio Grande Canyon

Pumpkin Bread

I had never made pumpkin bread because I didn’t think I’d like it.  I’m not fond of pumpkin pie (OK, to be truthful I hate it) –  I think it’s a combination of really disliking the flavor of jarred nutmeg, which  to me is overwhelming in anything I taste it in and the texture which to me is just- yuck.  But I decided to try it a few weeks ago, and with a light hand on the spices and using real nutmeg, I was surprised to find that I wound up with a really tasty quickbread.  I made another batch today.  Last time I used canned pumpkin, but this time around I decided to make my own pumpkin puree from 2 sugar pumpkins that cost me the whole sum of $2.

Pumpkin Puree

Cut a sugar or pie pumpkin in half, scrape out the gooey stuff and the seeds.  Put the pumpkin halves cut-side down in a baking dish and roast at 350 degrees until they are really soft. Mine took about 1 1/2 hours.  Scrape the softened pumpkin out of the skin with a spoon and puree it in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth.  More time consuming than opening a can, but certainly not difficult.

Roasted pumpkin and pumpkin puree

Pumpkin Bread


1 cup of canola oil  (5 1/2 oz )  You can substitute 2/3 cup  butter or shortening, I use oil in this recipe because I like the texture that it produces – a really tender middle and a crispyish crust.

2 1/2 cup sugar (18 1/2 oz)

4 large eggs

2 cups (30 oz) pumpkin puree or 2 cans of pumpkin

2/3 cup (5 1/4 oz.) water

3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (for the sake of all goddesses of baking please use fresh nutmeg, not that awful stuff from the jar)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon of allspice

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Add-ins –  I have kids who are not fond of nuts, so I don’t add them to much of anything that they will be eating, but don’t hesitate to add 1 cup (4 oz) of nuts (walnuts, peacans, almonds) if you like your bread nutty.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl cream your oil  and the sugar then beat in the eggs, pumpkin puree and water.  Stir in your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and vanilla.  Stir until nicely blended and then mix in your nuts if you are using them.

Split the batter evenly between 2 lightly greased 9 x 5 in. loaf pans.  Bake for 60-65 minutes until a tester comes out clean from the center of the loaf.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

I dare you to manage to cool these for more than 30 minutes before the smell makes you cut off an end and try it.  The smell really is wonderous.