Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

PumpkinCake8I absolutely love marble cake. Maybe it’s a remnant of my childhood, maybe I’m just intrigued by a cake that has two colours because I’m easily amused. Either way, on my noble quest for more pumpkin recipes I decided to tweak my Grandmother’s marble cake recipe to be a dash more autumnal.

I also decided to use pumpkin guts here – an often overlooked and thrown-away part of the pumpkin that is actually just as edible as the rest, and I don’t like to waste food.
I bake my marble cake in a traditional bundt cake tin but any other cake tin with a volume of about two litres. But off to the recipe!

PumpkinCake1You’ll need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 120g soft butter
  • a dash of salt
  • 175g sugar
  • 300g flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 100g pumpkin guts sans seeds or pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 20g dark chocolate, grated
  • 150g yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp or 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
  • 1 dash black pepper, cloves and ginger each, all ground

PumpkinCake2Cream the soft butter with sugar, salt and vanilla sugar until it is evenly mixed, then beat the eggs in. Mix flour and baking powder and sieve it onto the batter, add yoghurt and mix until smooth. Take about three scoops of batter into a different bowl.

PumpkinCake3Chop up the pumpkin guts so the strings won’t just cluster in one place and mix them with the bigger part of the batter. Add the spices, stir and fill into the tin.

Mix the set-aside batter with cocoa, chocolate and milk and add it on top of the spiced part. Marble and mix the batters with a fork.

Bake at 175°C for an hour – you might want to do a knife test after 45 minutes depending on your tin.

Let cool and dust with powdered sugar if desired (if not you might as well eat it while it’s hot, it’s delicious with the rest of that yoghurt).

PumpkinCake5My Grandmother uses crème fraîche instead of yoghurt but I found out that this works just as well and might leave the cake a bit lighter. But it’s still an option, just replace it 1:1.

PumpkinCake4If you don’t happen to have pumpkin guts around (like me when I baked this cake a second time two days after the first) pureed pumpkin does the job just as well. Chop it up into cubes, add some water – half of it should be covered – and let it boil for a few minutes. I just let it simmer while I prepare the rest of the cake which works quite well, but you might still have an eye on it, just in case. When it’s cooked just mash it up or use a blender and you’re all set.

PumpkinCake7I made another of those recipe cards for this cake! I really like them, they are endearingly old-fashioned in a non-threatening way. Feel free to print or pin it (there might be more at some point)!

rezeptkarte_kuchenLet me know if you try this recipe (I’m sure my Grandma would love to hear that people liked what’s essentially her recipe but pumpkin-spiced) and have a wonderful weekend!

PumpkinCake6

(Life) Style Tips in October

October Life Style Tips

Apple season has finally fully arrived, and if you’re lucky enough to know an orchard nearby, go apple picking! Dry the peels for tea, and use them for divination, too, by peeling the apple in one long strip and throwing the skin over your shoulder – the letter it forms is the first letter to your answer.

Woman is at once apple and serpent.
– Heinrich Heine

Add a pinch of Folk Horror to your outfits by wearing chunky pentacles, old-fashioned black cat motives and ominous black hats. I personally like small bits of bone in my jewellery and silver hoop earrings. Hang a shawl next time you burn incense to take the mysterious scent with you.

Celebrate the Harvest with friends. Get together for a meal or two – it doesn’t necessarily have to be dinner, a brunch with a pumpkin pie, apple butter and self-made jam on pancakes is just as fine – and work in as much seasonal produce as you possibly can. Say your thanks to the deity of your choice or just each other and don’t forget about the immaterial harvest of the year, all that you have learned and achieved so far.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Wear chunky cardigans, thrifted or self-made. Get a plain one and alter it to suit your aesthetic needs for the season – needle-felt swirling pumpkin vines or cross-stitch folk patterns onto it or add leather elbow patches. If you can’t find the right cardigan at the second-hand store, raid it (or the closets around you) for oversized sweaters to cut open, hem with ribbon and stitch big buttons onto.

Make potpourri with the roses you dried in July, or with cloves, apple peel (see above) and cinnamon sticks. Or you could make your whole closet smell like Autumn by sewing little sachets to fill with your potpourris and tossing them in your drawers.

“But when […] strong Orion begin to set [i.e. at the end of October], then remember to plough in season. But if desire for uncomfortable sea-faring seize you; when the Pleiades plunge into the misty sea [i.e. again towards the end of October] to escape Orion’s rude strength, then truly gales of all kinds rage.”
– Hesiod, Works and Days

Go watch the Orionids! The meteor shower peaks on the 21st, but they are active almost all month long. Combine with the harvest feast above and have a star theme for your food (pretty pie crusts spring to mind), go to a secluded spot with little light pollution around and lay down on thick blankets to watch the shooting stars with your loved ones.

Lamb’s Lettuce & Pumpkin Salad

It’s Autumn at last, and Autumn means pumpkin time! So when my lovely Verdin suggested posting a pumpkin recipe each week of October I happily obliged, and here we are. It’s a nice warm salad that actually works as a main course when done with the amounts listed below, or as an entrée or side salad if you just make less.

Kürbis1Feeds 2:

  • ½ medium Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 1 apple, more sour than sweet (I’d recommend Gravensteiner or Finkenwerder Herbstprinz)
  • 2 hands of lamb’s lettuce
  • 1 hand of Welsh onion greens
  • 1 hand of rocket
  • sunflower seeds
  • optional: 1 block of feta
  • sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • dash of nutmeg, paprika, ginger each
  • small shallot
  • small clove of garlic

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Dice the pumpkin, add some sunflower oil and sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg, salt and cinnamon each. Bake for 30 minutes.

