Our clocks went back last night, signalling that winter is getting ready for its icy onslaught. For now, though, autumn is holding back the chill. Fall is at its height in my little corner of London. Sure, our colours may be a little insipid compared to the glories of New England, but something special is definitely in the air. The farmers' market is bursting with colours: Purple cauliflower! Red and green apples! Orange pumpkins! The trees are at their best too, made even lovelier by the soft, pale quality of the autumn sun. I went for a wander around our neighbourhood with my camera yesterday evening and was delighted with the interplay of leaves and light:
Inspired by all this autumnal beauty, I thought it was the perfect weekend to tackle Dorie Greenspan’s All-in-one-holiday bundt cake. She devised this as a Thanksgiving recipe that incorporates everyone’s favourite fall flavours: pumpkin, nuts, apple, cinnamon, cranberry, nutmeg, ginger and maple syrup. These are some of my very favourite flavours, too, so to eat them all in one bite is a treat. The one ingredient I was dubious about was the chopped apple and indeed, to me it seemed like a thrown-in addition and not part of the 'fabric' of the cake. Next time I would leave it out – I think there’ll probably be a next time for this cake.
Since there’s no holiday here, however, I’ve renamed the recipe below (as well as making a few culinary tweaks). You don’t need Thanksgiving to enjoy this cake. All you need is leaves on the ground and a nip in the air.
Autumn Bundt Cake with Maple Drizzle Icing
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ginger
10 Tbsp (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp) butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Grease a bundt pan very well.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a handheld electric mixer, on
medium speed cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs
one at a time, beating for a minute and then scraping down the bowl each time. Beat in the vanilla. Turn down the speed to low and add the pumpkin – the mixture may look curdled, but don’t worry about it. Add the dry ingredients, mixing until they are just incorporated. Turn off the mixer and, by hand, stir in the nuts and cranberries. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth down the top with a spatula.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 60 to 70 minutes, until a knife inserted in the cake comes
out clean. Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan and cooling to room temperature.
To make the icing, start with 1/3 cup icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl and add the syrup, stirring them together and adding a bit more maple syrup until you have a thick icing that runs off the end of a spoon. Drizzle over the cake once it is completely cool.