Not to be fatalistic and all that but sometimes you wake up and just know it’s going to be an uphill battle all day. On the plus side, if you’re so damn confident that it will be you can try your darndest to moderate it. Hey, we’re not saying you can become Pollyanna, but it is possible avoid being a completely miserable/grumpy human being. Truly. And if all else turns to poop at least you know you tried. As you’re parents are apt to tell you time and time again, you always get brownie points for that. Hmmmm speaking of brownies…ever wondered why you crave sugar-saturated or fatty foods on those ‘let’s-hate-on-life’ days? Well, there’s science behind it. Sugar and fat stimulates the production of endorphins, i.e. the ‘feel good hormone’, making you feel, well, happy. That’s a good excuse as ever to bake a cake, right? I mean, science is pretty much commanding you to.
We all have our own particular methods of stress release. Some more unique than others. Manic cleaning (including vacuuming, yes vacuuming, the fireplace) and exercise fall at the top of my list. Even if you’re not a fitness inclined soul, sprinting until your legs turn to jelly and lungs are on fire does wonders for forgetting about everything else. Feel the burn. If your rotten day doesn’t revolve around study (though we’ve gotta admit that’s probably up there with the best of those irritants) then it can be a fantastic distraction. Just don’t let your dour mood seep into it – we don’t want you putting a hole through the computer screen. Noticed something in common with these ‘methods’? That’s right, they involve being productive. Not only do you feel as though you’ve achieved something, but you’re go-go-going so much that you don’t have time to think about anything else.
Let’s get back to baking that cake. What do you know, it’s also productive, and like cleaning you can see the progress being made. Unlike cleaning you get to eat it too. Bonus! Now depending on the source of you’re sour disposition, a time-consuming recipe may or may not be what the doctor ordered – it won’t help with the looming deadlines and ‘why-can’t-I-have-Hermione’s-time-turner?’ scenario. However, if you’re not suffering from such a situation, jump right in. You’ll be mashing pumpkin, beating the heck out of some butter…you get the idea. Stress-relief all round. While the cake is cooking, you’ve got further distractions in the form of whipping up a batch of vanilla icing and prepping your toppings – think chopped pecans and walnuts, craisins and shaved white chocolate. What’s that? You need to let the cake cool before decorating? No biggie…this is where you head out for that lung blasting, leg jellifying run. Can’t be having those niggly negative thoughts turning to ‘cake-consumption-associated-guilt’ can we?
Satisfyingly moist (thank you misters pumpkin and yoghurt), and spiced with ginger, cloves and honey, this cake is sure to perk your day up. Go on, eat a second slice if you have to. And most importantly, remember that tomorrow will be a different day.
Spiced Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Makes one cake.
1 cup steamed pumpkin, mashed (that’s about 300g raw pumpkin, peeled)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
½ cup Greek yoghurt (I used light)
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 scant cup brown sugar, loosely packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
To decorate (optional)
Chopped pecans and walnuts
Chopped white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and lightly flour a 12 cup capacity (24cm diameter) bundt pan.
Place the mashed pumpkin in a medium sized bowl and stir through the honey, ginger, mixed spice and cloves until well combined. If the pumpkin is still warm, allow to cool and then stir through the yoghurt.
Beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, along with about one tablespoon of flour, beating well after each addition. Stir in a third of the flour, followed by half of the pumpkin mixture. Repeat and finish with the final third of the flour.
Spoon the mixture into your prepared pan and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Set the pan on a wire rack and leave to cool for 20 minutes before carefully turning the cake out onto the wire rack to cool completely.
Once completely cool, drizzle over the icing and sprinkle with chopped walnuts/pecan/white chocolate/craisins if you wish.
Cake can be kept for up to 3 days in an airtight container and up to 2 months in the freezer.
Whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla and 1 tbsp of milk until smooth. Add more milk if necessary – you want an icing that is quite thick yet will still run off the spoon in a steady stream.
Source: Adapted from Woolworths ‘Taste’ Magazine.