30 Sep 2009


This month I have chosen to use pumpkin in as many dishes as possible.  I want to find new ways of using it so if you have any suggestions please post them my way.  Jules has offered one of her delightful recipes which I look forward to trying now that I have all the necessary ingredients.   

Japanese pumpkin (Kabocha) is in season this month which is every reason why I want to cook with it.  Fresh is always best. This pumpkin is beautifully sweet and it's colour is a brilliant orange.  High in bita carotene a powerful antioxidant which converts into vitamin A in the body. 
This anti-oxidant has been shown to help improve immune function and can reduce the risks of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.  Not only that, pumpkins also contain many other vitamins and nutrients including: calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and vitamins A, C and E.  Furthermore One cup of pumpkin contains 3 grams of fibre and only 50 calories.   It is high in carbohydrates so can be a healthy substitute to pasta, rice or potatoes. 

Kabocha is traditionally eaten in celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, when people lack the nutrients found more commonly in summer vegetables. Kabocha is often enjoyed as tempura or boiled in sugar and soya sauce resulting in a soft, sweet dish.

For this blog posting, pumpkin cake is first on the list.  Pumpkin has an amazing texture perfect for baking with and will make your cake beautifully moist and colourful.

It was my day off yesterday and was on the lookout for something easy to make and using the ingredients I already have. That's when I thought a pumpkin cake would be the ideal choice.  I did want to wait until I received my mums amazing squash recipe (which I have to add to this blog when I get it.  It is perhaps the only cake you can't resist to scoff, even if it has fallen and broken into peices on the kitchen floor - ah the memories) however I felt a bit impatient and thought I'd make one up myself.  I didn't want to be too experimental with this one so I thought the best thing to do was to work with something which was already a bit of a success, the banana cake.    The results were even better than expected.  

Again, like the banana cake, this pumpkin one is a must try.  I wouldn't have put it on here otherwise.  Very moist and flavourful.  You can't really taste the pumpkin, but it gives this cake a mouth watering texture. You may find it also beats the banana cake in the tasty stakes.  I didn't think this could be possible, but the proof is in the pudding!! :)

Here are the ingredients and the methods I used.  -

113g butter or margarine/butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup All purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin (if you are struggling to get it into a creamy mash add a little soy milk)
a big handful of crushed walnuts
1 cup raisins (boiled in 1 cup of water - drain)
tsp heaped cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder

1.  Grease the rice cooker bowl/pan with butter or marg
2.  Mash the cooked pumpkin with a sturdy fork or blend in a blender with a little soy milk
3.  Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
4.  Mix together the mushy pumpkin
5.  Mix in the sieved flour and spices
6.  Mix in the  raisins and crushed walnuts.
7.  Scrape into the rice cooker and bake for 60 minutes on the cake function. If you don't have that function switch to on then check the mixture when the setting finishes with a chop stick.
8.  If it comes out clean you are in the clear and can let it cool on a rack then eat if not put it on for a further 20 mins. 
9.  If you want to make this in the oven the directions will be the same as in the banana cake recipe I found. 

10.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool before cutting. 

Remember, the steam in the rice cooker cooks the cake so don't look until the timer has beeped.

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