The leaves are changing colors, the days are cool and sunny, and I’ve got a new resolution on my list:
“Always keep a cake in the fridge.”
I read that in passing a few years ago. It was in an interview with Madonna, and she mentioned how she always kept cake in her fridge for all the photographers, agents, etc. who visited her apartment, so they’d have something to snack on. When I read the interview, I’d just graduated college, had moved back home, and could only dream about my own apartment. This tidbit stuck because of simple idea that I’d like my home to be a place where friends could visit and leave well-fed.
That having been said, it’s actually my 2nd week of the cake resolution and my 3rd week of making cakes. Earlier in September, I’d made a very tall sour cream cheesecake for my roomie M’s birthday, based on an combination Alton Brown and Smitten Kitchen recipe, and then another orange-zested ricotta cheesecake based on one by the Joy of Baking. Both were very good, but almost disappeared before I could take photos. I did get one shot of the last slice of ricotta cheesecake before J. ate it:
As for my 3rd cake, that was inspired by a brief write-up about the new M. Wells Dinette at MoMA PS1. They mentioned their pumpkin tres leches dessert and the lights clicked on in my head. Brilliant! I LOVE A PUMPKIN BREAD in the fall and the dessert made it sound like a cold, sweet, pumpkin bread pudding. The minor difference with my cake and their cake is that I used kabocha pumpkin instead of a regular pumpkin. I like the roasted, nutty texture that it has.
Anyway, I found a very nice recipe online that I tried out and fiddled around with. Here it is, summarized with my edits below:
Wash, slice, and roast half of one kabocha for 20-30 minutes in a 400 degree oven, until you can pierce the flesh easily with a knife. Remove and let cool.
Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a big mixing bowl. To that bowl, add 4 eggs, 3/4 a cup of apple sauce, and about 1.5 cups of sugar. Mix. Note that the kabocha has plenty of its own sugar, as does the apple sauce AND the condensed milk you’ll pour on top of it, so reduce to 1 cup if you don’t like sweets.
Add 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 and a 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp allspice, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Mix!!
Pour the batter into a greased, 9” by 12” baking pan or equivalent, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set it on the countertop to cool.
Once cool, poke holes all over with a fork.
Then, in a clean bowl, combine a can of evaporated milk, a can of condensed milk, and one of those itty bitty cartons of heavy cream (I forget how many ounces), and about two cups of reduced fat milk. Whisk, and pour that lovely stuff right on the cake.
Let the whole pan rest in the fridge. Serve it whenever you want, because its one of those cakes that gets better and better with age. It’s up to you if you want to cover your cake slices in fresh, unsweetened whipped cream… but we all know thats a good idea.