Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Cake Slice Bakers - Challenge 1 - October 2010 - Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pound Cake.

This is my first challenge as a new member of The Cake Slice Bakers.

I believe they cook a recipe each month from a book for a year.  The book they have chosen for this year is  Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman.

I got myself a copy of this from Amazon and I'm really glad I did.  The main idea of the book seems to be for people who like to bake fairly simple cakes but have a cake on the go all the time.  What a lovely idea - just to keep a cake on the counter (in a beautiful glass cake stand with dome, of course, wee Christmas hint to my husband if he is reading) for anyone to help themselves to at any time.

The chapters divide the book into - snacking cakes, round cakes, loaf cakes, Bundt cakes, crumb cakes and angel food and chiffon cakes.  No, I have no idea what those last two are but I'm looking forward to finding out.  I think I will probably have to buy my first Bundt tin at some point too.

It is an American book so I have bought myself some cup measurements and thought I would try baking the American way.  I have already started scribbling notes inside the book to remind me where a conversion is needed.  Most importantly, I now know a stick of butter = 4oz = 113g.  Previous to this, I would have just dismissed any book which used US measurements so this opens a whole new world of baking to me.  I think that's the whole point of a baking challenge isn't it?  To broaden my horizons.  And, of course, I would never have ever used pumpkin in baking before either, so two "firsts" with my first challenge. 

So, the first recipe - Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Pound Cake is brilliantly seasonal.  The only problem was getting hold of any tinned pumpkin as it is not really available in the UK and all the online shops importing stuff from the US were out of stock due to a shortage.  I just kept pestering them, though, and finally managed to get myself a couple of tins.

The cake was really easy and quick to make and it came out well.  Easy to slice, looked good and tasted perfect for Autumn - a little bit earthy but sweet and with oozing dark chocolate.  Lovely and moist too.  It lasted less than a day.  We all ate a fair bit earlier in the day and then my in-laws unexpectedly came round so it was great having a freshly baked treat just sitting there to serve to them.  Once I get my lovely cake stand with the glass dome, this will definitely be one of the cakes I will have sitting at the ready inside it.

Recipe below.

Serves 8.
9" X 5" loaf tin.

Ingredients - 
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch nutmeg
1 stick (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1 cup miniature dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Method - 
1. Preheat the oven to 350F, 180C, GM 4.   Grease and flour a 9" X 5" loaf tin.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 mins.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the eggs, one at a time.  
5. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, 55mins to an hour.
7. Let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up to cool completely.
8. Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 week.

To see the results of the challenge by other Cake Slice Bakers, visit the the cake slice blogroll.
Can't wait for the next challenge. 


  1. Looks great .... worth the trouble of finding the tinned pumpkin (and the benefit of the extras you can order on line!!!!)

    Delighted to follow!

  2. Not surprised that it lasted less than a day. Looks really scrummy yummy.

  3. Looks great! I too enjoyed this yummy cake. After reading your post along with others residing outside the states I really do appreciate the fact that I can easily find pumpkin puree...even during this season where it is in higher demand.

  4. Don't you love how impressive you look when you have fresh baked good on hand?

  5. Looks lovely! We enjoyed the recipe too :) I highly recommend having a cake dome in your life - husband, take note!

  6. Oh your cake looks lovely! I am so glad you decided to buy the book and work on the conversions! I'm sure it's definitely a challenge but I hope it ends up being worth it! Great job on this cake!

  7. I want a dome cake cover now too. A lot of my cookbooks came with me from Australia to Hawaii so I have two measuring sets in my cupboard too. Your cooks looks delicious.

  8. Your cake looks gorgeous and I agree that its fun trying to calculate the american measurments and bake some different cakes. You did well to get your hands on some pumpkin puree

  9. Well done.. I think I need to drop a few hints about a dome cake cover too!!!!

  10. Your cake looks great. Can't wait to bake from our new book, especially the chiffon ones.

  11. Your loaf looks perfect and I'm glad you got your hands of a couple cans of pumpkin! Savor it- ha ha!

    Glad to be baking along with you.

  12. Yummy! gonna look for 2 loaf pans soon!

    BTW, ate the last piece of mine last night!

  13. Glad you were able to score some pumpkin and impressed that you purchased the measuring cups to go American. Your cake looks so good with the melty chocolate and nuts!

  14. I'm so jealous that you were able to find canned pumpkin online. Why didn't I think of that? :)

    I was born and raised in the States and was very used to the measurments. Then I moved to Mexico and learned how to convert almost everything to grams and kilos. After 10 years, I'm an expert! :)

    Your cake looks wonderful! Ours disappeared quickly as well! ;)

  15. Thanks for all the lovely comments everyone. I'm so glad I have found a baking group - it makes playing around in the kitchen so much more sociable and even more enjoyable!