Happy Endings

While many people might think that October and November are the only months in which pumpkins can play a starring role, one of my favorite times of the year to serve pumpkin-inspired dishes is during the holidays in December. This month's recipe is a simple pumpkin cake that's served with an even simpler yogurt sauce. It's the perfect ending to those famous holiday meals.

I recommend using a bundt pan for this cake because it bakes evenly and comes out beautifully. Plate it on a festive cake stand and you can use it as part of your holiday centerpiece -- that is, until dessert is served and your guests discover the real advantage of an edible centerpiece. After enjoying this rich dessert, I'm sure no one will notice that your table's a little more naked!

If you know that you will be having guests that are allergic to nuts, you can omit the walnuts. However, coarsely chopped walnuts will add a special crunch that should be included if at all possible. That said, I'd like to wish you all a special holiday season -- however you celebrate it.

Pumpkin Cake

For the cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. olive oil
  • 1 can (or one pound) pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. walnut pieces (optional)
For the yogurt sauce:
  • 8 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 10-inch bundt pan or tube pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs with a fork until well blended. Mix in the sugar. Add the oil in a steady stream, mixing constantly, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Mix in the pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and salt. Add the baking soda and baking powder in pinches, breaking up any lumps with your fingers. Stir the mixture thoroughly. Stir in the whole wheat flour just until blended. Stir in the walnuts, if desired. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully invert the pan onto a serving plate and allow to cool completely before serving.

To make the yogurt sauce, stir the yogurt and cinnamon together. Serve each slice of cake with a generous spoonful of the sauce.

  • Yields: 10-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour