All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

spicy pumpkin cake with sugared ginger

This is the most wonderful cake - spicy, fragrant, and studded with juicy chunks of ginger. I've also been known to throw in some currants as well, but just the crystallized ginger is absolutely knock down fantastic. It's everything you ever expected a holiday cake should be.

I've been making this recipe for years - as Texas size muffins. Then one day I looked at the recipe and thought - why not make this as an 8 1/2 inch cake, so I did, and it's just perfect. I use cake tin with a high side - 2 inches. The recipe comes straight from the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook , and I've never changed anything ( although I do sometimes do a dairy free alternative) - the spices are just perfect.

I've been serving this with lightly sweetened whipped cream, but I just realized hard sauce would work as well. My stepmother was a native of Baltimore, and she was a strong believer in serving hard sauce with just about any dessert - especially around Turkey Day and Christmas. I've included the standard recipe for hard sauce below.

This recipe will make two cakes - or one cake and 6 Texas size muffins, which can be immediately eaten or stuck in the freezer(hurray!).

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease 2 cake pans or one cake pan and one 6-cup Texas size muffin tin.

To make:

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree ( if you use homemade pumpkin, drain it in a sieve to make sure it isn't too wet)

2 cups brown sugar ( one box)

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (or 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup applesauce for dairy free)

4 large eggs

1/2 cup apple juice or cider

3 1/2 cups King Arthur flour

2 t. baking soda

2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

4 1/2 t. cinnamon

4 1/2 t. ground ginger

1 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. ground cloves

1 1/2 cups chopped crystallized ginger

1 cup currants ( optional)

In mixer bowl, place pumpkin, sugar, and melted butter. Mix. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth. Stir in the apple juice.

Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix well.

Fold in the chopped sugared ginger bits ( and currants, if you're using them).

Fill cake pan about halfway up with batter.

Using an ice cream scoop of regular size, place two scoops of batter in each muffin cup of the Texas sized muffin tin. You should have just enough batter for both.

Bake about 25 minutes for the muffins, or until tops of muffins are firm, and about 40 minutes for the cake - again- the middle, especially, should be firm before you take it out of the oven.

Remove muffins and then the cake to a cooling rack. Let the cake cool at least a half hour before you unmold it. The muffins need just a quick cool, then they'll pop out nicely from the muffin tin.

Serve with whipped cream or hard sauce. The cake serves eight.

Hard Sauce:

1 stick soft butter, salted or not

1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar

2 T. ( or "a good splash", as my stepmother always said) brandy or rum

OR 1 t. vanilla extract

Cream ingredients well and serve in a small bowl on the side.

Here come the holidays!

Featured in photograzing! And Tastespotting!


Martha said...

A great looking pumpkin cake which I love this time of year.

csr said...

Thank you for using our flour. Frank from KAF, baker/blogger

Anonymous said...

Hi Martha - it is such a fine cake - very different from gingerbread, but the same beautiful dark brown. This has been a great hit with friends - so I know it's a keeper.

Anonymous said...

Hello again, Frank - and thanks for swinging by to read! You know I wouldn't use anything else, right?
PS/ Got the new KA catalogue and went bananas - lots of good stuff.

Anonymous said...

This cake looks so moist and delicious! My husband is a huge ginger fan so I know he'd love this!

Anonymous said...

nicole - if he's a ginger fan, I'd add a little more crystallized ginger -after all - can you ever have enough ginger?

So delighted you liked this! I'm just finishing the very last crumb...

Anonymous said...

Hi Katrina~ Wow! this looks delicious (okay, I know I say that about everything you make, but it's true!) I'm not really familiar with crystalized ginger, but this may tempt me to give it a try!

Congrats on being featured on "Photograzing", too. I wasn't familiar with that site, but I think that is amazing you were featured. You are getting to be quite the 'famous' girl, huh? I'm excited and very happy for you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Barb! Famous, shamous. I just like to cook!
You are in for a treat if you've never tried baking with crystalized ( also spelled crystallized) ginger - they are just amazing! Gingery, juicy, a little burst of flavor in your scones, muffins, or this cake. They come in slices ( which I snip into slivers with scissors), but also these wonderful chunks - perfect for baking. You can also put them in a nice hot cup of herb tea and it will flavor the tea. Have I convinced you yet?
Thanks again for stopping in!

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook said...

Gorgeous! Look like a lovely cake for this beautiful season!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tarah - and you said it perfectly. This is such a beautiful season! For those of us with a passion for desserts and gorgeous food, the next month and a half is bliss.

Anonymous said...

Hello, me kilala ka bang stores kung san meron ng cake naa ito? thank you!

Anonymous said...


Katharyne said...

these are all great recipes, glad to find your blog! : )

katrina said...

Thank you, fellow Gatherer Katharyne! Enjoyed your herbology blog, as well!

Lisa said...

I made this the other week- so lovely and was a hit with everyone!

katrina said...

My goodness, Lisa - you were certainly baking up a sotrm that day! Delighted you enjoyed this always-delicious pumpkin cake! Now you've got me thinking about it again, and I might just have to make it today.

Many thanks -