By Chef Lourdes ReynosoCulinary Arts Chef-Instructor

Chicken and rice soup is one of those comfort foods that has no borders. This style of making soup is prevalent in Mexico, Latin America and my home country, the Philippines. Filipino food is deeply rooted in Spanish and Chinese cooking traditions, and my mother’s recipe of Arroz Caldo is a good example of the melding of the two cultures. Growing up, we had this popular soup mainly for “merienda”, a mid-afternoon light meal.

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Courtesy of Ernesto Andrade on Flickr.com

Arroz Caldo

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 serving size pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup short grain rice (like Arborio)
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 7 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 10 slices (size of a quarter) ginger
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

     For Garnish

  • 1 tsp. fried, chopped garlic per serving
  • slices of scallions (green part)

Instructions

  1. In a soup pot, heat oil and sweat the garlic and onions until tender.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and the 2 types of rice. Stir for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock/broth, ginger and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 35 minutes or until chicken is done.
  4. Season with fish sauce, pepper and sesame oil.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with fried garlic and sliced green scallions.

 

By James Briscione, Director of Culinary Development and Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor

For ICE’s recent hands-on cooking event with the New York Jets, I crafted a fun spin on classic chili. Slow-roasted pork carnitas and beer impart a deep, smoky flavor, while the simple addition of beans and broth rounds out the dish. The recipe was a hit at the Jet’s House ”50 Yard Lounge” Super Bowl pregame party with player Nick Folk, so it’s sure to be a winning addition for any gameday menu.

carnitas chili

Pork Carnitas Chili & Jalapeno Griddlecakes

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Pepper Sauce
  • 1 beer
  • 4 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
For garnish
  • fresh cilantro or scallions
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
Instructions
  1. Place the pork cubes in a bowl, add the brown sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, kosher salt and Tabasco.
  2. Toss well to evenly coat the meat.
  3. Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight
  4. The next day, preheat oven to 350˚F.
  5. Transfer the pork to a large, heavy sauce pot.
  6. Add the beer, 1 cup of the chicken stock, onion, garlic, and bay leaves.
  7. Bring the pot to a simmer and cover with a lid.
  8. Transfer to the oven and cook 2 hours.
  9. After two hours, remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pork cubes to another ovenproof dish, leaving any the liquid behind in the pot.
  10. Increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
  11. Place the dish with the pork cubes in the oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until the pork is browned.
  12. While the pork cubes are in the oven, place the pot with the liquid back on the stove. Add the remaining chicken stock (3 cups) and bring to a simmer. Skim any excess fat from the surface.
  13. When pork is browned, remove from the oven and drain and discard the excess fat. Allow the pork to cool, then shred it with a fork.
  14. Add the beans and shredded pork to pot of simmering liquid. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  15. Divide into bowls and serve with cornmeal pancakes.

Jalapeno and Cheddar Cornmeal Pancakes

Yield: Approximately 20 cakes

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 oz melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 14 fl oz milk
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Place the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk, jalapeno and cheese. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.
  2. Preheat a griddle or cast iron skillet. Lightly oil the surface and drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the heated surface and cook until bubbles form. Flip and brown on the second side.
  3. Once browned, remove from griddle. Serve with chili.

 

By Chef Sabrina Sexton

One of my favorite things to teach students is to make mozzarella from scratch. This milky, soft, stretched-curd cheese from Campania is best when super fresh, ideally eaten the same day its made.

Fortunately, it’s easier to make than most people think. You start by making the curd, which is the basis of the cheese, then warm and stretch it to develop mozzarella’s unique texture. Most restaurants buy prepared curd and simply do the stretching themselves, but if you don’t need a large amount, making the curd is easy, too.

