Pumpkin Streusel Cake


The pumpkin is a humble little gourd-like veggie, often overlooked throughout the year except for one glorious day in October (Canada) or November (USA) when it basks in the warm glow of appreciation as the delicious pumpkin pie.  Notably, the other most common pumpkin reference is its role in the beloved children’s story, Cinderella.  When people think about the Cinderella fairytale, they always swoon over the transformation of the lowly peasant girl into the beautiful object of a prince’s affections.  But when I think about the Cinderella fairytale, I’m not so much impressed with her transformation as I am impressed with the pumpkin’s.  Think about it.  As there have never been any mention of a facial transformation – magical or surgical – in any of the versions of this tale, one must assume that she was already beautiful in the first place.  All the fairy godmother did was give her a nice dress and brush her hair a bit.  Nothing Tim Gunn can’t do.  But the pumpkin – now that’s a different story.  It went from an innocent little orange squash minding its own business when suddenly it becomes  a CARRIAGE.  Now tell me which transformation is more impressive.

The thing is, the pumpkin, much like many things in life, is subject to a strong perceptual bias.  When we read about Cinderella, we are told the tale as a series of events relating to her, and the narrative is shaped in such a way that we overlook the more amazing metamorphosis of a squash into a vehicle because we are too transfixed by an already pretty girl being dressed up.  It makes me wonder then, how many awesome things do we often overlook simply because we don’t care to look a little deeper?

Pumpkin Streusel Cake
Adapted from The Lonely Baker

Ingredients for streusel:
4.5 tbsp flour
5 tbsp white sugar
3/4 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp chopped pecans

1. Mix all the streusel ingredients together and set aside until you make your cake batter.

Ingredients for cake:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin pie mix
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375F and butter an 8 or 9″ springform pan (I like to use springforms for cakes because it’s easier to get out.  You can also adapt this recipe to make 18 muffins.)

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

3. Beat together eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.  Mix well until completely smooth.  This batter is thicker than your average batter.

5. Pour the batter into the buttered pan.  Sprinkle the streusel on top.

6. Bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

7. Take out of the oven, remove the sides and allow to cool before serving.

Overall Consensus: I think it’s a LITTLE too sweet for my taste, although most people found it fine.  If you’re like me (ie: have subtle, Asian tastebuds), I think 1.5 or even 1 cup of sugar is fine.

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