It's damp & misty here in North Lincolnshire. The kind of weather that is more suited to getting comfortable on the sofa with some daft TV & a cuppa rather than doing anything useful with yourself. This pumpkin cake requires a little bit of faffing around with an egg whisk, but is worth it for a dense, moist cake with sweet burst of flavour from the dried fruits. It's also made with ground almonds rather than fat, so must surely count as one of your 5-a-day. You can use any kind of pumpkin you like in this, from lovingly nurtured heirloom varieties to orange behemoths dragged home from the supermarket. You can use raisins, chopped apricots or any dried fruit you fancy. In this recipe I used a mix of dried raisins, sultanas & cherries.
Fruity Pumpkin Loaf
200g finely grated pumpkin
200g demerara sugar
100g ground almonds
200g spelt flour (preferably wholemeal, but if that's a bit heavy for you, half spelt & plain flour will also work. It won't be quite as deliciously sweet & nutty flavoured)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
a grating of fresh nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 170C/350F/Gs. Grease a 1lb loaf tin. Divide the eggs & put the whites in a clean, grease free bowl for later. Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar until pale & creamy (it'll take a couple of minutes). Stir in the almonds, pumpkin & dried fruit. Add the flour & spices & stir. Remember the egg whites? Beat them until they form soft peaks. This won't take too long. If the house is empty, sing the daftest song you know to keep yourself going ('Tinker of Rye' by Christopher Lee). If the house is occupied, sing anyway, and threaten those who berate your singing with a long and cakeless existence. Using a metal spoon, stir a spoonful of the whisked egg white into the cake mix. This will loosen it up and make folding in the rest of the egg much easier. be gentle when adding the rest of the egg white, and pour into the loaf tin, getting everything nice & level.
Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer prodded in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so before turning out. serve with a cup of tea, or a smidge of jam and always say yes to a second slice.