 

cheese

Mozzarella Curd

*I get most of my cheese-making supplies from either http://www.thecheesemaker.com or http://www.leeners.com

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon whole milk (preferably not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 2 teaspoons citric acid dissolved in ¼ cup non-chlorinated water
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid rennet diluted in ¼ cup non-chlorinated water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Place the milk in a large saucepan or small stock pot. Heat the milk over low heat, stirring occasionally. When the temperature reaches 55º F, add the citric acid and mix thoroughly. Continue to heat the milk until the temperature reaches 87º to 89º F. Remove from the heat.
  2. Gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion. Allow the milk to stand until the curds form, 15 to 20 minutes. Cut the curds.
  3. Once the curds form, reheat the milk slowly to 108º F. Turn the heat off and let the curds stand for 20 minutes while the whey is dispelled. The whey should be clear and the curd should be slice-able.
  4. Scoop out the curds and gently press to release the excess whey.

Mozzarella Cheese

Yield: Makes about 1½ pounds

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon (16 cups) water
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 pounds (about 4 cups) mozzarella curd , cut into small pieces*

Instructions

  1. Prepare the water: Place the water and salt in a large saucepan. Heat the water until bubbles begin to appear on the surface, or an instant read thermometer registers 180º F. Turn off the heat.
  2. Heat the cheese curd: While the water is heating, place the cubes of cheese in a large bowl. When the water is ready, carefully pour the hot water over the cheese. Let the cheese cubes sit in the water for about 1 minute without stirring them. After 1 minute, gently stir them with a wooden spoon and look at the curd. If the cheese is heated through the curd will look smooth (like melted mozzarella) and is ready to be stretched. If the cheese curd is not completely heated through it will look grainy and still have some of the cubes. If so, it needs to sit in the hot water for another few minutes until soft.
  3. Stretch the curd: Working quickly, before the cheese cools down too much, stretch the curd with the wooden spoon until the cheese is smooth and elastic. Lift and stretch the curd to develop a stringy texture. Be careful not to overwork the curd: this will make you cheese heavy and too chewy. As the cheese cools it will begin to stiffen and become harder to stretch. The cheese is ready to be shaped before it cools completely.
  4. Shape the cheese: Divide the cheese into two or three pieces and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap, twisting the ends of the plastic wrap to help the cheese form a round shape. Place the cheese in an ice bath, if desired, to help hold its shape.
  5. Serve the cheese immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week

Sabrina is a lead instructor in the Culinary Arts Program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.
To learn more about cheesemaking, check out her recreational class on April 9th at ICE.

 

By Chef Jenny McCoy

While working for Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans, I become quite interested in ways to use bay leaves in sweets. Emeril has laurel trees in his backyard, so we were lucky to have fresh leaves picked by Chef himself, and used them in just about all of his savory dishes. I found the flavor of fresh bay leaves similar to mint when lightly steeped in cream—perfect for a panna cotta. In the winter, when blood oranges are at their peak, the two flavors are a wonderful complement and make for a elegant and colorful dessert.

Below is my recipe for Bay Leaf Panna Cotta with Fresh Blood Oranges. You can find this recipe and others like it in my recently published cookbook, Desserts For Every SeasonIf you are interested in learning more creative ways to incorporate blood oranges in desserts, I will be teaching a “Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange Desserts” class on January 24th, 2014. Hope to see you there!

Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Bay Leaf Panna Cotta with Fresh Blood Orange

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 3½ cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 blood oranges

Instructions

  1. Place 8 to 10 small glasses or ramekins on a baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, stir the sugar, salt, and gelatin together and set aside.
  3. Prepare a large bowl full of ice water and set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, cream, bay leaves, and vanilla to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
  5. Return to a boil. Remove from the heat and, whisking constantly, slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the hot cream. Stir until fully dissolved.
  6. Pour the mixture into a large heatproof bowl, set it over the prepared bowl of ice water, and stir the panna cotta base until it is cooled to room temperature.
  7. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a spouted measuring cup or pitcher, discard the bay leaves, and divide the panna cotta base evenly among the small glasses.
  8. Loosely cover the glasses with a sheet of plastic wrap and carefully transfer to the refrigerator to set overnight.
  9. Just before serving, peel and segment the blood oranges, taking care to remove all the pith, and reserve the juice. Garnish each panna cotta with a few slices of blood orange and a drizzle of the reserved juice.

