I’ll admit it. The pumpkin push is beginning to get to me. I like pumpkin, but…
There are sixty pumpkin items on the shelves at Trader Joe’s! You read that right. Sixty!
And Trader Joe’s is not alone in its bid to promote pumpkin mania. If you look hard enough, you can buy pumpkin everything in local stores–pumpkin coffee, pumpkin O’s, pumpkin salsa (yuck!), pumpkin vodka, pumpkin bologna.
No. Wait! Pumpkin bologna?!?
OK. You caught me. I made that last one up. It was a joke–a bit of whimsy. Pumpkin bologna was the most out-there ridiculous pumpkin product I could think of.
Or, was it?
As it so often does, curiosity sent me to the Internet to see if there was such an outrageous thing as pumpkin bologna. Are you ready for this? Oscar Mayer makes a pumpkin spice bologna. Do you doubt me? See it (pictured below) with your own two eyes. Who would have believed that? I’m trying not to think what it must taste like. In my world, pumpkin usually inhabits the bakery side of the aisle rather than the deli case next to jars of Bubbie’s glorious pickles.
Then…my inner skeptic (I call her Edna) got me to wondering. Is some cyber nutcase pulling my leg? Or, put in other words, is pumpkin spice bologna another depressing example of the vast “fake news” conspiracy that is bedeviling American media?
The answer is yes. Yes!
Pumpkin spice bologna is fake news according to CBS Washington, D.C. affiliate WUSA9. There is no such thing. Nope. Never existed.
Try as I may to wrap my mind around why anyone would go to the trouble to post fake pumpkin spice bologna news and photographs on the Internet, I come up empty. If it’s a joke, it is more Larry The Cable Guy than Steven Wright or George Carlin. There are no big laughs to be had from pumpkin spice bologna gags. Corny. Corny. Corny. (We’re keeping a food theme going here, people.)
There must be more to it than lame laughs. A conspiracy, maybe. (If you are paying any attention at all to our current political scene, whatever side you are on, there’s always a conspiracy–or, more correctly, a conspiracy theory.)
So, in that vein, I’ve decided that at some point the Russians must have been involved in conceptualizing pumpkin spice bologna and striking at an American vulnerability.
Here’s the way I see it.
There they sat, cyber actors Anatoly and Vlad (not their real names), munching on a Russian pizza (a khachanpuri) somewhere in the remote wilds of Russia. They were working away on a beta version of software intended to infiltrate and disrupt the 2016 American elections but the going was tedious and their minds ran to things gustatory. Suddenly, the proverbial lightbulb went on–at least for Anatoly. Before going big, why not test America’s gullibility by planting an outrageous story about pizza. See if it would work. Spice it up with a little porn and Americans might well pay rapt attention.
The pizza project got a big fat NYET from Vlad. No one would ever fall for a story about pizza parlors and porn and the American elections, he sniffed disdainfully. Appealing to America’s obsession with pumpkin spice was quite another matter, though. They might just be able to make that one work.
Thus was born pumpkin spice bologna and the rest was history. “Эти американцы его съест!” (Those Americans will eat it up!) And apparently we did since the story caught the attention of the CBS affiliate.
Lest you sit there disappointed, Kraft has come up with a contestant in the pumpkin bologna wars. True. It isn’t pumpkin spice bologna. But, it has potential.
Back to reality…
So, there I was at Trader Joe’s, weak pumpkin-susceptible soul that I am, surrounded by TJ’s big pumpkin push–not quite craving pumpkin spice bologna but open to other pumpkin enticements. As I wheeled my cart toward the check-out line, there it was–a towering orange end-of-aisle display of pumpkin puree. I bought three cans. But, what to make?
Cake (of course) came to mind and I settled upon this beautiful pumpkin bundt cake with a spectacular brown butter glaze. If you only make the glaze and sit there in your kitchen eating it out of the bowl with a spoon, you will be a happy camper. Drizzle it over the moist pumpkin-spiced cake and you will drift off into pumpkin season revery. And that’s not fake news!
- For the Cake:
- 3 C. (384 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 2 t. ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 t. ground cardamom
- 1/4 t. ground allspice
- 1/4 t. ground black pepper
- 2 C. (440 grams) light brown sugar (packed)
- 1/2 C. (114 grams) unsalted butter (soft but cool)
- 1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 (15 ounce) can (425 grams) pumpkin puree
- 1/2 C. sour Cream
- For the Glaze
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 1 C. (102 grams) confectioners' sugar (sifted)
- 1/4 C. maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 1 to 2 T. lightly toasted pepitas
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.
- Using a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and black pepper to the bowl and whisk until these ingredients are well combined.
- Set up your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add brown sugar, butter and olive oil to the bowl of the mixer and beat at medium-high until the ingredients are well combined and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time to the mixer bowl,mixing thoroughly after the addition of each egg. Add pumpkin puree and sour cream to your batter, mixing well until combined. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary as you mix the ingredients.
- Fold the dry ingredients (flour mixture) into the bowl of the mixer using a spatula. (Remove the bowl from the mixer before you begin doing this.) Use the spatula to scrape the mixer bowl to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter. Tap the pan on your counter a few times to remove air bubbles.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. for 55 to 65 minutes. A wooden toothpick should come out clean when pushed into the center of the cake and your cake should be golden and puffed.
- Cool the cake on a rack for 20 minutes. Use the tip of a knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan and invert the cake onto a rack to cool before glazing. (Be careful in performing this step to ensure that your cake comes out of the pan cleanly without sticking.)
- Prepare the glaze by melting the butter in a saucepan. Let the butter cook until it takes on a deep golden brown color. (Watch your butter carefully during this step. It is easy to burn the butter and ruin the taste of the brown butter glaze.) Remove the melted butter from the heat, transfer it into a heat-safe bowl and let it cool slightly. Add the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and salt to the slightly cooled butter and whisk until the glaze is smooth but can be poured. If your glaze is too thick (as mine was) whisk in a few drops of water. If your glaze is too thin, add more confectioners' sugar.
- Move the cake to a serving dish and pour the glaze evenly over the top. Top with pepitas.
I baked my cake for 65 minutes and was very careful to test the cake for doneness. This is a cake with a heavy batter and you need to be sure it is thoroughly cooked before removing it from the pan. Failing to do this will leave you with some extra-dense and uncooked-appearing batter at the top of the cake.
Here is the link to the original Yossy Arefi recipe from which the recipe in this post was adapted: Yossy Arefi’s Pumpkin Bundt Cake