Now that Halloween is behind us, you may be wondering what to do with the pumpkin that was used for your Jack O' Lantern. As long as your pumpkin is free of mold and dirt inside, it should be fine to use. Let's talk about how to prepare a fresh pumpkin and use it in a snack cake that is a sensation!
First, cut your pumpkin in half crosswise. Chances are, you've already cleaned out the seeds and strings, but if you haven't, you can do that now, if you choose. Place the pumpkin cut side down in a pan large enough to support it and place about an inch of water in the pan with it. Bake at 350 degrees until a knife inserted goes in and comes out easily, indicating that it's ready to come out of the oven. Let it cool and when cool enough to handle, you can scoop out any seeds and strings here. Then, scrape out the flesh from the pumpkin shell. Mash the pumpkin and place in a colander. Let this drain for several hours or even over night, covering the pumpkin with plastic. It's surprising how much water a pumpkin will contain, so use a large container for draining. Then, the pumpkin is ready to be used.
The recipe I'm passing along uses some of this pumpkin and it's called "Harvest Loaf Cake". This is a snack cake that would be good served with a hot cup of apple cider or hot apple punch and would make a great TV snack. This contains chocolate chips and chopped nuts, but the chocolate can be replaced by raisins, if you wanted to. This makes a loaf cake, but it can also be baked in a 9 inch square pan.
You'll see in the recipe that this is a cake that's a "one-bowl" cake, meaning that most all of the ingredients are combined and beaten, eliminating the need for creaming the shortening and sugar, adding eggs, etc. It's a good cake to make when you would like a snack in a short amount of time. Though it can certainly be served soon after baking, it's best to let it stand at least six hours or overnight for easier slicing.
The flavors of pumpkin, spices and chocolate go very well in this recipe. You may think that chocolate and spices won't work together as far as taste, but it's a very tasty combination. Since canned pumpkin is sold about all year long, you can make this cake whenever the desire shows up, summer or fall!
You may also be trying to decide what to do with the Halloween candy your children brought home. If you can talk your children into sharing it, they may be willing to let you make a "Milky Way Cake", "M&M Cookies" or "Chocolate Treasure Puffs" which are recipes I passed along a while back that use candy. To get these recipes, just follow this link:
"Recycle" your Halloween pumpkin by cooking it and using some of it in this tasty snack cake!
HARVEST LOAF CAKE
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (see note below)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Generously grease the bottom only of a 9x5 inch loaf pan or a 9 inch square pan. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, except for the chocolate chips and nuts. Blend at low speed until all ingredients are dampened. Beat at 2 minutes at medium speed with electric mixer, scraping the bowl occasionally. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Turn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (the 9 inch square will need to bake 45-50 minutes). Cool the loaf for 10 minutes then remove from pan. The 9 inch cake can cool in the pan. Cool completely. For best slicing, wrap and store at least 6 hours or overnight.
NOTE: 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice may be used in place of all the spices listed.
VARIATION: Use 1 cup raisins in place of the chocolate chips.