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


  1. YUM!! I also have a wedding next weekend (and I am a bridesmaid - eep) but it doesn't sound quite so fun as yours! AND its my birthday next week too. And I like pumpkin so this cake sounds divine.
    ENJOY your time away!

  2. You are going to have so much FUN!!! What a wonderful way to end the summer - blootered in the sunshine. I can only dream :-)

  3. Wow, you sound like you have amazing, happy times coming up! Fantastic.
    I could so love this cake, love pumpkin, love chestnut....shame I'm being careful :(( boo hoo. No fun. Xx

  4. Wahoo! Sounds like such a happy weekend ... moderation in all things, though! Headaches and queasiness don't reflect well on the memories ... and you DO want memories of all the celebrations! THERE! I've said my nagging motherly thing ... just what I'd say to my own three kids ... now, go have fun! I'll eat the cake!

  5. I love weddings and usually have a good cry a them. I don't know whether I'm crying because I'm happy for them or crying because I know what their in for. Have a wonderful time and try to behave yourself as best you can LOL!! The cake looks delicious with pumpkin being one of my fall favorite ingredients.

  6. Fabulous end to the summer. What a delicious cake, especially the topping!

  7. When I saw the title of the recipe, I thought I might not like it. I'm not fond of chestnut puree. However, your photograph of the slice of cake has converted me. Hope you have a great time at the wedding and your break in Kent. Happy Birthday to both of you for the 24th XXX

  8. the two of you are born in the same day? how cool is that! my mum, sis and bro have the same birthday, can you believe it?! anyway, have a great break, you deserve it! The cake looks fab because I'm such a fan of both pumpkin and chestnut (hate meringues though, I know, I'm weird right).

  9. Oh to be a fly on the wall while you frolick with your friends and celebrate!! I KNOW you'll have a blast!

    Halloween/Fall decorating is insane in the US!! Pumpkins are EVERYWHERE!!! I love pumpkin anything, and your cake looks amazing!!! The chestnut cream looks fantastic!

    Have fun!!

  10. That looks fudgy and moist Dom - very decadent. Will any of the other pumpkin recipes be making it onto the blog? Don't know if you have a Waitrose near you, but I think they stock pumpkin puree year round (probably relatively expensive though). Have a fab time at the wedding.

  11. Dom, this looks like the perfect Thanksgiving dessert!! Hey, if I can help converting the measurements from volume to weight, please don't hesitate to ask (my scale does wonders).
    Enjoy the upcoming wedding weekend. Sounds like lots of fun to me.

  12. Love the wonderful cake. I adore pumpkin pie so am sure I'd love this and the meringue makes it a total winner. Have a wonderful weekend weddings and birthdays what fun!

  13. This looks lush! I want some! I always enjoy myself in Kent!

  14. If this one didn't make it into the magazine, the other one must be absolutely magnificent. I want a piece of this cake so badly - it has lots of my favourites. Adore pumpkin, adore chestnuts and adore meringues. Perhaps your house needs some cake sitting whilst your away having fun???

    Happy, happy birthdays and best men days to you both.

  15. I love pumpkin, lovely recipe. I was just thinking the other day I need to make something with pumpkin...

  16. I know I would love this. Pumpkin, meringues and chestnut cream sounds heavenly to me. Enjoy your joint birthdays and the beautiful Kent coast. Let's hope the wine is chilled ready for your arrival xx

  17. CAKE!...and what a cake! Forget weddings ...forget booze...drugs...everything... all I can see is that cake...and me...united in holy matrimony until the last crumb is licked from my passionate fingertips.

  18. Brilliant, it's going to be just like Peter's Friends (remember that?)! My sister's birthday is on the 24th too, so you and The Viking are in good company. Gorgeous, gorgeous cake, though shame on you for using pumpkin puree and not the real deal x

  19. With a cake like this I don't mind you disappearing for a couple of days worth of debauchery ... just so long as you arrive back in one piece with some more cake on offer ;0)
    Have a great time.

  20. Oh hello cake! My Mum organises weddings in a big country house in Kent, be funny if it was her doing it!!

  21. Yummy! That cake looks fantastic, I'm hoping to make a pumpkin cake next month and this is good inspiration. Hope you have fun at the wedding!

  22. What a FABULOUS cake and what a GREAT time time you have planned for birthdays and weddings......I will await your alcohol fuelled tweets and posts with wine-laden breath! Karen

  23. What an interesting cake...the pumpkin with the chestnut cream is a great combination and I just love meringue...definitely top marks for originality!! :-)

  24. Ohh I can I come? I really fancy rolling around in a drunken, no doubt drug-induced haze next weekend. Oh cake looks alright too..

  25. Sounds like a wonderful debauched friend filled time to remember for years to come. Have a great time and I love this cake. I cant imagine not being able to find pumpkin. I think Australia is fuelled on pumpkin

  26. I love weddings.. and what a great cake to help celebrate with!!!

  27. I hope you had a fantastic weekend Dom. It seems ripe for fun. As for the cake I am so looking forward to all the pumpkin and apple recipes I can get a handle on!!

  28. Oh that looks so good. It's like a list of my favourite things in cake form. Happy birthday to you both in advance. I hope the best man speeches are all sorted.

  29. Hope you both have a wonderful time at the wedding! Any dessert with chestnuts and I'm sold - totally beautiful pud. And woahhh... Monday 24th is my birthday too! Hope you both have an amazing one! x

  30. What a beautiful delicious cake. Hope you enjoy the wedding and don't get drunk too much x

  31. A wedding that's so exciting! Sounds like its definitely going to be an amazing weekend. Best wishes to Richard and Peter and a Happy Happy Birthday to you and the Viking. This recipe is definitely going to be printed and going in my binder.

  32. Stunning cake! This is a real show stopper. Might have to make it VERY soon! Have a lovely weekend and happy birthday to The Viking!


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