Monday, November 30, 2009

Clutter-Baking

Do you ever get tired of yourself? Do you find yourself wishing you could be a better person, pray for the strength for it and then go back to being your helplessly tiresome self? I'm not about to go into introspective /motivational/preachy speech mode though I find myself in the helplessly tiresome category very often, but in blog terms, it seems that I can't speak about anything these days without bringing up de-cluttering. And yes, this is going to be another post based on that tiresome theme!

I was away for a week a couple of weeks ago. Before that, I had bought a small, orange pumpkin intending to make an Oriya recipe with it but I never could summon the energy to peel and dice it as it seemed rock-solid. I took that as a sign it wouldn't rot or shrivel easily and went away, and sure enough, it was almost as fresh when I returned. For a while now, since the Cereal Killer, I've been fixated on pumpkin cake with walnuts in it, so I searched and searched for a nice-sounding recipe and found this.

Now, I had to de-clutter, of course, and this venture took care of some quantities of the sugar, raisins, a bag of unshelled walnuts that Mom had sent me, some baking soda which I'd bought for the Cereal Killer but ultimately hadn't used, and the entire pumpkin. But I had to go out and buy flour, which, of course, defeated the purpose. And now I am stuck with some flour, which I've already slated for an orange cake and banana something else. A rotting papaya had me wondering if I should make a papaya cake, as awful as it sounds, but funnily enough, it rotted without ripening, so it went into the bin.

For a person who only baked a little, and that in another life, it turned out fine. It was soft and moist but held its shape when I cut it - most of the few cakes that I've ever baked were soft and crumbly. I followed the recipe as much as I could - I had to halve it and I based my measurements on 1 cup of pumpkin puree, because that's how much my little, orange pumpkin yielded.



Sifted all-purpose flour/maida: 1.5 cups
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Cinnamon: 1-inch stick, powdered
Powdered ginger: 1/8 tsp
Cloves: 2, powdered
Salt: 1/2 tsp
Raisins: 1/2 cup, macerated in mixed fruit juice for an hour
Walnuts: 1/2 cup
Pumpkin puree: 1 cup (I made mine by cutting the pumpkin into two and pressure cooking it with just 1/4 cup of water for one whistle, then peeling it and mashing the pulp)
Sugar: 1 cup
Sunflower oil: slightly less than 2/3 cup
Eggs: 2

1) Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease pan and dust with flour. (I have a square glass dish that's about 8 inches wide and that's what I used.)
2) Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, dry ginger, cloves and salt. Add 1/2 a tablespoon of sifted dry ingredients to raisins in a small bowl. With your fingers, toss raisins to separate them and coat each one with the dry ingredients. Stir in nuts into the raisins and set aside.
3) In a mixing bowl, place pumpkin, sugar, and oil and beat at medium speed (I used an electric whisk-like gadget) until smooth. Add eggs individually, beating after each until incorporated.
4) On low speed, add sifted dry ingredients, beat until smooth. Stir in raisins and nuts. Turn into prepared pan.
5) Bake until a cake tester comes out dry (it took me 90 minutes). Cool completely.

So do you get tired of yourselves? Will you tell me why?

24 comments:

  1. You just described quite a bit of me in your introduction, so I'm feeling good I have company in this! :)

    Of course, we cook a lot with pumpkin but still haven't dared to bake with it!! I think yur lovely cake is inspiring me to.

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  2. I agree with Aparna,though I cook many a dishes with Pumpkin,haven't baked with it yet:)

    " orange cake,banana and something else.."Lol:):)

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  3. Nice pumkin cake! Have never baked with pumpkin...I have seen many a pumkin pie in the blogger world. But this cake sure looks very soft and moist. Enjoy!

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  4. I used to think pumpkin in cake would be weird but not anymore. I still don't care for pumpkin pie though. Looks moist sea

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  5. Looks pretty good, although I'm kind of ambivalent about pumpkins, the yellow kind especially. I think they're kind of overrated! :)

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  6. I only knew that we could bake with pumpkin after comming here. Back at home mom used to make halwa with them.
    For a on baking person this cake looks moist and delicous.