By Chef Chad Pagano

Many of my favorite holiday memories include making cookies in various sizes, shapes and flavors. The aroma of fresh baked cookies around the holidays triggers memories of the amazing Christmas celebrations I had as a child. Having grown up in a Italian American household, there was never a shortage of anise shortbread cookies, florentines and of course, all manner of biscotti.

cookie cran pistachio

Picture courtesy of Foodista.com

I loved when my mother would start her holiday baking in preparation for the neighborhood cookie exchange. My German neighbors made the most amazingly buttery spritz cookies, as well as the best linzer cookies I have ever had. My Jewish friends made delicious oil-based sesame cookie rings and scrumptious Mandelbrot. Oh, and I can’t forget the boring old Smith family, who only made the most incredible chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies ever created.

Today, I love baking cookies with my own children and sharing these treats with my neighbors. If you would like to start your own holiday cookie tradition, join me this December 23rd at ICE for a make-and-take holiday cookie class. Bring your friends and family to what promises to be the most festive, collaborative cookie-making party of the season! (If you can’t join us, you can still get started with my shortbread recipe below.)

Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread

Makes about 48 shortbread cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl whisk the flour with the salt.
  2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth (about 1 – 2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Fold in the chopped pistachios and dried cranberries. (Make sure that the nuts and cranberries are evenly distributed throughout the dough.)
  3. Divide the dough in half. Place each half of dough on the center of a 14 inch length of parchment or wax paper. Smooth and shape the dough into an evenly shaped rectangle that is about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Then thoroughly wrap the shaped logs in the parchment or wax paper, twists the ends of the paper to seal the logs, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours, or up to three days. (The logs can also be frozen for about two months. If freezing, it is best to defrost the logs in the refrigerator overnight before slicing and baking.)
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with the rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Using a thin bladed knife, slice the logs into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick cookies. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

 

By Chef Jenny McCoy

Panettone is a traditional gift given during the Christmas holidays in Italy. Studded with candied orange and raisins, and soaked in a bit of rum, its flavors befit the season perfectly and is an indulgent treat to celebrate. As most breads do, it takes extra time to make panettone. I suggest you double the batch and save a loaf for yourself to make Christmas morning French toast.

panettone

Below is my recipe for panettone. You can find this recipe and others like it in my newly published cookbook, Desserts For Every Season

Panettone

Makes one 5-inch round loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon plus
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup dark spiced rum
  • 1½ cups raisins
  • Seeds of ½ vanilla bean
  • ¾ teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup candied orange peel, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, gently stir the yeast, milk, and honey with a spoon, and set aside for a few minutes.
  2. In a small pot, bring the rum and raisins to a simmer over low heat. Remove from the heat, stir to coat the raisins in the rum, and transfer to a small bowl. Let cool to room temperature and set aside.
  3. Fit the stand mixer with the hook attachment and add the vanilla, orange blossom water, eggs, egg yolk, flour, and salt to the bowl with the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough just comes together, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to mix the dough for about 4 minutes.
  5. Drain the excess rum from the raisins, reserving the rum, and add the raisins to the dough. Add the orange peel and continue to mix for about 3 minutes.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a very generously floured surface, coat the entire surface of the dough in flour, and shape into a large ball.
  7. Carefully place in a 5¼ by 3¾-inch paper baking cup, gently brush the top with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set on two stacked baking sheets. Place in a warm area of the kitchen to rise until doubled in size, 50 to 60 minutes.
  8. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
  9. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and bake until the dough has a deep golden color, cover the top loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, and continue to bake until the center of the loaf reaches 200°F, about 60 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.
  11. In a small bowl, whisk the reserved rum and the confectioners’ sugar together until smooth. Generously brush the glaze over the top of the loaf, continuing to glaze until all of it has soaked through.
  12. Let cool until just warm before serving.

 

By Chef Faith Drobbin

Once the Thanksgiving turkey has been polished off and the relatives have departed, all thoughts turn to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. What better way to decorate for the winter holidays than with a homemade gingerbread house? This year, in addition to family-friendly gingerbread house making, ICE will also offer adults-only gingerbread house classes.

