Vegetables in cakes are such a good idea, carrot, beetroot, parsnip, pumpkin. They're a great way to use excess produce and increase the nutrient density of food. There's also the subversive pleasure of seeing your children eat a vegetable they would not usually eat when it's presented on their dinner plate, in this case pumpkin.
We have a decent pumpkin harvest this autumn, despite the continuing drought. Our pumpkins are self-seeded, making their way to the vegetable patch, via the kitchen scraps for the chickens. The butternut pumpkin seeds were a gift from friend Peter Wheeler, who passed away last year. His pumpkins remind us of him, particularly his generosity, love of gardening, and cooking.
Pumpkins are also ridiculously inexpensive. Driving in the country, roadside stalls selling pumpkins are common in late autumn. You can pick up a whole pumpkin for a few dollars.
This Pumpkin Fruitcake recipe is from Country Style's Heirloom Recipes
(June 2016). It has been handed down from Leonie Egan, who was introduced to it in the 1960's, to her daughter Christine Higgins, and now thousands of Country Style readers.
Pumpkin Fruitcake is a regular in our house, particularly when the pumpkins are stacked and asking to be used. It's a good lunch box filler, and goes well with a cup of tea after dinner.
Pumpkin Fruitcake (serves 10-12)
Ingredients: 250g softened butter, 1 cup caster sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cup cooled mashed pumpkin, 500g mixed dried fruit, 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted, 1/4 cup milk.
Method: Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line with baking paper a 20cm cake tin. Using an electric mixer, beat softened butter and caster sugar until pale. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed pumpkin and dried fruit and stir to combine. Alternatively add flour and milk until combined. Pour into prepared tin and smooth batter. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until an inserted skewer is removed clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. This recipe doubles well if you want to make two cakes.
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