Autumn baking is just the best, spoilt as we are with the bounty of harvest season every year. And it’s not just the abundant fruit, but the vegetables getting in on the baking act as well. Baking with pumpkin is pretty much essential in the month of October, especially as Hallowe’en approaches (see last year’s pumpkin tea loaf recipe here). This recipe (adapted from one my Mum sent me from a magazine, we have now forgotten which!) has pumpkin both in the sponge and the filling – a deliciously different pumpkin citrus curd. To make the curd, you will need:
Zest and 100ml juice from one large orange
Zest and 30ml juice from one lemon
100g pumpkin purée (tinned is fine)
125g unsalted butter, cubed
50g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten.
1) To make the curd, put the orange and lemon zest and juice, pumpkin purée, butter and sugar in a heatproof bowl.
Set the bowl over a pan of boiling water, ensuring the base is not touching the water, and stir until the butter and sugar have melted (i.e. you can no longer see the sugar grains in the mixture).
2) Lower the heat and whisk in the eggs, whisking all the time or you’ll end up with an unpleasant scrambled curd! Continue to whisk until the curd thickens and coats the back of the spoon (it depends on your equipment and ingredients, mine took nearly 20 minutes!).
3) Allow to cool, and sieve if you don’t want any bits. Store the curd in a sterilised jar; it will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge. Meanwhile, make the sponge. You will need:
225g soft salted butter
225g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs
200g pumpkin purée (tinned is fine)
200g self-raising flour
30g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
(N.B. I halved the mixture for a smaller cake!)
4) Preheat the oven to 180C/ Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins. Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin purée, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and zest into a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer.
Beat until light and fluffy, then divide evenly between the two tins.
Bake for 25 minutes until the sponge springs back when pressed. Leave to cool before turning out and cooling completely on a wire rack.
5) Prepare the filling. I used half a carton of Elmlea cream (140ml), sweetened with a tablespoon of icing sugar.
Whip the cream and icing sugar until thick and billowy but not too stiff or it won’t spread easily.
Add a layer of curd, then a layer of cream and sandwich the two halves together.
Top with whatever berries you can get your hands on at this late stage in the season – my gorgeous golden raspberries were from Edinburgh Farmers’ Market.
Dust with icing sugar and serve. Cute wee squashes, also picked up at the Farmers’ Market, optional.
The leftover curd is delicious served with yoghurt or spread on hot toast.
Have you baked with pumpkin before? What are you baking this weekend?