If you can’t join us at ICE for the gingerbread house festivities, you can certainly make one at home. To make a gingerbread house from scratch, you will need to bake the gingerbread house pieces, make lots of royal icing to serve as your “glue” during construction, and gather your favorite candies for decoration. While you can use whichever candies you prefer, I have included a list of traditional gingerbread house decorations below, along with recipes for the gingerbread pieces and royal icing.

DSCN2254

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

Yields approximately 6 large (6”) gingerbread cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (4 oz) butter
  • ¾ cup unsulfured molasses
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter and then stir in molasses and sugar. Mix in spice mixture well, then the water and the egg.
  4. Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour mixed wet ingredients into the well and gradually stir the flour into the liquid. When all the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator over night or up to two weeks.
  5. When ready to make cookies, roll out a portion of the dough on a floured surface, 1/8” to ½” thick, depending upon whether you would like crisp or soft cookies. Cut shapes and place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 12-15minutes, depending on size of cookie. Cool before decorating.

 

Royal Icing

Note: You can buy a container of meringue powder at a cake decorating store. The container will have a recipe for making Royal Icing, but I will provide it below.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup Meringue Powder
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Instructions

  1. In a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the meringue powder and cold water until peaks form. Gradually add up to 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar until icing is of desired consistency.
  2. Keep bowl of icing covered with a damp cloth, to prevent it from drying out. You can re-beat icing and add more confectioner’s sugar if it becomes too loose.
  3. Store unused icing in refrigerator and re-beat before using again.

 

Traditional Decorations

  • Gummy bears
  • Mini m&m’s
  • Red hots
  • Jelly beans
  • Sno caps (non pareils)
  • Mini candy canes
  • Sprinkles: various colors: red, green, white, multi color, yellow

 

By Chef Andy Gold

 

If you’re tackling a turducken this year, you’ll need some stuffing to stand up to your birds. In the spirit of the dish’s origins, this stuffing features Cajun flavor.

 turkduckstuff

Turducken Stuffing

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cooked Cornbread or corn muffins- your favorite recipe
  • 2 large croissants- torn into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion- small dice
  • 2 stalks celery sliced thin
  • 1 red pepper- cored, seeded and diced small
  • 1 poblano pepper- cored, seeded and small diced (substitute green bell pepper)
  • 1 bunch scallions- washed and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons garlic- minced
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed (dry) sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Old bay Seasoning
  • 1 cup (6 oz) – Cooked Andouille sausage- cut in half lengthwise and sliced thin (substitute any favorite cooked sausage)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using 1 tablespoon butter, rub inside with a 12- by 12 -inch or oval pan.
  3. In a large skillet- heat 3 tablespoons butter until the foam subsides.
  4. Add the onions, celery, diced peppers, garlic. Cook on a low heat until all is translucent.
  5. Add the herbs, Old bay Seasoning and season with to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the sliced scallions. Cook 5 more minutes and cool.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the cornbread and the torn croissants. Add the cooled cooked vegetables, the sliced sausage, the chicken stock and the eggs. Mix well altogether. Let rest in the refrigerator 1-2 hours or overnight covered.
  8. Add the raw stuffing to the pan and spread out evenly.
  9. Cook in the preheated oven for about 50- 60 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

 

 

 

By Chef Victoria Burghi

 

Chances are, you’ll have some leftover baked sweet potatoes from your holiday dinner. The morning after, wake up, smell the coffee and use those leftovers to fry up some of these delicious sweet potato donuts. (The dipping sauce will give you the energy to go shopping for the holidays to come.)

