Fall is not welcomed quite as enthusiastically here in the UK as it is in North America. Although dark, wet, rainy fall days are more common here than bright, cool and crisp ones, I am convinced this lack of enthusiasm has less to do with the weather and more to do with a distinct lack of a certain important ingredient. For me, pumpkin is as indispensable to fall as gorgeous coloured leaves are – although we have distinctly less – and less colourful versions – of those here as well.
From a culinary standpoint, pumpkin has caught on in savoury dishes here but there is still a marked hesitation amongst native Brits to embrace pumpkin pies and cakes. Fortunately this is beginning to change thanks to cooks like Nigella Lawson, magazines such as BBC Good Food and the influence of ex-pats and dual citizens like myself. I personally am convinced that if Brits could just discover the joys of pumpkin they might enjoy the season more. I’m risking being roasted by the language police, but I also yearn for the embrace of the term ‘fall’. Autumn sounds so formal and ‘autumnal’ is downright funereal.
If one were attempting to embrace the joys of pumpkin and indeed of fall – or autumn if you insist – this delicious Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake would be a wonderful place to start.
The recipe is from the inimitable Martha Stewart. It does make a very big cake so do check your bundt pan first. I was convinced mine was the 14 cup pan called for in the recipe but the rounded top on the cake as it came out of the oven convinced me otherwise. If you don’t have a 14 cup bundt pan, you could perhaps make some muffins with the extra batter. Having said that, I had to trim the cake down to make the bottom flat for glazing and it was no hardship nibbling on the trimmings!
Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake has a pronounced ginger hit which everyone loved so although the spices Martha calls for sound extremely abundant, I urge you to follow the recipe to the letter. It is the most versatile of cakes. It’s lovely with a side of ice cream or a bit of whipped cream on top, and goes incredibly well with seasonal blackberries. We had it for dessert and sometimes even breakfast over several days and it kept really well at room temperature. Leftovers make an amazing bread pudding or you can chop them up and use them in individual trifles drizzled with a bit of sherry, port or rum and layered with a bit of custard, fruit and cream.
Like so many spicy cakes, Spicy Pumpkin Bundt Cake is definitely rich and needs only the simplest of glazes. I mixed 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar with a tablespoon or so of water and a drop of vanilla, stirring until I got a lovely smooth consistency for drizzling. Be sure to wait until the cake is completely cooled before you glaze it.
I have changed nothing about Martha’s recipe, so cannot in good conscience share the recipe in print here. Please click here to go to Martha’s recipe.