Halloween was a Bad day – Cake Makes up for it!

Yeah, Halloween went a bit wrong for me this year. Not in a, ‘Oh my god I was so scared I couldn’t sleep’ or scared of my own shadow way, more like in an ‘epic fail’ way. At work we were celebrating the day by having a fun day of dressing up, decorating our work stations and carving pumpkins for chocolate goodies. I had been nominated to do the pumpkin carving, not because I was particularly skilled, in fact I had never done before in my life, but I had found a recipe for pumpkin cake online and thought I could do a double whammy and impress the work judges. Well, that was a bit optimistic of me, particularly as I only got given the pumpkin the day before. So 31st October comes around, and I carve out the pumpkin pretty successfully, but I don’t have time to make the cake. Fail one. I decide to keep the pumpkin innards for another day, and try to toast the pumpkin seeds instead. Fail two. I start preparing dinner to go in the slow cooker whilst I work 12pm-8pm, and cut my thumb slicing potatoes. NOT carving the pumpkin, but slicing potatoes. Fail three. So I’m bleeding, manage to plaster the wound up and carry on with dinner, but this leaves me unable to put on my fancy dress costume consisting of a corset with hook-eye fastenings, that would hurt way too much. Fail Four. I throw on a random black dress, draw on a spider with eyeliner, and don’t have time to make myself lunch for the day. Fail five.

But, I finally got round to making the legendary pumpkin cake. The initial problem with not making it on Halloween was that I had to get some specific ingredients, but after a little tweaking I was able to to get what I needed from the local shop instead. The recipe required 500g pumpkin innards, so the important thing to remember here was to adjust the other ingredients accordingly to the 400g I got from my pumpkin. fortunately this was an easy round number, so just divide everything by five, and take that number away from the listed ingredient list. I hope. I was surprised (as I continue to be through my baking development) at how easy this cake was, literally popping the ingredients in the bowl, mixing them up whilst making sure the pumpkin is chopped up enough to not have any huge lumps, and cook in the oven. This was where the good old steel kebab skewer comes in handy, because at the listed 30min mark of cooking, the middle of the cake was literally wobbling like jelly with a cakey crust. It was an odd image, but definitely need a considerable amount more cooking time, as proved by the skewer test coming out gooey. I didn’t pay much more attention to time from there unfortunately, just hopping back and forth every ten minutes or so to see if it was any less wobbly, whilst not burning at the edges, but I think i probably cooked it for an extra 20 minutes or so. But that’s the point of course, it all depends on your cooker and equipment, so this is in no way to say ignore your recipe’s instructions and nuke it for double the time!
The cake was an absolute hit – family and friends alike said it was absolutely delicious. The icing made sugary but not too sweet, and the pumpkin was just right for texture, flavour and made the cake nice and moist. I had made a few substitutions, using allspice instead of mixed spice, and raisins instead of sultanas. Both of these were because I thought they were the same thing, but I am informed the cake was probably made tastier by using allspice instead, as it has a tastier blend of spices. I also used my own buttercream icing recipe instead of using the soft cheese mixture, again that was mostly due to a laziness of wanting to go and actually get the cheese. Sometimes baking is nicer and more fun because its something that can be done at a moments notice with items generally in the store cupboard. Fortunately, this whiled away a Saturday morning whilst hubby was at work, and also meant I had the inclination to do some household chores whilst the cake was actually cooking! Win win win all round!
The Vintage Housewife x

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