I am becoming a slight bit obsessed with Christmas spices this month, adding them to anything and everything – hot chocolate, iced coffee, French toast…. There is something that is so endearing about the warmth of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves put together, signalling the arrival of my favourite holiday.
Typically in these spiced cakes, it is recommended to use spice pre-mixes such as pumpkin pie spice and allspice. However living in the tropical zone, we aren’t privy to these blends easily – and frankly, I am very picky about them. Some mixes include white pepper, some ground ginger, and some star anise. I prefer to directly add in whatever it is that I like and leave it at that. India is after all, the land of many spices.
My cinnamon is from south India – the best kind, along with their mace and nutmeg. Cloves are essential to most Indian cooking, and it takes just a few minutes to pound all these together in your mortar and pestle. The heady fragrance in itself should be motivational enough.
Don’t let the pumpkin puree deter you from making this cake – its simply boiled and mashed pumpkin and a great way to get the kids to start liking this versatile vegetable.
To make this cake peacefully, some planning is essential – puree the pumpkins, grate the carrots, chop the pecans and mix the spices together the night before, so that when you bake in the morning, you can get down to simply mixing them all together. This will cut down your preparation time considerably.
Successful baking is all about good planning – this way you can enjoy the process while sipping coffee and listening to music.