Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cutting the cake

When I came downstairs bearing Deb at Smitten Kitchen's carrot cake recipe as a base for the pumpkin cake we were about to make, my dad took one look at the measurements and shook his head. "Two cups of sugar for two cups of flour? Four large eggs and one-and-a-quarter cups of oil? This cake is going to be much too rich and much too sweet." He whipped out the recipe that he usually works from. "Look at that—mine is one cup of sugar for three cups of flour."

I knew right then I was headed for trouble. Rich and sugary is a thumbs-up in my book, and I was all too familiar with my dad's penchant for reducing and cutting the indulgent ingredients of a cake until it was hard as a brick and no longer sweet. Since I was baking this one to bring to a small gathering at MH's apartment, I was reluctant to alter the recipe I had copied down—I wanted the cake to taste good.

Still, my dad insisted. So we came to a compromise between the two recipes: our final batter contained a cup and a half of sugar for three cups of flour, and had three eggs instead of four. The resulting cake was sweet, light, and fabulously moist. My dad didn't find it too sugary, and I didn't mind the reduction in eggs, fat, and sugar at all. Score one for dad, score one for me.

When I brought it to MH's apartment that night, I just shook some powdered sugar all over the top before serving. Gussying up this cake with a cream-cheese frosting would be, of course, probably awesome, but I'm pretty sure my dad wouldn't approve.
Compromise Pumpkin Cake
by Soopling and Dad

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
3 large eggs
3 1/2 cups grated raw pumpkin
powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top

Butter and flour whichever pan you're going to use; we went with a large metal bread loaf pan.

Mix sugar, oil, and eggs in large bowl until well blended. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices) on top and stir them together first before blending them into the wet mixture (this is the "I don't feel like washing two bowls" method). Stir in grated pumpkin.

Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for forty minutes to an hour, or until a chopstick stuck in the middle comes out clean.


  1. That is totally adorable. I could probably imagine my dad being the same, although the last time we cooked together... I can't remember, but I was definitely not a confident enough cook that I would disagree with his assessments, lol. (Well, I was confident I could cook, but I wasn't sure enough in my own tastes to be able to say "No, I like it sweeter" if that makes sense!) :) I like this post a lot because of the imagery!

  2. I only knew from experience (untasty "healthy" cakes made by dad) that I didn't want this one to come out the same as in the past. But it was a good middle ground for sure!