spdonuts

Sweet Potato Donuts

Ingredients

  • 240 ml warm milk
  • 7 g dry yeast
  • 450 g bread flour
  • 100 g sugar
  • 7 g salt
  • 2 g cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 42 g butter (melted)
  • 130 g sweet potato puree
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Measure 130 g of baked sweet potatoes and mix with the melted butter. Use a whisk to make a smooth puree and then add the egg and the vanilla extract. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the warm milk and sprinkle the dry yeast over it. Whisk until completely dissolved.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together. Add most of the dry ingredient to the milk and yeast mixture (holding back 95gr)  and mix on low speed with the hook attachment until an elastic ball forms around the hook (5-8 min)
  4. Add the sweet potato mixture to the dough along with the rest of the flour and mix on second speed until the dough is smooth and homogenous, about 5 minutes.
  5. Keep the dough in the bowl of the mixer and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow to ferment until doubled (45 minutes) in a warm place
  6. Carefully place the dough over a non-stick mat and roll to ½” thick. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  7. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and cut the doughnuts using a 3 ½” round cutter dipped in flour. Cover them with a towel and allow them to proof for another 20 minutes before frying. You should be able to get 12 donuts. The scraps can be re-rolled once.
  8. Heat the vegetable oil to 350 F and fry no more than 3 donuts at a time.
  9. Drain over paper towels.

Eggnog sauce

  • 240 ml cream
  • 240 ml milk
  • 1 t grated nutmeg
  • ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 60 g yolks
  • 70 g sugar
  • ¼  c Bourbon
  • ¼ c dark Rum
  1. Place the milk, the cream, half of the sugar, the vanilla bean and the grated nutmeg in a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Steep for 30 minutes and then boil again.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the other half of the sugar.
  3. Temper the yolks with a 1/3 of the hot liquid mixture and return to the pot.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens slightly. Do not boil.
  5. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and add the bourbon and rum.
  6. Chill over an ice bath whisking until the mixture has cooled.
  7. Keep the sauce refrigerated until ready to use.

 

 

 

By Chef Cara Tannenbaum

 

It’s fall, which means pumpkin time. Within this deep orange shell lies fragrant flesh and crunchy seeds—a cheery reminder of shorter days and chilly nights. I love to cook and bake with pumpkins, but I have learned the hard way to leave those attractive orbs on the porch. Instead, I open a can of pumpkin purée when the urge to whip up a fall specialty overcomes me.

Photo Credit: Cascadian Farms

Photo Credit: Cascadian Farms

I know, it sounds like a shortcut, but fresh pumpkins need to be split, scooped, seeded, cooked and puréed before use. They are a lot of work (and our traditional carving pumpkins aren’t typically the best for cooking purposes). I’ve done it all, hoping to capture the purest flavor.  But all I have come up with is a lot of dirty dishes, seeds that still need shelling and a kitchen that is a mess. As for the resulting purée? It’s a little too wet, and a little too mild.

 

Organic pumpkin in the can simply tastes more like the pumpkin flavor I dream of, and it has the smooth, creamy texture that makes baking a pleasure. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, a hint of clove and a touch of ginger, and canned pumpkin is transformed into the fall flavor that we all anticipate seasonal pies, cakes and custards. Toss in the shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), to add a little crunch, and your pumpkin dessert is complete.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Here’s a recipe for the simplest spiced pumpkin cake. It is invariably moist, very easy to make, and just spicy enough. It can be served with a cream cheese frosting, vanilla ice cream or just how it is. The beautiful pumpkins can stay on the porch, while you enjoy this fragrant treat, savoring the flavor of autumn.

Pumpkin Seed Spice Cake

Makes about 24 2-inch cake squares
Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin (one small can)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped pumpkin seeds

Icing

  • 4 ounces (one small package) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and line with parchment.
  2. In a standing mixer, beat eggs, sugars, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy—about 3 minutes.
  3. Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves salt and baking soda, mixing well.
  4. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture in three stages, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  5. Fold in pumpkin seeds and spread batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife or tooth pick is inserted and it comes out clean.
  7. While cake is baking, prepare the icing.
  8. Beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
  9. Stir in the vanilla, and gradually add the sugar, beating smooth after each addition. Set aside until cake has cooled and can be frosted.
  10. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, and then unmold.
  11. Once cake is fully cooled, place on a cutting board or flat plate, trim edges straight and ice the top of the cake only. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

 

Look out for Chef Cara’s upcoming cookbook, In a Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds, co-authored by ICE Director of Education Andrea Tutunjian. (W.W. Norton; Spring 2014)