Home Cook

Isaac's Belated Birthday Bundt Cake

Isaac's sixtieth birthday was last week, but between my schedule and his health, we didn't really celebrate. As long as I had today off, I declared it birthday day. Here's the cake.

Pumpkin Walnut Bundt Cake with Spiced Rum Glaze
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp spiced rum
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (approx. 2 cups) pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2/3 cup barley flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a Bundt pan really, really well.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until well mixed. It will be crumbly, not creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat well until it is very creamy and lemon-colored, then add the pumpkin. Mix until just blended.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients about a third at time, mixing gently with the machine or by hand. Stir in the walnuts.

Spread the batter evenly in the Bundt pan. Bang the bottom of the pan a few times on the table to shake out any air bubbles. It will pick up the details of the mold much better this way. Bake for one hour, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes ("no more, no less," according to the official Nordic Ware site ), then invert onto a plate. (Don't pick it up with bare hands; use hot pads.) With luck, it comes out in one beautiful piece.

Captain's Rum Glaze
  • 2 tbsp spiced rum
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar

Stir together, then drizzle over top of the cake.

Alternately, dust with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

The alert reader may notice significant similarities to the previously-posted Banana Cake. This is hardly accidental. Much of my baking consists of tweaking one recipe to accommodate other ingredients.

The aforementioned Nordic Ware site suggests spraying cooking oil on the pan, then dusting with flour, but I haven’t been thrilled with the results. I liked the butter, but I could see that dusting with flour would have helped the cake climb up the sides of the pan. However, the result was dandy anyway.

Sweet Pumpkin Treats

Autumn is here, which gets me thinking pumpkin, one of my favorite foods. I’ll be cooking with it a lot now through spring. When I was younger and more ambitious, I would cook a pumpkin from scratch for the puree, but frankly, I’m just as happy if not more so with a can of organic puree. There are only so many hours in the day.

Calling these treats "bars" makes them sound more substantial and cookie-like than they are. In fact, the result is very light and cakey. They might be more bar-like with more oatmeal, which is not in the original recipe.

I'm not sure where the recipe came from; I hand-copied it from someone else's handwritten copy maybe 20-25 years ago. Of course, I never make it exactly as written. Here's the way I made them yesterday:

Pumpkin Bars
  • 1 c white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat; I happened to have white whole wheat)
  • 1 c brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
Sift together and set aside.
  • 1 c vegetable oil (I use canola—don't use olive oil)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c oatmeal
In a large bowl, whisk the oil and eggs together until fluffy. Whisk in the sugars, then the pumpkin.

Add the flour mixture by thirds, stirring only until completely moistened. Add the in the walnuts and oatmeal. The batter will be rather wet.

Pour into an ungreased 15" x 10" x 1" sheet pan (jelly roll pan, cookie sheet with sides--whatever you call it) and pop into a 350º for 25-30 minutes. They should be lightly brown and pulling away from the sides of the pan.

My old recipe suggests frosting them—which I never do—or topping with cinnamon sugar. I used a combination of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Either way, cut into squares and serve.