17 October 2010

Olive Oil Pumpkin Cake with Toasted Pine Nuts for the Pumpkin Challenge


Olive Oil Pumpkin Cake with Toasted Pine Nuts

If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know that I have been creating personal challenges based on a theme to infuse new life into my cooking adventures. Even every day food should be an adventure either with new ideas, or experimenting with a new cuisine. Every day we should be excited about what we are eating even if it just means making use of a wonderful find at our local farmers market for our favourite comfort foods.With these personally imposed challenges my own culinary skills have been rejuvenated and back on track and I am once again inspired. This is the perfect time of year to pump up our kitchens into high gear!


This week, with Hallowe'en right around the corner, I bring you the pumpkin challenge.

Last week I made some delicious pumpkin scones with caramel butter and then a delicious Black Bean Pumpkin Soup. Canned pumpkin always seems to come in huge cans so with leftover pumpkin what is a girl to do? Well that is the easy part since I have a myriad of tried-and-true recipes just waiting in the wings. Let's call this my "pumpkin challenge" and see what I come up with to use up the leftovers.

Why not start with sharing dessert!!! Those of you who follow More Than Burnt Toast know of my obsession with creating cakes made of olive oil in the Mediterranean tradition. Butter usually takes centre stage in baking when thinking of some of my favourites like butter tarts, butter cream frosting and shortbread cookies. But there is something that draws me back time and time again to olive oil.

In warm-weather Mediterranean countries where olives grow, and where butter spoils quickly, sweets are more likely to be made with age-old olive oil. In Italy, bakers add olive oil to everything from biscotti to apple cakes. In Spain and Morocco, the zesty character of orange semolina cake is enhanced with fruity-flavoured olive oil. The tender, crumbly Greek cookies kourambiedes, too, are made with olive oil. Oil will tenderize your cake batter and help keep it moist. So it is often used in fruity, dense quick breads and muffins that are leavened with baking powder and baking soda. The trick is keeping mixing to a minimum to prevent developing tough strands of gluten.

After my successes with olive oil cakes made with blood oranges, clementines, Meyer lemon and poppy seed and banana I thought that my next innovative idea would be pumpkin. On doing a Google search even the greatest of chefs have already perfected the same idea...sigh. So today I bring you a pumpkin olive oil cake from Mario Batali who is known for his innovative flavours and artful presentations that make the most of seasonal, local, and artisanal ingredients. You can recreate this showstopping, and yet simple cake, just as it is served at his restaurant, Babbo in New York, to win rave reviews of your own. In this recipe Mario's cake is made in a square 9-inch pan but adjust cooking times in relation to the pan size you are using.

Very unlike the Mediterranean climate our nights here in the Okanagan Valley have turned cooler.The air has that certain woodsy fragrance with a little nip to bite your nose early in the morning and my world is seen through multi hued glasses of red and russet. If you haven't already gathered it is THE season and my favourite by far!!!!! I love to bring the warm cozy blankets and sweaters out of hibernation and sit curled up on the couch in front of the fire with a book...or better yet a cookbook.

Not only is Fall a great time for jumping into piles of leaves and carving pumpkins, but it also provides a great chance to try out some delicious recipes that will help bring the spirit of the season into your kitchen and home. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by using the bounty of inspirational produce of the season from your garden or farmers markets in various recipes.

**Olive Oil Pumpkin Cake with Toasted Pine Nuts**
Mario Batali – the Babbo cookbook

1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons brandy or grappa
1 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar – packed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup canned pumpkin purée

Preheat oven to 325F. lightly spray a 9" square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. allow to cool. Place the raisins in the bowl with the brandy or grappa and pour the boiling water over them. Set the raisins aside to plump.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. in the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs and brown sugar until very light. Add the rosemary leaves and then, with the mixer running, slowly beat in the olive oil. beat in the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl. add the pumpkin and beat until smooth. stir in the drained raisins and pine nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. allow cake to cool and remove from pan.

At the restaurant this is served with olive oil gelato........maybe next time since I will make this cake time and time again.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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39 comments:

  1. That looks and sounds so good!

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  2. I love the ingredients you used in this Val...just beautiful. The cake looks lovely and moist!

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  3. That cake looks divine!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. Oh, amazing! And with the brandy...divine!

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  5. aah! Dear Val how many things you made!! and all are beauty and delicious!! I love pumpkin, xx gloria

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  6. Yum, I love everything pumpkin this time of year. You've got my mouth watering again, Val.

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  7. Brandy, rosemary and olive oil are such wonderful additions! Great cake.

