Of course us Yankees are partial to warm smells. What I mean by that is the smell of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger being gently baked in the oven is precisely why we are known for comfort food. But for the most part, I am particularly partial to good clean smells and tastes. This cake, below, has a ‘crisp’ flavor of pumpkin and the tang of orange zest that isn’t muddled by spices. I suppose you could rightly say that this is a summery winter dessert. However you want to describe it, I adore the pure flavors that are dominant here.
I had to add an old-time topping for this cake and I thought, “what better way to show off this cake than with an icing that isn’t made much anymore”. I suppose people don’t make Boiled Icing anymore because you can buy frosting and icing so inexpensively now. But when you compare the creamy, smooth while frosting the last generation made with anything you buy today, I think you will be taking a minute and boiling your own icing from now on.
Clean Pumpkin Applesauce Cake
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract*
1 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
Preheat oven at 350-degrees F. Spray or grease a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale yellow and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each. Stir in extract, applesauce and canned pumpkin. Add the zest and mix well. Blend in the dry ingredients, a cup at a time, until well mixed. Pour into prepared pan and cook for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched in center or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle. Cool cake completely before frosting and serving.
1 1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. water
3 egg whites
2 t. imitation vanilla or 1 t. vanilla extract
In a saucepan combine the sugar and water. Make sure that when you are cooking the sugar that you do not stir the sugar mixture. It will cause the sugar to crystallize and you don’t want that to happen. Boil the sugar until it reaches 245 degrees F, or the soft ball stage. Meanwhile, put the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat until the egg whites are soft peaks. Once the sugar reaches temperature, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. I mean slowly, this sugar mixture is 245 degrees F, you do not want it to splash. Beat the frosting on high speed for about 7 minutes (hence the name seven minute frosting) or until the sides of the bowl cool down. Add the vanilla and frost.
*If desired, substitute vanilla or almond extract for the orange extract.