Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en Moon

After spending last weekend at one of my favorite Hallowe'en activities, Hallowe'en Nights at the Henry Ford, I think we need to go back to how Hallowe'en used to be spelled.   After all, Hallowe'en is short for "All Hallows Even", because tonight is the night before All Saints Day.  Every year at Hallowe'en Nights, they give out a vintage postcard from their vast collection of historic art, and this one is one of my favorites.   It is a postcard from 1908.   

If you scroll way down on this blog, you will see the current moon phase gadget.  I know that no one ever scrolls down that far to see it, so I am hoping you do right now and check it out.  (or, you could just click the link).  Tonight, I note that we have a waxing gibbous, 94% of full, which means we are almost to the full moon we will have on Monday.   Plus, the forecast calls for high winds all day today, dying down around 4 pm.  Sure sounds like we will have clear skies for our almost full moon on Hallowe'en night tonight.

I had a half can of pumpkin left over from Alex's fabulous pumpkin cornmeal pancakes, so I looked around for a good recipe.   I turned to one of my favorite vintage cookbooks, Farm Journal's Best Ever Recipes and found one for pumpkin cake with harvest moon frosting.   The farm ladies of yore had this to say about the recipe...."I like to freeze some ahead for the football season.  Our guests look forward to a big slice of this cake with hot cider after the game" (Kansas) ...."No one can guess there's pumpkin in this cake - it has a unique flavor" (Missouri)...."I like to make this nutritious cake for my youngsters as it uses eggs and pumpkin" (Wisconsin).    Why not give it a shot?  The recipe had some issues for me, however....

I had to make some changes because harvest moon frosting is essentially a traditional seven minute frosting made with brown sugar.    Every recipe I could find required using a handheld mixer during the double boiling stage, and I don't have one.  So I adapted the recipe for use with a stick blender and my kitchen aid.   It worked out great.   A seven minute frosting is a lot like making home made marshmallows, and the result is a frosting that's a lot like marshmallow fluff.   Very glossy and pretty - and this one is a lovely tawny brown color because of the brown sugar.   The original recipe for the cake called for maple flavoring, which I don't have, so I replaced it with maple syrup and some cinnamon.   It also called for walnuts - I substituted some macadamia nuts because that's what I had on hand.   It was supposed to be a 3 layer cake, I made it into a 13x9 snack cake.  It came out great!

Pumpkin Cake

1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. firnly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
3 c. all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp.  baking soda
1/2 c. milk
1 c. chopped nuts
1 tblsp.  maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream together shortening and sugars in mixing bowl until light and fluffy.   Add eggs and pumpkin and beat well.   In another bowl, mix flour, baking poweder and baking soda and add alternatively with the milk to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addtion.   Stir in bnuts, maple syrup and cinnaomon and bake in a greased 13X9 pan for 35 minutes at 350F or until center is done.  When cool, frost with Harvest Moon Frosting.

Harvest Moon Frosting

3 egg whites
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
6 tblsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine egg whites, brown sugar and water in the bowl of your stand mixer, and put that on top of a pot of boiling water.  Beat well with a stick blender for 7 minutes or until soft peaks form.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat with the whisk attachment of the stand mixer until thick enough to spread.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Oooh, I've never had 7 minute frosting made with brown sugar! It sounds delicious.

I'm *trying* to get caught up and noticed your question about the autumn olive berries. Here is my post on them from last year. They aren't as bountiful this year and so I'm just making a double batch of jam for gifts and a batch made lower sugar as a cranberry jelly sub.