My Own Take On Pumpkin Cake
Pumpkin cake - what can I say? It's that time of year when the shops are full of pumpkins, many of which will have been carved into 'scary' faces and left on doorsteps with candles burning inside for Halloween.
But what happens to the flesh that people scrape out of the pumpkin shell?
And are pumpkins useful beyond Halloween?
Well of course they are. Pumpkins are a nutritious fall vegetable and should not be ignored after Halloween.
The idea of Pumpkin Cake came to me as I stood in a UK supermarket staring at the enormous pile of pumpkins in front of me before Halloween.
I was marveling at the way big business has now brainwashed the UK into buying pumpkins as if Guy Fawkes night and Christmas don't give people enough to worry about.
When I was a kid in the UK, Halloween had not been turned into a money-spinning event and was still only a way of scaring kids into going to bed early on October 31st.
Am I alone in having believed Halloween was the night when witches, goblins and ghosts would come down the chimney and party round the hearth all night or were my parents especially cruel?
"Better get to sleep before dark!" they would say, "or the ghouls will get you'.
So that was it for Halloween in our house and, I suspect, in most UK homes at that time.
No sweets or dressing up for us. Just shaking in our beds 'til morning. Great! What fun! I'm not sure that anyone in the UK even knew about 'trick or treating' back then.
I certainly didn't hear about it until I emigrated to North America.
There were lots of US draft dodgers living in my apartment complex.
They had come up from the states many years earlier because of the call up during the Vietnam war and so Halloween was a massive event in our building.
People went to great lengths to create very spooky experiences for kids banging on doors looking for sweets from total strangers ( yup, everything our mother's told us not to do).
Over the years, I came to realise Canadians loved Halloween too and I couldn't help but get into it when my kids were young.
What a shock though when I came back to live in the UK after many years to find the Halloween machine had brought it's money-spinning 'traditions' here too.
As I stared at the massive pile of pumpkins, I wondered what UK people do with the flesh they scoop out when they carve them ready to place on doorsteps to welcome trick or treaters.
Do they use the flesh to make pies and soups they way Americans do? Or do they waste the lovely pumpkin goodness?
So there I was back in October, standing in the supermarket marveling at what a thorough job the marketing men and women have done in making us want to spend a fortune on pumpkins, fake gravestones, flashing skeletons and Dracula masks etc.
Well done guys. Baaaaa! Hey here's an idea, why don't the big stores just have a section (sound proofed and with its own door of course), for the sheep with lots of money to burn, where they can buy Halloween crap, fireworks and Christmas tat all at the same time.
Wouldn't that be great! You could listen to Band Aid, Bing Crosby and the Pogues while choosing your pumpkins, fireworks and Christmas trees.
In fact, you could put fireworks in the pumpkin shells instead of candles and maybe put a witches hat at the top of the Christmas tree instead of an angel.
All the money spinning 'seasons' are gradually blending into one and it would be great if we had a choice as to whether we were subjected to it all.
It all needs its own department store with a notice above that says 'Sheep This way - All Major Credit Cards Accepted'.
But that is a whole other blog post!
So anyway, where was I? Oh yes - Pumpkin Cake.
So what happens to the flesh people scoop out of pumpkins? I know Americans and Canadians make pumpkin pie and soup but I thought I would invent my own pumpkin cake. So yes, I did buy a pumpkin and I did make a cake.
My full recipe (which was trial and error) and the process can be found here at instructables.com I take no responsibility for the outcome. I never claimed to be Mary Berry or Martha Stewart.
There is no added sugar, fat, oil or wheat and the ingredients are all healthier than actual cake.
So if you love actual cake, I don't think my pumpkin cake will be for you. It came out a bit like bread pudding and I loved it so much, I made it again.
Yes, I bought TWO pumpkins this year and not a scary carved face in sight!
My pumpkin cake is, in my opinion, delicious and healthy and I have been eating it for breakfast. Pumpkin is, apparently, low in calories and rich in dietary fibre. It has no saturated fat or cholesterol but is high in antioxidants and Vitamin A.
For more info on the benefits of pumpkin, have a look at this Huffington Post feature.
I'm off to have my afternoon slice of pumpkin cake.
And by the way, making cakes is not classed as housework. It is close though because it is done in the kitchen. However, as the results of the activity have an enjoyment factor, I don't class it as housework.
Have fun making pumpkin cake and let me know how yours turn out.