Sunday, November 1, 2009

Heavenly Cake - Pumpkin Cake with Burnt Orange Silk Meringue Buttercream


I thought I would put a Jewish spin on this as we do not celebrate Halloween.

My main point will be (if you do not care to read through the whole thing:) "Just like the lowly pumpkin we can grow even during dark and cold times and are forever resilient."

According to the Bible and classical commentaries the pumpkin is produce from the moon, as apposed to produce from the sun. This is related in the verse: וּמִמֶּגֶד תְּבוּאֹת שָׁמֶשׁ וּמִמֶּגֶד גֶּרֶשׁ יְרָחִים. – דברים לג ידDeuteronomy 33:14 - "From the produce that the sun brings out and from produce that the moon casts forth." The classical commentary Rashi states that the produce of the moon refers to melons and cucumbers and squash and the like (and pumpkins...)

This verse is in Moses' final blessing to the tribe of Joseph. That his portion in the land will be full of produce.

The lesson I take from this is that the jewish people in the time of exile are called "Joseph's flock." נֹהֵג כַּצֹּאן יוֹסֵף– תהלים פ ב– by King David in the Psalms. Joseph was the pinnacle of upholding morality in the face of being exiled. Even though he was sold by his brothers to a strange land he still resisted the sexual giles and immorality of the land he was in. The Jewish calendar is a lunar month (and solar year) calendar. The jewish people are compared to the moon that waxes and wanes. there are times when the nations oppress us and our light wanes but we will always shine again. Just like the lowly pumpkin, we can grow even during dark and cold times, from the moon instead of the sun, and are forever resilient. In the end of days the prophet Isaiah (30:26) promises that , וְהָיָה אוֹר הַלְּבָנָה כְּאוֹר הַחַמָּה -"the light of the moon will be as bright as the sun" and we are promised by the prophet Zecharya that , והיה לעת־ערב יהיה־אור׃. זכריה 14:7 - even in the evening (and perceived darkness of the exile etc.) there will be light.

Ok, now on to the cake. :)

"The Ez Man" was with me for moral Support.

Day 1: The Buttercream

Mis en Place:

The Creme Anglaise:

What it looked like when it was done. I think it was done?

Pour into mixture.

Strain the goopy milk guys.

The meringue.

Mistake number 1:

I never made meringue before and did not realize it would set rock hard within a minute. I only got half of it into the eggs whites before the sugar set.

Mistake number 2:

Each one of these Israeli butter sticks is 3.5 ounces. I knew it was less then the 4 ounce butter sticks but I did not bother to check by how much. I therefore just used three sticks instead of two and a little. The result was a less flavorful, more butter-tasting buttercream.

The food color, zest and orange concentrate.

What it looked like before the the food color.

Voila. Buttercream in two shades. I did not have orange food coloring and I have never even heard of the orange paste that Rose mentions. I mixed Yellow and Red food coloring at my lovely wife's suggestion (thank you Mimi.) Still I do not think I mixed it too well and was not so pleased with the lighter shade of orange that I got. Actually, after a couple days the color deepened and looked a little better. I was not too impressed with the taste but it may have been because of my mistakes. It was a lot of work! :)

Day 2: The Cake

Mis en Place:

Mix mix....

Checking to make sure there are no blood spots in the eggs. Blood is NOT Kosher!

Mix mix...

Ruthi, curious what I was doing, got out of bed. She was too adorable to just chase back to bed so I let her have a taste first. Yum!

The spiral arm of the cake galaxy...

Cut in half with the grand incision and shmear with the buttercream.

Cover all over and we are done. Hurray!

In conclusion, I would make this cake again, perhaps as individual breakfast muffins with out the walnuts and without the buttercream. Although I am curious how the buttercream would taste without making my mistakes.


  1. thanks for sharing! I didn't know those dark spots are blood spots in eggs and thus not Kosher! Interesting! :)

  2. I really enjoy reading your posts mendy! And your kids are very gorgeous... they look about the same age as mine... 3.5 year old girl and 6 month old boy!

  3. ב''ה

    Thanks Rebecca! Post a pic of your kids some time so we can see. :)

  4. What cute kids!

    I like to pour the syrup directly from the pot (I have a little one with a spout that is perfect), rather than pouring it into the glass measure. Gives it less time to cool and harden.

    I think this cake would be great as breakfast muffins without frosting!

  5. BH

    Bungalow Barbara, thank you.

    Yes, that sounds like a good idea to pour directly.

    Breakfast muffins all the way! :)

  6. Our rock candy looked identical! I wondered if my pan was permanately fossilized. Lovely little helpers you have there. And what a good idea turning these into muffins. I liked the pumpkin lesson.

  7. Love the kids - such happy little helpers!

    I always pour my sugar syrup directly from the pan to the meringue... it cools way too fast otherwise.

    Did you use unsalted butter?


  8. ב''ה

    ButterYum, I think I will pour the sugar syrup directly next time.

    I did use unsalted butter, just a bit too much of it...