Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Chocolate and Pumpkin Cake


I feel I must start with an apology - this is the second chocolate cake I have written about in less than a month (click here for mini chocolate cakes with nutella cream). However, as the cakes are completely different in terms of taste, texture and when you would want to eat them, I think that its inclusion here is justified. The seasonal use of pumpkin is another reason for adding it to October's recipes.

Although most people are familiar with pumpkin in tarts and pies, it may seem an odd ingredient in a cake. However, please don't be alarmed. This cake is wonderful, combining a fudgy, moist texture and a rich, chocolatey flavour with a hint of spiciness thanks to the pumpkin. It is not overly sweet and although it looks quite dense, it actually isn't. It is perfect as an Italian breakfast cake or as a mid-morning/mid-afternoon snack with a cup of coffee and it keeps brilliantly. It is quite a plain-looking cake but I rather like that. You could ice it though with a vanilla scented cream cheese icing, the sort you would use on a carrot cake.

The origins of this cake lie in Mantova, a fairy-tale city that seems to rise out of the lakes that surround it. It is at its best at this time of year when the mist adds an ethereal quality and with both the tourists and mosquitoes gone, you can wander freely around the magical, historic centre, stopping for an espresso in a cafe on the cobbled square. The region is famous for pumpkins - you find them in everything, from the famous tortelli, where they are used, along with crushed amaretti, to make the filling to pies, cakes and biscuits.

I'm sending this over to We Should Cocoa, the monthly blogging challenge, started by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog and Chele of Chocolate Tea Pot, which each month selects an ingredient or theme to be paired with chocolate. This month's theme is Pumpkin, hosted by Hungry Hinny.



I'm also sending it to Nazima (formerly of Working London Mummy) at her wonderful new home Franglais Kitchen. She is this month's host of The One Ingredient Challenge (Pumpkin and Squash), run jointly with Laura at How to Cook Good Food. She is also hosting the Simple and In Season challenge, run by Ren of Fabulicious Food.

                                

Last but not least, I'm sending it to Javelin Warrior's wonderful weekly challenge, Made with Love Mondays.

JWsMadeWLuvMondays


RECIPE

350-400g pumpkin, after removing skin and seeds, roughly chopped
200g self raising flour
4 eggs
200g caster sugar
100g butter, melted
40g cocoa powder

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

Grease and base line a round cake tin, 24cm diameter

Start by making the pumpkin puree. Place the chopped, skinless, seedless pumpkin in a steamer and steam for about 30 mins or until soft. Blend (or mash) to a smooth puree.


Put the eggs in a bowl with the caster sugar and whisk (preferably not by hand!) until thick and voluminous.

Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder and mix gently. Then add the melted butter and the pumpkin puree, whisking all the time until everything is smoothly amalgamated.

Pour the batter into the tin and bake for about 45-50 mins. If it starts to burn on top, cover loosely with foil.

Leave to cool for about 20 mins before turning out of the tin onto a wire rack.

Serve dusted thickly with icing sugar.


16 comments:

  1. What an interesting cake - I've had pumpkin spiced cake before, but never pumpkin with chocolate. I bet it would be delicious and so moist thanks to the pumpkin. Thanks so much for sharing with Made with Love Mondays!

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    1. The pumpkin really works well and yes, it keeps it nice and moist.

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  2. This cake looks great, and more pumpkin less butter means bigger slices with less guilt - always a winner! Thanks for entering We Should Cocoa :)

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    1. Yes, this cake uses about half the butter I would normally use in a chocolate cake and it honestly doesn't affect the flavour (and I speak as a complete butter lover)!

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  3. What a lovely story about the city of Mantova, somewhere I would love to visit some day. I have tried the ravioli with pumpkin & Amaretti before and loved it so much. I never knew the region was famous for pumpkins, thanks for enlightening me!
    Also thanks for entering One Ingredient xx

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    1. Hi Laura - glad you liked the ravioli when you tried them, they're a bit of an acquired taste but I love them too! Mantova is a lovely place to visit for a day or two, maybe you could combine it with Verona, they're quite close.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, it is surprisingly delicious!

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  5. Mantova sounds like somewhere very special indeed. I've still never made it to Italy and yet I've had a yearning to go every since I can remember. I really like the simplicity of this cake, it has so few ingredients. I too am a butter lover, but I have used pumpkin butter and apple puree a few times in cakes to reduce the amount of butter needed and strangely it seems to work.

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    1. You should definitely take a trip to Italy Choclette, you can go to Mantova for a day from Verona, and Venice isn't that far away either...Not very well known for any chocolate delights but they do have lots of other specialities!

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  6. A perfect cake and such beautiful photos too......lovely story about Mantova too......I need a trip back to Italy soon! Karen

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    1. Mantova is definitely worth a look - in fact, it's one of my favourite towns in northern Italy!

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  7. Loving all the pumpkin recipes this month and this looks delicious! No need to apologise for chocolate recipes - I don't think you can ever have enough :)

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    1. There have been a lot of lovely pumpkin recipes haven't there? I'm really looking forward to some of the monthly round-ups!

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  8. This cake looks amazing and mouthwatering. The story about Montavo's lovely. I can't wait to visit Italy especially with how you've described it as magical : ) Thank you for stopping by I'm your new follower now : )

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  9. Katharine I have to say your cake really looks professional and a lovely structure. There were lots of variations of pumpkin in cake this month and it has been lovely seeing how they all turned out . thanks for sharing your version

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