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  7. Put the pumpkin in a sack and hit it hard a few times, this was a tip from a friend. the pieces were uneven but it worked for her.

    Cake is good with anything in it. Pumpkin works.

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  8. Get tired of myself? Sorry, no idea what you are talking about! I am the most interesting person I know, I'd marry me if it was legal ;)
    My first baking experiment was a pumpkin bread and that turned out really nice. I think something about the pumpkin puree has that moist, softening effect on flour. I haven't had much more success on the baking front since, other than a few muffins.

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  9. Now you are becoming the "diva", what is this with baking everyday :D Looks damn good

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  10. yep I get tired all the time , cleaning declutering and then cleaning all the mess created by everyone else at home !!! i also get tired of living upto everyone's expectations all the time !!! and I get tired of the always full pantry which never seems to get empty !

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  11. You have company :-)

    Last year my pumpkin & cranberry cake/bread whatever u decide to call it was a big disaster. I had an awesome pumpkin bread baked by someone else and got so encouraged..never did i have my cake crumble so bad except for this one time. Yours look perfect.

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  12. Neat! I recently found pumpkins at the market labelled as "disco" pumpkins. They looked kinda nice - smallish and round..... but disco.
    Maybe someone got carried away and sent Cinderella to the disco instead of the ball.
    Ok i'm not making any sense here. But great post and now I'm looking forward to some disco.

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  13. This is an inspiration to me because I am always afraid and having doubts about baking with pumpkins. Thanks for the recipe!

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  14. I have always been wanting to make some bread or cake out of pumpkin and your recipe has been very timely! Your recipe has very simple steps that I am tempted to try baking this tomorrow :P

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  15. Sra,
    Sometimes I get tired of the situations am in ..but tired of me ..not sure!!
    and few years back ,while staying in US, we(hubby and me) had pumpkin cake slices in a restaurant and that was delicious ....Although i must admit I have never tried to make them in home ..These looks very moist though...
    I like to make Pumkin piece dry fry a lot ..
    hugs and smiles

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  16. Good recipe. Bake once more and invite friends for tea. :)
    Would like to try ur recipe one day. I have tried only payasam with pumpkin and it turned out real nice.

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  17. Like Aparna, I thought you were writing about me too at the beginning of your post.

    I too am in to de-cluttering. Even my blog, I plan to get someone to work on it because it looks so full of stuff.

    Thanks for the info on the Juice, nectar thingy in India. I guess that each country and region would have its own set of food standards guidelines.

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  18. I made a pumpkin and date cake eons ago and it was awesome. It made the cake so moist and lent a lovely colour too. Your cake must be lovely with all those walnuts in it! I dislike those rock solid pumpkins....seems we get only the rocky types in my neck of the woods or I don't know to pick the thin-easy-to-peel-skin types...

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  19. Nope...I don't get tired of myself ever....like someone said, Iam often tired of the situations I find myself in.

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  20. hi sra, are u still accepting entries for MLL? i am just waking up the real world.

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  21. When I read the first few lines, I thought: Oh, my existential crisis. It is tough indeed to get up every morning and push yourself saying yourself its a better day and move on, and come back exhausted at how it turned out to be.

    And you go back to sleep thinking: tomorrow is the day its all changing and it almost never does, does it? Sigh.

    My cooking plans are like that too. I have a ton of stuff I want to do, but never manage :| Pumpkin desserts are like that. I've been meaning to try the holy pumpkin pie and never got down to doing it.

    A loves anything pumpkiney. He even overpays for a pumpkin latte at Starbucks. While I steer clear from it. The peeling, the pureeing and the gooiness(!?!) gets to me, I think. But I like pie :D So, mebbe will try your bread in muffin form?

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  22. I still couldn't convince myself to bake anything with pumpkin hope I overcome it soon... Your cake indeed looks soft...

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  23. lovely post...cake with pumpkin sounds inspiring

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