Saturday, 15 September 2012

pumpkin cake with chestnut cream and almond meringue topping

... next weekend The Viking and I will be walking down the aisle... (ha!)... we have the honour of being the Best Men at our best friends wedding...  ...we've know Richard and Peter for lord knows how many years and when they finally decided to take the plunge into married life Richard asked The Viking if he'd be his Best Man and Peter asked me if i'd be his... they're going for one of those ridiculous weekend-long weddings at a beautiful country house in Kent and I can tell you here and now... it is going to get messy... proper 'rolling around in a drunken, no-doubt drug-induced haze' type of messy...

... it starts on Thursday when we go over to their home and make sure they're prepared for the big day and then on Friday we'll travel in convoy with one of the bridesmaids in tow, down to the hotel where we'll have the full-on rehearsal followed by the rehearsal dinner... the wedding is on Saturday - outside if the weather holds (so, inside then...) then dinner and dancing... and if Sunday ever comes it is Peter's birthday so we're all off to a local pub for a big lunch...

... and as if that wasn't enough on Monday 24th it's my birthday and The Viking's birthday... (yes, born on the same day a few years apart...) and so i'm treating him to a day or two on the Kent coast to say goodbye to last of the summer sunshine...

... essentially you may not hear from me for a while... and if you do, it may just be the odd tweet banging on about how drunk I am or how hung-over I am... so I leave you with this...

pumpkin cake with chestnut cream and almond meringue topping 
this is a very dense and moist cake but pumpkin is surprisingly bland so i've used the almonds and chestnut to boost the nuttiness... editor emailed me the other day to ask me what I had planned for my October recipe for Lincolnshire Life Magazine and could I possibly think about including pumpkin somewhere in the post... now if you're American and reading this you'd be forgiven for not thinking much about that last sentence but you see whilst we've embraced the commercial aspect of Halloween over here in the UK we haven't quite taken the whole 'festival' spirit to heart which in essence means that pumpkins really only come into the shops in late October and purchasing pumpkin puree, particularly in the middle of nowhere is nigh on impossible... amazingly I did manage to find a pumpkin, sitting very lonely outside our local greengrocer on a sunny and warm Saturday in early September, so i made my own puree... and about 4 different cakes... here's one that didn't make it into the magazine...

for the puree
1 medium pumpkin

for the cake - it's an American recipe so i'm giving you the American measures
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (6oz)
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
3 large eggs

for the almond meringue
2 egg whites
2oz sugar
2oz light brown sugar
4oz ground almonds

for the chestnut cream 
100g cream cheese
100g whipping cream
100g sweet chestnut puree

- pre-heat the oven to 170C - grease and line two 20cm cake tins

- if you're making your own puree, simply cut the pumpkin into large chunks - deseed and lay flesh down on a baking tray and bake for an hour on 140C till meltingly soft, then scrape off and puree

- cream the butter and sugars, then add one egg and beat in, followed by a third of the flour mix

- continue like this until all the flour is gone, adding the ginger and salt along the way

- pour into the cake tins and bake for 30 mins or until golden (my pumpkin puree was very wet and so the cakes rose well but sank quite flat - this is quite common apparently)

- to make the almond meringue topping simply whisk the egg whites to a stiff peak, add the sugar and continue to whisk whilst adding the almonds

- spoon roughly onto a baking tray and bake for 1 hour at 100C then leave in the oven until completely cool

- once the cake is out of the oven and entirely cool whisk the cream and cream-cheese then add the chestnut puree and spread half of this onto the bottom layer of the cake

- put the top layer on top of the cream then spread the rest of the cream on top

- break the meringue into flakes and lay on top - drizzle with golden syrup to serve

eat and of course enjoy!

... oh and if you haven't done so already then please don't forget to vote for me to go to Argentina... the voting ends on my birthday and what an amazing prezzie that would be!... vote here



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