A few autumns ago I was trying to decide what pumpkin recipe to make. I did not feel like Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Plop Pudding or Pumpkin Bread. I wanted something fun and different. That is how Pumpkinettes started.
I spotted miniature pumpkins in the grocery store and thought perhaps I could bake a pumpkin cake in them. I am not known for my pumpkin carving skills. Truth be told, there were years when I resorted to pulling out markers and drawing on pumpkins…on October 31st!
I was a tad nervous anticipating how difficult it would be to cut these miniature pumpkins. Turns out that it is, actually, relatively easy to do. The trick is to use a small paring knife and go slowly in and out around the top so that the entire top will come off.
Keep in mind that the seeds and stringy stuff are holding the top in place, too; so, lifting the top off seems challenging at first. Again, patience is a virtue; it really does come off. Scraping out the seeds is a breeze and then the pumpkinette is ready to be filled. The great news is that you can prepare the mini pumpkins a couple of days ahead of time and then fix the cake and streusel at the last minute.
I experimented with the amount of pumpkin cake transferred to the mini pumpkins and learned, firsthand, that filling it above the rim results in a massive overflow of batter in the oven. Once this amount was determined, I knew that the streusel topping would be a wonderful contrast to the cake.
It wasn’t until this year that I realized how delicious the pumpkin tastes. When Pumpkinettes are warm, the cake and streusel sweeten the pumpkin beautifully. When cold, this melding of flavors does not occur.
Whether you enjoy them during Halloween or Thanksgiving, Pumpkinettes are sure to get plenty of Ahhh’s and Ohhh’s from your guests. It is your choice whether or not you decide to let anybody know just how easy they are to make.
AN ADDITIONAL NOTE….
Today, we all have the added pleasure of having my friend, Tom Brodigan, serve as my photographer for the featured image. You will have the opportunity over the next few weeks to view his beautiful and artistic work. Today´s feature of Pumpkinettes is but one example of his creativity. Please click over to Tom’s personal website, brodiganphotography.com, to see more of his wonderful work.
|Pumpkinettes|| || |
- 9-12 miniature pumpkins
- Streusel topping:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- Pumpkin cake:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the miniature pumpkins:
- Cut off the top of the pumpkin similarly to how you cut off a larger pumpkin’s top. Remove and discard the top unless you wish to use it for the final display, something I choose not to do. Scoop out the seeds and excess string and set aside on 2 parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- For the streusel:
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix this together with your fingers or a fork until it is combined. Set aside.
- For the cake:
- ln a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves. Set aside.
- Cream the butter with both sugars for 3 minutes on medium high speed, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg and mix until combined.
- Add ½ of the dry ingredients followed by the cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients.
- Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla. Mix only until smooth.
- Carefully spoon the cake into the carved pumpkins. Do not fill higher than the inside rim of the pumpkin. Top the Pumpkinettes with 1 tablespoon of streusel topping.
- Place the Pumpkinettes on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 40 minutes. Place the tray on a cooling rack and cool.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- The pumpkin cake recipe makes between 9-12 Pumpkinettes (depending on the size of the miniature pumpkins). The recipe may be doubled without a problem.
- The pumpkins may be carved a day or two ahead of time.
- Should some of the cake flow out over the sides of the pumpkin while in the oven, do not worry about it. Just peel the tasty treats off the side of the pumpkin and enjoy the nosh!
- Pumkinettes are best served hot or warm. The pumpkin inside is soft and delicious when eaten with bites of the cake and streusel.
- In the video I said that I was scooping 'baked' batter into the miniature pumpkins. To clarify, the batter is NOT baked before it gets scooped into the pumpkins.