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Old 10-14-2005, 09:06 AM   #1
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Help with my pumpkin ricotta cake!

I made this pumpkin-ricotta cake, sort of right off the top of my head late last night. The flavour was gorgeous, but there was a wee bit of problem with consitency. When I pulled it out of the oven it seemed a little too flimsy even though the toothpick came out clean and dry. (I couldn't go on baking it further as the exterior was getting dangerously close to be burnt) A couple of hours later while it was still slightly warm, it seemed still too soggy. I wrapped it in a few layers of papertowel before I went to sleep, but I resigned to the fate that this turned out to be another one of misadventure. However this morning I found, to my surprise, the texture became almost perfect, nicely moist but not soggy or flimsy, only imperfection was a thin layer of dense (heavier and wetter) area near the bottom.

As there are so many baking experts in this forum, I was wondering if someone can offer a suggestion to improve this recipe, the consistency/texture in particular. Is it normal with this type of cake to leave overnight to attain a better texture? What can I do to avoid that dense layer at the bottom? To help you with the idea this was the recipe I invented...

Ingredients:
  • 160g / 5,5oz of pumpkin, boiled, mashed and well drained(originally it weighed about 450g / 1lb+ before cooking)
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g / 6oz sugar
  • 60g / 2oz+ brown sugar
  • 80g / 2,75oz melted butter
  • 250g / 8,5oz ricotta
  • a few drops of vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tea spoonful of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 100g / 3,5oz flour
  • 50g / 1,7oz potato starch (in Italy it is commonly used for the same purpose as corn flour)
  • 8g / 1/3,5oz baking powder
  • pinch of salt
I whisked the eggs with both sugar, then add the melted butter, whisked, add the pumpkin, whisked, then ricotta, whisked, vanilla+cinnamon+nutmeg, whisked more.
In this wet mixture I added the already combined dry ingredients, mixed well then poured into a buttered loaf pan, and baked it at 180C/350F for about 45 minutes.

I suspect the problem might have been the oven temperature, should I have cooked at a slightly lower temperature so the inside would have cooked a little more without the outside getting cooked too soon? I would appreciate any suggestions as it tasted lovely and I think it will worth a retry for new and improved version!!
TIA

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Old 10-14-2005, 09:24 AM   #2
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That sounds like a wonderful cake, licia! I've never worked with fresh pumpkin before so I don't know how its moisture content compares to canned, but I'm always surprised at how little liquid a recipe containing pumpkin requires compared to one that does not. Figure in the ricotta, melted butter and 3 eggs and you have a lot of moisture.

Soooo, maybe cut the eggs down to 2? Or how about trying a different shaped pan so there's more surface area to bake off? a 9x9" perhaps or a couple rounds?

Those are just guesses. Regardless, it sounds like you have a winner! Save me a slice from your next experiment!
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Old 10-14-2005, 09:40 AM   #3
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This would be very close to our 'cheesecake', so I'm guessing you're right about lowering the oven temp a bit - say to 325F - and if you see the top starting to get too brown, cover it with foil.

The new issue of Bon Appetit has a pumpkin cheesecake w/ a caramel/bourbon sauce - as soon as I enter it in my 'puter, I'll post it!
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Old 10-14-2005, 09:45 AM   #4
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Yes Stacey, I can smell a whopping success if I can adjust this recipe where I can get it right. I usually don't take setbacks very well and if I mess up with a certain recipe it takes a long long time, IF EVER, to pick up the nerve and try again. However this one tasted so good I can't wait to have a go again if I can find a solution to this little problem!! After tasting it I think it may be even better with some crumbled walnuts.
Thanks for your suggestion, I know it is always a really tricky balance, you would want your cake moist and fluffy, not soggy and dense, or dried out. I may cut down on the egg white as that contributes to a lot of moisture... In any case when I perfect this recipe I will make sure to post it for y'all!!
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Old 10-14-2005, 09:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmalady
This would be very close to our 'cheesecake', so I'm guessing you're right about lowering the oven temp a bit - say to 325F - and if you see the top starting to get too brown, cover it with foil.

The new issue of Bon Appetit has a pumpkin cheesecake w/ a caramel/bourbon sauce - as soon as I enter it in my 'puter, I'll post it!
When I bake cheesecake (I use a combination of ricotta and mascarpone, but I use at least twice as much cheese and less flour), after the cake is well cooked I turn off the oven, and without opening the door I leave it in there for about two hours, to let it continue on slowcooking inside, so to speak. Maybe I could use this technique with this one too?

whoa, pumpkin cheesecake with caramel bourbon sauce... that makes my mouth water... I look forward to your post!!
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