Sunday, 10 October 2010
This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations. I know I write from a terraced brick house on the edge of Chester . . . and I adore my adopted country and everything about it . . .
But when Thanksgiving rolls around I do get a bit homesick for family and friends back home. My eldest son said to me the other day that I had a knack for making all the holidays fun. Those words meant an awful lot to me!
When I was working at Brenchley Manor, I was never able to celebrate Thanksgiving really. I was usually working up at the Manor and come American Thanksgiving, especially, I would be working as well, cooking up a veritable feast. (That being their big holiday!)
This year I am quite happily cooking my own little place and cooking up my own Thanksgiving Dinner. We've got it all . . . turkey, stuffing, mash, swede, squash, carrots, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes . . . cranberry sauce and gravy!
I'm breaking a little bit from tradition though . . . there is no pie, not pumpkin or otherwise. I am not really that fond of pumpkin pie actually . . . never have been. Instead I have made this Spicy Pumpkin Tray Bake! (which is basically just a fancy schmancy name for a cake baked in a large flat cake tin)
A deliciously moist pumpkin cake, all spicy with warm flavours and topped with a smooth and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting.
mmm . . . mmm . . . good!
*Spicy Pumpkin Tray Bake*
Makes 12 servings
A moist spicy tray bake with lovely autumnal flavours. Mmmm . . . pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves . . . ginger. Topped with a tasty buttercream frosting.
350g of plain flour, sifted (2 1/2 cups)
332g of caster sugar (1 2/3 cups)
6 ounces of butter, softened (3/4 cup)
70ml of milk (approximately 1/3 cup)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 large free range eggs
1 (15-ounce) tin of pureed pumpkin
For the frosting:
560g of sifted icing sugar (4 cups)
4 ounces butter, softened (1/2 cup)
2 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 TBS milk
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark4. Butter a 15 by 10 inch tray bake pan, or jelly roll pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to ease removal.
Combine all the bar ingredients in a large bowl. Beat well with an electric whisk on medium speed, until well mixed and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing over the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until it tests done. A toothpick inserted in the centre should come otu clean and the top should spring back when lightly touched.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Combine the icing sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, gradually adding the milk and scraping the bowl often, until you get the right consistency for spreading. Spread over the cooled cake. Cut into bars to serve.