Happy weekend-after-Thanksgiving from A Book of Cookrye!
1¼ c brown sugar
½ c shortening (or butter)
¾ c canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
4 tsp baking powder
2½ c flour
1 c raisins
1 c chopped nuts
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a bundt pan and dust it liberally with flour.
Cream sugar, shortening, seasonings, and baking powder. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in pumpkin. When all is well mixed, add the flour. Add raisins and nuts, blend thoroughly.
Pour and spread into the cake pan. This cake batter will not go runny and level itself off as it bakes. Therefore, be sure to push the cake batter into every crease and crevice of the pan. Also, be sure the batter is smooth and level on top before baking.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife or a long skewer inserted halfway between the center and the rim of the pan comes out clean.
adapted from Mrs. M. Peterson, 321 Cottman St, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Inquirer Recipe Exchange, October 11 1935, p. 16
You know how we said that those pumpkin cookies seemed like they wanted to be a cake instead? Well, we used Thanksgiving as an excuse to find out!
At first I was going to double the recipe. But as I was writing it out, I noticed that this would be a lot of cake batter. Doubling this recipe would require over a quart of flour, two cans of pumpkin... you get the idea. Obviously, we decided to instead use the recipe amounts that Mrs. M. Peterson sent to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The--- cake batter? cookie dough?--- filled up the pan rather nicely, It didn't threaten to rise over the top, nor did it look like we would end up with a bundt stump. And indeed, it baked up beautifully. You'd never guess this was supposed to be cookies.
A lot of us are familiar with cookie recipes that turn into rather nice bars if you smoosh all the dough into a pan instead of making batch after batch of dough drops, but I have never had cookie dough turn into such a perfect cake.
Incidentally, that white skin on top is the result of my overenthusiastic deployment of flour when coating the pan. The cake may have a layer of flour paste on top, but it did not stick to the pan. Things got a bit unnerving when I flipped the pan over and nothing fell out, but after a few hard thwaps the cake came out in one piece.
It seems like every house I go to has a bundt pan. I wondered if Mrs. M. Peterson ever made a bundt out of her pumpkin cookie recipe, but some quick jaunts through Wikipedia tell us that she would have to wait another 20 years before the bundt pan was invented (unless she was Jewish, in which case she probably had a kugelhopf pan around the house).
In closing, Mrs. M. Peterson's recipe makes good pumpkin cookies, but an even better pumpkin cake. Have a look at the cross-section: you'd think this recipe is supposed to be a pound cake. Note also how much of the cake is already gone.