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  8. Well you know what I have to say about THIS challenge...love love love it! A pumpkin olive oil cake must be so deliciously moist!

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  9. My pantry is stocked with pumpkin especially for recipes such as this one. :) It sounds delicious!

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  10. I love olive oil cake, but I've never even thought about adding some other flavor in. If I were to add something in though, pumpkin would be exactly what I'd use.

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  11. I was browsing for pumpkin cake recipes and I came across your blog, and I'm so happy I did. I love finding other Canadian blogs (I'm in Ottawa), and your regional foods and Canadian focus is fantastic. I've just spent a happy while looking around.
    :)

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  12. A fab looking cake, the saving grace of autumn with the aumtumn bounty and the comfort foods that shine this time of year.

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  13. What a wonderfully autumnal cake! We don't cook much with pumpkin here in the UK but we really should embrace this ingredient. I bet your cake was scrumptious.

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  14. This looks wonderful. Can I have a slice....

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  15. Oooh, that looks rather lovely. As the previous commenter said, pumpkin isn't used much here, but I think I could be persuaded now! Although perhaps I'll use butternut squash instead.

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  16. I like baking with oil. Make the cakes a bit more moist. Fall is the perfect time to challenge yourself with using pumpkin. What a great cake Val.

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  17. I was just reading about the addition of olive oil in desserts in the Mediterranean region. I would like to take on the challenge myself to replace butter with the more healthier (and authentic to Italy) olive oil. I'm sure this was so good, Val! I enjoyed reading all of the background information for it as well.

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  18. I know I would love this cake. I've been thinking about branching out and trying a few desserts and this would be just the type of cake I'd like to try.

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  19. You've had such wonderful luck with your olive oil cakes, Val. I have yet to make one. I love your combo here..the rosemary is so unusual with pumpkin. I love herbs in cookies...so I'd probably love this!

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  20. Fall puts me in the mood for pumpkin--pumpkin anything! So far I've made pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins and next...why not cake? Looks delicious.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  21. I really need to start baking with olive oil, Val. :-) You've inspired me!! This cake is so great - just love those pine nuts!

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  22. Looks wonderful!
    I really enjoy coming here and learning something new. I do use olive oil but never would I have used it to bake. Sounds very healthy combined with pumpkin.
    Rita

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  23. Beautiful pumpkin cake! I just love this time of year.

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  24. Hi Val - love this post. So Autumny. The cake looks great. I love the idea of baking with olive oil I wonder if egg whites would also work, as I am trying to keep my cholesterol intake down. What do you think?
    LL

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  25. That's a great personal challenge Val,and the result looks very appetizing. I'm going to start teaching my mom how to use pumpkin since in Mexico it is not an ingredient that people use a lot, that's very strange knowing the amount of pumpkins farmers grow in this part of the world. Thanks a lot for the inspiration.

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  26. Val this looks like a nice dense cake.

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  27. Lori Lynn...You would probably find recipes on the net that use egg whites. It is all about the texture when you think of a cake like Angel Food that is made with egg whites. I use olive oil in my cakes not because of the health factor (although that is a bonus) but because of the moistness and texture it creates when baking.

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  28. cooler air, woodsy fragrance, nip to bite your nose - i am already jealous; the whole of greece has seen torrents of rain, but it hasnt extended to crete, believe it or not

    beautiful pie, i can see its moistness in the picture

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  29. Don't be sad that someone else thought of it first. Just file it under "Great Minds Think Alike." I love pumpkin anything, so this cake is a winner in my book!

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  30. well, hello, crunchy pine nuts atop a tender cake! good stuff, val. :)

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  31. Great idea to use pumpkin to make a cake. And I love pine nuts.

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  32. Val,
    This looks so good...it's on my list for our Thanksgiving later this month ! Great combinations and love the pine nuts.

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  33. Oh, you've inspired a new cake for me! I was thinking about making an olive oil cake, but adapting it by using some walnut oil that I recently purchased. I think I have to add pumpkin to the cake now! Thank you! ; )

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  34. I am your newest follower, so glad I found you!

    anne
    www.anniebakes.net

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  35. Since I did enjoy your banana, chocolate and olive oil cake...I'll take your word that this one is great too. It's bookmarked ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

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  36. I agree that cooking should be an adventure based on your life and your interests. This bread looks divine and anything with pumpkin this time of the year is fantastic!

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  37. Like the pumpkin cake. Nice to be here.

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  38. Oh that looks amazing! I love pupmkin ideas, especially at this time of year, and pine nuts are always a winner in my book.

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  39. What a beautiful and unique cake! I'll take a slice!

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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