Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake

by Joyce Goldstein, author of The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home

Happy Thanksgiving! Looking for a last minute dessert recipe? Try this pumpkin cake recipe from Joyce Goldstein.

New Mediterranean Jewish Table Joyce Goldstein

Pumpkin Cake from the Veneto (Torta di Zucca Barucca)

Dense and creamy at the same time, this cake comes from the town of Treviso in the Veneto. The use of pumpkin and citron indicates a Sephardic origin.

Serves 8

1 sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, about 2 pounds

¾ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

½ cup ground almonds

½ cup candied citron, minced

⅓ cup raisins, plumped in 3 tablespoons plum grappa or wine

Grated zest of 2 large lemons

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

3 eggs, separated

Halve the pumpkin, scoop out and discard the seeds and fibers, and peel the halves. Cut the flesh into ½-inch dice. You should have about 4 cups.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add the pumpkin, cover, and cook until it is falling-apart tender and lump-free, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.

Remove the sauté pan from the heat and empty its contents into a bowl. Mash the pumpkin with a potato masher until smooth. Whisk the sugar, almonds, citron, raisins and any remaining grappa, and the lemon zest into the pumpkin.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix well, then beat in the egg yolks until thoroughly combined. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture just until no white streaks remain.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Invert the cooled cake onto the rack, lift off the pan, and peel off the parchment. Turn the cake upright onto a serving platter to serve.


Joyce Goldstein image New Mediterranean Jewish TableJoyce Goldstein was chef and owner of the groundbreaking Mediterranean restaurant Square One in San Francisco. Prior to opening Square One, she was chef at the Chez Panisse Café and visiting executive chef at the Wine Spectator Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa. Today she is a cooking teacher, consultant to the restaurant and food industries, and prolific cookbook author. Her most recent book is Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years that Changed Our Culinary Consciousness.

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