Pumpkin & Orange Cake with Cinnamon Mascarpone Icing

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This is the last recipe in my pumpkin fortnight and I think I’ve saved the best until last.  Not to blow my own trumpet but I just adore the look of this cake!  The fondant pumpkins and leaves mixed with the sugar and spiced pecans….it’s sort of a thing of beauty.  So excuse the excessive amount of photographs!

The other pumpkin recipes on here use pumpkin puree but this one is a bit different as it uses grated pumpkin, in much the same way as carrot, which means you can substitute the pumpkin for carrot if that’s what you have in the cupboard.

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This sponge has a similar flavour and texture to a light carrot cake but the orange zest which is infused with the sugar gives it a little extra kick.  The pecans are roasted before using to enhance their flavour but if you are in a rush they could be roughly chopped straight from the packet and thrown in.  To prepare the pumpkin for grating I first cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds and cut each half in to four segments which are then peeled and grated.  To make up for the extra steps in the cake the mascarpone icing is very straight forward and can be whipped up in no time at all. (more…)

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Pumpkin Pecan Squares

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I hope everyone had a fun Halloween weekend.  Did you go out guising? Or trick or treating if you’re not from the UK. Me and a few friends dressed up to watch scary movies, eat Chinese and give our bags of sweets to the neighbourhood children.  One of my friends was really excited about giving out sweets as this was her first Halloween in her own house, she really went all out.  We all carved pumpkins and she made up 50(!) bags of sweets.  Sadly it was a bit rainy out and we only got three callers at the door.  Hey, at least that meant there was lots of leftover sweeties for us!

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I dressed up as a vampire.  Sadly that didn’t help me to find a Damon Salvatore but it was fun none the less!  I don’t know if you’ve ever dressed up as a vampire but of course I wanted to have some good fangs.  To the joke shop I headed to buy a set but when I got them home they were a bit of a disaster.  It doesn’t help that I’ve had the teeth removed that you are supposed to fix them to (ahh…childhood braces coming back to haunt me) but it just wasn’t happening.  So where does one turn when in need of DIY fangs?  PIntrest of course!  I found a very helpful tutorial for using fake nails and denture cream to create fangs.  It sounds awfully strange but it worked like a dream!  Just some tips for next year. (more…)

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Loaf

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Happy pumpkin week!  Or happy countdown to Hallowe’en week.  I hope everyone has plans to carve a pumpkin before Friday night.  I’m going round to a friends house for the festivities and have been instructed to bring a pre-carved pumpkin to go on display so I better get planning!  Not that I’m making it competitive or anything…

The theme for our Hallowe’en get together is witches so I’m going as Sabrina the Teenage Witch!  Cop out?  Maybe, but I just want to break out my 90’s choker and find a stuffed, talking cat.  There will also have to be some creepy baking on.  I had a lot of fun making edible blood for a Game of Thrones cake a couple of weeks go so I’ll need to work that in somehow.

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Anyway, back to todays offering.  Last week I showed you how to make your own pumpkin puree, well this week I’m going to show you what to do with it!  First up is a loaf cake which celebrates my absolute favourite (overpriced) caffinated beverage, the Starbucks PSL (pumpkin spice latte for those not in the know).

The loaf batter is lightly spiced and the pumpkin puree adds a subtle flavour and keeps the cake moist, much like banana in a banana loaf.  I wanted the coffee flavour to pack a solid punch so I mixed up a streusel mix with sugar spices and ground coffee which is layered throughout the loaf.  This looks pretty but also means you get a strong hit of spiced coffee flavour. (more…)

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Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

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The thing about roasting and pureeing your own pumpkin is that you end up with lots of seeds going in the recycling.  Well I’m hear to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way!  Nope.  You can roast the pumpkin seeds for a delicious and healthy snack, or to use in granola, crumble topping, to sprinkle on top of pumpkin cakes…the possibilities are endless (almost).

Great thing is, it takes no time at all and you can get creative with the spices you use.  Go savoury with chilli, cumin and coriander.  Keep it simple with salt and pepper or cinnamon sugar.  I’ve gone down the pumpkin spice route, with a little twist of ground cardamom to mix things up!  Very tasty. (more…)

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How to: Homemade Pumpkin Puree

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This is the time of year when every second recipe on the internet contains pumpkin, and more specifically, pumpkin puree.  It’s wonderful, and they are sounds utterly delicious.  The only problem is, pumpkin puree isn’t really a thing in the U.K.  Sure, it has surfaced in more and more supermarkets in the last year or two and there is even a selection to be made at Wholefoods but not every town has one of those (sadly).

Pumpkins, in their raw and beautiful state, however are readily available all over the country.  Great news!  We can make our own pumpkin puree, can’t we?  The answer to that is most certainly yes.  It’s hella easy, as long as you have a large, sharp knife! (more…)

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