Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Coffeecake = Love

In my heaven it’ll be pumpkin season all year.  This weekend I rang in pumpkin season with a bang: pumpkin beer on Friday and TWO pumpkin dishes yesterday.   I woke up craving coffeecake and realized that I had a ton of cake flour leftover from Dennis’ birthday cake, so it made perfect sense to get baking ASAP.  I was also excited to use the oven with our brand-new knobs that Andy so skillfully grabbed off of a stove that was being removed from another apartment.  Look at this beauty:

I wish you knew what the old knob looked like.  Thanks, Andy!

I had found a recipe for coffeecake on Smitten Kitchen and it looked fabulous, but it was meant to be a rhubarb coffeecake and I had no rhubarb and wasn’t in the mood for a fruity cake.  SK’s recipe did have a fantastic crumb topping that included cinnamon and ginger – both of which naturally go well with pumpkin.   I had almost no choice but to make this a pumpkin coffeecake. 
True to my pumpkin-loving ways, I have an entirely pumpkin cookbook (A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas) that has a delicious looking walnut-cranberry pumpkin coffeecake recipe (I haven’t tried that one yet).   This recipe had no crumble, though, so I decided to go with a hybrid and take my favorite parts of each recipe and combine them.  The result was to die for – this cake is truly fabulous.
Pumpkin Coffeecake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Big Crumb Coffeecake & Lou Seibert Pappas’ Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Coffeecake

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted

1 3/4 cups cake flour

Combine and set aside.  If you're like us and have no real kitchen and no real living room, you can let your crumbs hang out with the herbs.  

I love our herb garden.

Although, now that I'm thinking about it, our kitchen/living room really is a living room...since there's not many other places in this apartment to do your living.  That's neither here nor there - now on with the coffeecake!

1 ¼ cups cake flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
6 tablespoons softened butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped and dry roasted walnuts

To make the batter:  
1) Roast the chopped nuts in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes until fragrant but not visibly browned.  Leave the oven on for baking the cake.

 I love our well-used cookie sheets.

2) Allow the nuts to cool on the cookie sheet while you combine all cake ingredients up through sugar and stir or sift to combine them.

3) In a separate bowl, do the same with the eggs through the pumpkin and whisk to make sure it's good and homogenized (SAT word).

I love our new couch with its weird cover.
I also love that the coffee table plays a large role in our cooking endeavors.
I also love my new computer - all the better for blogging.

4) Now stir the dry into the wet and mix only enough to combine everything - really try to restrain yourself.  I love to stir, so I can understand why that could be difficult.

5)  Fold the walnuts in gently so that they're evenly distributed throughout the batter.

6) Pour the batter into a buttered/floured 8"by8" or 9"x9" baking dish.  Use your hands to crumble the crumb topping evenly over the batter.  Make about 1/2 inch-or-so sized crumbs.

I've loved cooking in this pyrex dish since I was little.  
Thank goodness my mom had two so I could steal one.

7) Pop the crumb-topped beauty into the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top is nicely brown and a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

I don't love our tiny stove.  But we make do.

8) Let cool for a bit...but only long enough so that you wont hurt yourself when taking the first, most spectacular, bite :)

I LOVE this cake!

I highly suggest eating a piece of this when it’s still warm – ice cream wouldn’t be a bad addition, although it’s very moist on its own.  It was perfect for breakfast this morning alongside some vanilla yogurt (Sar’s suggestion) and coffee, obviously.
In case you’re wondering, the other pumpkin dish I made was pumpkin soup from Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way.  It was outrageously simple and delicious: onion, celery, garlic, veggie broth, and the leftover pumpkin.  As suggested in the book, I toasted some walnuts with a few dashes of salt and cayenne and enjoyed those and a dollop of sour cream with the soup.  What's not to love about a pumpkin-filled meal?
Happy fall!