Kürbis3Wash the lamb’s lettuce – it’s notoriously hard to clean, and the easiest way is chopping off the part where the leaves grow apart and then just dump everything into a bowl of water to get the soil off – and rocket thoroughly and set aside. Chop the onion greens and, if necessary, the salads, and finely dice the apple.

Kürbis4In a small bowl, mix 50-70 ml (depends on your taste, and you can always add more) sunflower oil and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, paprika, ginger and honey. I find it easiest to mix in the honey last, but do whatever works for you.

Kürbis5Roast the sunflower seeds in a small frying pan without oil. When the seeds start turning brown add finely chopped garlic and shallots. Fry until the garlic starts turning light brown.

Kürbis2Do not, under no circumstances, combine the salad with still-warm pumpkin unless you want to eat right away. The salad will go limp and mushy, and you don’t want that. Add the pumpkin to the greens when you’re ready to eat, put on dressing and sprinkle with seeds, garlic and shallots. Add feta if you like.

Kürbis6I even made one of these neat little recipe cards for easier pinning (or printing, if you so desire). Let me know if you liked it in case you try this recipe, and keep looking out for more pumpkin recipes this month!

10 Things I ♥ in September

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Umbrella Academy | GWOTD | Vampire Weekend | Unavowed | The Stranglers
  1. Umbrella Academy might have been out for a while now but I never claimed to be up-to-date with things like this. I finally was in the mood to start and I adore it. It’s very much like Wes Anderson directed an X-Men series with (of course) a dash of My Chemical Romance so it’s not just a visual but also a narrative treat. They also have TMBG in the soundtrack, so of course I’m sold.
  2. Grandiloquent Word of the Day is represented on almost all social media platforms – the links are here on their website, I follow them through Instagram – and one of my favourite features of this internet thing: It gives you really big, sometimes really silly and often antiquated words to fill out your vocabulary.
  3. It’s wonderfully rainy lately.
  4. My latest app obsession is Level Up Life. A bit like Habitica  (which I stopped using at some point) it helps me do things that are actually good for me, like going outside, learning new things and getting my paperwork done. It lacks Habitica‘s cute avatars but has the distinct advantage of not giving me penalty if I can’t log in for a day and already provides the things to do, rather than having me make my own to-dos, and levelling up unlocks new tasks and challenges, as well. I’m Hedgefairy there if you happen to play and want another friend!
  5. How could I not excessively listen to Vampire Weekend before now? I know I’m always late when it comes to things that are accepted in broader popular culture but seriously, how could I miss out on this audible sunshine? The song that got me hooked was Campus, by the way, and I sometimes use it as my get-out-of-bed song because it is so very danceable.
  6. Unavowed. Oh boy, Unavowed. I played through it within three days which is really little time for me when it comes to computer games. If you like urban fantasy settings and detective novels this is the perfect, bittersweet game for you.
  7. Learning Dutch, and while the owl is a bit creepy and annoying (I had to unsubscribe from – I think – three separate mailing lists) Duolingo is a really helpful tool for someone like me who thinks gamification is the best way to learn, ever.
  8. I’ve had a veritable surge in productivity lately, I’m getting shit done, the flat is making more progress than ever and I think I can still say that I’ve got a healthy social life! I have no idea where this came from, but I see it as a blessing and I hope it’ll stay for a while.
  9. Surprisingly I’ve lately found scented candles that I like. I’ve never been big on those in any way, but somehow Sand & Fog don’t only have a great name but also scents that aren’t as obtrusive (not sponsored, by the way, of course not, I found them at a trip to TK Maxx). I’m currently using their Autumn Harvest candle which just smells subtly divine.
  10. And last but not least I seem to have entered into a weird little 80s phase, complete with music and the lovely re-imaginations of historical fashions the decade brought with it. Now please excuse me while I listen to Golden Brown on repeat.

(Life) Style Tips in September

September

Go foraging! Blackberries are still partially in season, as are elderberries (even though they aren’t exactly the yummiest thing to eat straight from the tree), and the first rose hips might be coming, as well. Nuts might still take a while, but a lot of edible greenery is still around. Find out what’s in season in the wild in your area and go out to gather the fruits of the land in your apron or pockets, or a pretty basket, if you want to. Just make sure not to trespass, disturb the local fauna or pick anything protected. Bonus points for taking a trash bag to collect litter you might encounter!

We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.
– Henry Rollins

Slowly transition to indoor exercise for the colder months. If you’ve been swimming a lot this might be the time to get a monthly pass for the indoor pool or even a gym subscription. If you’re not big on the idea of leaving the house for sports look into new yoga videos or just resort to dancing vigorously to your favourite obnoxious pop songs for ten minutes a day.

Get the pencil case you always wanted as a child or a teen that your parents wouldn’t let you have. Kitschy baby kittens? Edgy and covered in quotes from your favourite band? Classy leather to ripen with age? Fill it with the pens you wanted, too, gel, fancy fountain pens, glitter, crayons or markers. I could spend hours in front of stationery and office supply shelves, and I bet I’m not the only one.

Get into the whole “Back to School” vibe, even if you’ve been out of it for ages (like me). Plaid will never go out of style, as will burgundy, oxblood, navy and ivy green. Wear obscure enamel pins, Potter paraphernalia or glittery brooches as crests for imaginary boarding schools and channel your private-school-student-sona with polished leather shoes and a crisp white collar. Do yourself a favour and search for “Dark Academia” on the platform or engine of your choice for inspiration!

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
– John Keating in Dead Poets Society

Autumn cleaning. Much like Spring, it’s a good time to get rid of old things, to scrub everything clean and air out everything that needs it before rain and cold set in again. It’s all for the cosiest place during the cold months, and curling up in a clean burrow is so much nicer than in a messy one.