Pumpkin Date Cake

Since Christmas, actually since December, I've been on a baking spree and the reason is a certain person - a young woman who is here to take care of my son for some hours each day - it has freed  some hours to do the things I like or to do just nothing - which was completely impossible for the last one year since Atri was born. So I'm back to baking for the few friends I have here, for my wonderful neighbouring aunty-uncle and for my little one of course. He is quite the foodie and shows sincere appreciation for everything his mom cooks up. After devouring Shammi's carrot-banana cake on his first birthday, he quite liked it that he got a new cake to eat on his 13th month birthday. The rum-soaked Christmas cakes I baked was out of bounds for him as I didn't want him getting hooked on to Old Monk this early in life - although some of my relatives and friends think otherwise.

He has been eating Pumpkin puree since he started on weaning foods six months ago, hence the familiar taste of pumpkin in this cake along with iron-rich dates that play the role of natural sweetener, replacing most of the sugar in this one. Hope you and your little ones enjoy this.

Ingredients and directions

Preheat the oven at 25o Celsius.

In a bowl mix well the following:

1 cup pumpkin - date puree (2 cups golden pumpkin cubes and 10 dates, pressure cooked and pureed)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

Sift the following together:
1 1/2 cups flour or 1 cup plain flour & 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder

Optional : Some chopped dried fruits or nuts, I used some chopped dried fruits soaked in juice (1/4 cup)

Gently mix the sifted dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Pour into a well oiled 8" square tin, or line a muffin tin with paper cups and fill upto 3/4th (makes 12 muffins).

Bake at 175 Celsius until a tester comes clean; 30-40 minutes for cake and around 20 minutes for muffins.

Cool on a rack and cut into slices. Serve with coffee or tea. Great when served for a kiddies' party too.

And that's me enjoying a slice of cake with my tea!

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