I noticed this recipe in Fine Cooking’s Sweet Cakes magazine because of the beautiful photograph of the cake – it looked delicious and pumpkiny – perfect for fall.  I was also curious about the mix of orange, pumpkin and cornmeal. So off I baked.  This cake is rich in color and texture and so very very moist.  I will say that it is not as pumpkiny as I hoped.  But agreed by all – especially the kids – that it was yummy.  I asked Greg’s friend Alex if he tasted the pumpkin and he replied “well, what does pumpkin taste like?”  Greg then followed with…”it doesn’t matter – it is good!”  Friends (kids) Lauren and Zach had equally positive things to say – but again, not about the pumpkin more like “oh, is it lemon?” and “oh, I like carrot cake!”  and more…”doesn’t matter, it’s good.”   Another taster commented how long the cake stayed moist and that it was perfect in the afternoon with her tea.  Regardless of the pumpkin business…it is good.  (Just wanted full disclosure.)  This recipe has a few different steps, but each fairly easy.  Enjoy this fall treat with surprising notes of citrus.  Serve with vanilla yogurt to add another dimension to this sweet.

orange/pumpkin cornmeal cake:
2 sticks or one cup of soft butter
1 cup sugar (which reader Anne pointed out that I forgot to include my in initial post as she was getting started.  thank you!)
1 tablespoon grated chopped orange zest
1 large egg
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fine-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup fresh orange juice from about 2 oranges
1/2 cup sugar

Butter a 9 inch bundt pan (click to show better butter detail – scroll down in baking tips) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Separate your eggs and keep both whites and yolks.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cornmeal.

With your paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.  Add the egg yolks (one at a time) and then the egg and beat well after each addition.  Scrape down the bowl, and beat again.  Beat in the pumpkin puree and vanilla.

In three additions, slowly add the reserved dry mix to the mixer – stirring on lowest speed (or gently by hand) until just incorporated.

Beat the 2 egg whites until soft peaks form.  I find this easier to do by hand with a whisk but you can certainly do with a hand mixer.  Or, you can transfer your pumpkin batter into another bowl, clean the mixing bowl well, and then beat your eggs with the whisk attachment.  (If you bake a lot, you may want to invest in a second bowl for your stand mixer.)

Then gently fold the egg whites into the pumpkin batter – until you can’t see any more streaks of whites, but be careful not to over due it here.

Pour the batter into the prepped pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes (mine took 43 minutes).  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack to cool.

While the cake is cooking, make the orange syrup.  Juice the oranges and place the fresh juice in a saucepan with the sugar.  Mix until sugar dissolves and there isn’t any white sugar on the bottom of the saucepan (it will burn if so).  Boil the mixture for about 2 minutes and then remove from heat.

When cake is warm, brush with the orange syrup.  You can repeat when cool if desired.  For service, dot the  syrup on the side of the cake (if plated) or serve on the side and accompany with vanilla yogurt.  I’m hungry now…

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