The British love steamed puddings, which Americans would call cakes. Whatever you call them, they're moist, delicious, and easy to make.
You'll need a 2-quart pudding or brioche mold (or a glass or earthenware bowl) to make the cake, which is steamed on the stovetop. Our version marries pumpkin, crystallized ginger and dates, subtly spiced with cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Canned pumpkin purée works well — or try making your own with our recipe. The pudding/cake tastes best served warm, but if you make it ahead of time, it reheats well in the microwave.
For a truly British rendition, serve generous slices with a warm custard sauce like our Vanilla Créme Anglaise, or with vanilla ice cream.
Generously butter a 2-quart pudding or brioche mold (or bowl) and set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the pumpkin purée and lemon juice, and mix slowly until combined.
In a separate bowl, place the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt, and whisk to combine. Stir in the crystallized ginger and the dates. Add this dry mixture to the batter and mix slowly until blended. Transfer the batter to the prepared mold.
Butter a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and cover the mold, crimping the sides to seal it tightly. Alternately, you can use string to tie the foil to the rim of the mold. Place the mold in a large pan (at least 8 quarts) and add hot water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer, and cover the pan. Cook until the cake is set (you can tell by pressing the top of the cake), 70 to 75 minutes.
Remove the mold from the water bath and let it sit, still covered with the foil, for 30 minutes. Discard the foil and unmold the pudding cake onto a flat plate. Cut into wedges and serve warm with Vanilla Crème Anglaise or ice cream, if you like.
Whole wheat flour is more nutritious and has more fiber than white flour because the bran and the germ aren’t removed during milling. However, baking with regular whole wheat flour produces baked goods that are heavier and denser than those made with traditional all-purpose white flour. The good news is that whole wheat pastry flour is becoming more widely available. While it still isn’t as light as traditional all-purpose white flour, it’s close in texture and taste, making it appropriate — by itself or combined with all-purpose flour — for all but the most delicate pastries, quick breads, and cakes.