Baking and cooking with pumpkin makes me happy, so I was eager to try this recipe for Pumpkin & Ginger Pound Cake. Let me tell you, it was everything I hoped it would be: moist, deliciously spiced and a great alternative to pumpkin pie.
Finely mincing the fresh ginger before adding it to the cake batter ensured that there weren’t big chunks of ginger to bite into (grating the fresh ginger would also work). A simple dusting of powdered sugar right before serving dresses up the cake and makes it party-ready. Serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream garnished with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg.
Pumpkin & Ginger Pound Cake
-recipe by Diane Morgan, Fine Cooking Magazine (October 2002)
This delicious twist on pumpkin pie will keep for two days at room temperature if wrapped tightly. You can also make it up to three weeks ahead: Wrap it first in plastic, then in foil, and freeze it; pull it out of the freezer four hours before serving.
Serves eight, with ample leftovers.
1/2 lb. (1 cup) unsalted butter, completely softened at room temperature; more for the pan
9 1/2 oz, (2 1/2 cups) cake flour; more for the pan
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin purée
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 to 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1 qt. vanilla ice cream (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup bundt pan, preferably nonstick. Tap out any excess flour.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside. Separate the eggs, putting the yolks in a small bowl and the whites in a large mixing bowl.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the vanilla and the brown sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. When all the brown sugar has been added, stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and cream the mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Use a fork to lightly beat the egg yolks; then, with the mixer on low speed, add them slowly to the butter-sugar mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, increase the speed to medium, and beat for 1 minute. On low speed, add the pumpkin purée, oil, and fresh ginger. Beat until smooth.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in one-third of the flour mixture, and continue stirring just until the flour disappears (don’t beat or overmix). Repeat, adding the remaining flour mixture in two more passes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and set it aside.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat with an electric mixer just until they hold soft peaks. Gently but thoroughly fold them into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake springs back when touched with a fingertip and a pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 45 to 50 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan. Invert the cake onto the cooling rack and gently remove the pan. Let cool completely. (If you’re making the cake ahead, wrap it now). Just before serving, use a fine sieve to sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cake. Cut into 3/4-inch slices and serve with a scoop of ice cream, if you like.