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Monday, December 14, 2009

Procrastination Post #2: Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

I'm posting this recipe now even though I made it months ago for a birthday. I nearly forgot about all the pictures I had taken for it until my friend noted that since I clearly am not studying for my final exam right now, I might as well be productive and update. Well said, well said.

Hopefully this marks the last of my many pumpkin posts, but no guarantees as I still have nearly a full can left in my fridge. I had used a dollop to top my breakfast yesterday [choopped Pink Lady apple, Greek yoghurt, maple syrup, almonds] just to see how it would taste, and because I had run out of cereal and I was really craving something wintery for the chilly Berkeley morning.

Back to cake. I love the flavour combination I did here: pumpkin and cardamom. I tend to add cardamom in a lot of my baked goods because [a] I am Indian, [b] I have an entire jar full of the green little pods that I stole from home before embarking to college, and [c] it is sooo good! It adds a distinct taste to baked goods and brings up memories of good times in India and drinking chai. And since I was making this for a fellow brown friend, I figured I would throw some into the mix.
I am a very messy baker

The cake is a chiffon variety, meaning that you beat egg whites separately and fold them into the batter to make the cake light and airy. Even though there is no butter, it stays moist from the pumpkin puree and the yolks, which are beaten well at the beginning. Make sure when you beat your whites that your bowl and whisk are completely free of water, or else they won't whip to soft peaks and your chiffon will be a chiffail.

If you are missing the butter, don't worry, there is more than enough in the buttercream frosting on top and in between the layers. For an extra crunch [I love cakes with crunch], I filled the inside with Kix cereal. It's weird, I know, but trust me when I say that it was a success. Plus, who doesn't love Kix?

I hope to bake something new this week once my week of hell is over. I do have that pumpkin in my fridge, along with a pear.....maybe some chocolate pear cakes? Wait and see!

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake with Cardamom Buttercream

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
6 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
7 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tbsp white sugar

2.5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
3 tablespoons milk
4 cardamom pods, crushed and ground in a spice mill

Filling: Kix cereal, or any other cereal of your choice

Preheat oven to 325F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, 1 1/3 cups sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mix egg yolks, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture. Stir until mixture is well-combined and no streaks of flour remain. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add in additional 2 tbsp sugar. Continue to beat to soft peaks.

Gently stir 1/3 of the egg whites into pumpkin mixture to lighten it up. Fold in remaining egg whites until batter is uniform in color and there are no streaks of white visible.
Pour batter into an ungreased, 9-inch pan. Gently tap the side of the pan once or twice to eliminate any large air pockets.

Bake for about 50-55 minutes, until the top springs back when gently pressed. Invert pan over a cooling rack until completely cool, 3 hours or overnight. When cool, carefully separate the cake from the pan with a thin knife and invert onto a serving platter or cake stand.

Beat sugar, butter, milk and cardamom with electric mixer at low speed until well blended and smooth. If frosting becomes too thick, beat in additional milk by teaspoonfuls until the frosting is of spreading consistency.

To assemble:
Use a serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. Place a piece of wax paper on a plate and put one layer on top, cut side up. Frost the sides and middle, and fill with Kix cereal. Top with second layer and complete a crumb coat. Refrigerate for ten minutes, then frost the rest. Garnish however you like.

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