Pumpkin-Ginger Tunnel Cake


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This cheesecake filled Pumpkin-Ginger Tunnel Cake from Fine Cooking has so much flavor to go with the gorgeous presentation.

Dudette wants to be a zombie for Halloween.

Since I watch episodes of The Walking Dead when she’s not home or long after she’s gone to bed, I know that’s not where she got the idea. Maybe it’s from playing Plants vs. Zombies on her iPod?

I’m guessing that the idea was put in her head while she was hanging upside down on the monkey bars during recess at school. Kids play. Kids talk. Kids love zombies.

Up until last year, our future surgeon always chose a doctor’s costume for terrorizing the neighborhood on the 31st. Last year, because we watched Captain Jack Sparrow swashbuckle his way across the high seas just before Halloween, she went as a pirate instead.

But this year she wants to go gross. The wave of peer pressure has washed over her and since she runs with the boys on the playground, instead of opting to be a Minion, princess or Tinkerbell like her girl friends will be, she wants ooze and blood and brain matter.

Lovely.

I am also riding the wave of the masses today. I’m cooking with pumpkin. Just like everyone is, including my magazines. Of the five sitting on my desk this month, three have pumpkin something on the cover.

Which is fine with me. I love pumpkin. I embrace each and every pumpkin dessert that makes it way to my table.

That being said, it wasn’t pumpkin-song that pushed me to make this cake in Fine Cooking this week. Nope. It was the ginger cheesecake-type filling.

Allow me to eat enough of that amazing stuff and I may just let Dudette wander the streets as a member of the undead after all.

Pumpkin Ginger Tunnel Cake

The Process

Mixing up the filling and cake batter are the easy parts. Two bowls, two delicious concoctions. Seriously. I tasted the filling way more times than necessary. Even before baking, it’s addicting.

As you can see from the photo, my issue came when I tried to ‘create a trough’ in the portion of the batter I had already poured into my tube pan. The batter isn’t thick enough to maintain a trough, so even though I tried pouring the filling as I dragged the spoon through the batter, there was a lot of spill-over because the sides of my trough kept closing. That’s why my cake is banded instead whole. I think it looks kind of cool, but that’s not how its supposed to look.

The other issue I had was with the baking time. After 50 minutes, the inside edge of the cake was still raw, but the outside was done. Seventy minutes later, it was still not cooked all the way. After 75 minutes I felt I had to take the cake out of the oven or risk it overcooking (especially the cheesecake). As you can see from the lower right corner of cake, it’s barely cooked enough. Weird.

The Verdict

Dudette wouldn’t give this a try because she doesn’t think she likes pumpkin. Hubby absolutely loved the cake up until he bit into a not-so-finely minced bit of crystallized ginger. Yes, he still loved it, but found that nugget of surprise to be a bit too powerful.

I loved the cake as well, and since I’m a huge ginger fan, didn’t mind the bigger bits, but could see where the flavor would be too strong with anything more than a sliver of a bite. Making sure that the ginger is very finely minced is easy enough to do to keep that complaint in check.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’m not sure how to solve the tunnel issue. Maybe pouring 2/3 of the batter instead of just a half would give more working room and the possibility of digging in deeper while pouring the filling. I’d up the cooking time to 65-70 minutes for sure.

Pumpkin Ginger Tunnel Cake

Pumpkin-Ginger Tunnel Cake

This cheesecake filled Pumpkin-Ginger Tunnel Cake from Fine Cooking has so much flavor to go with the gorgeous presentation.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients
  

Ingredients for the Filling

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup very finely chopped crystallized ginger

Ingredients for the Cake

  • Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour; more for the pan
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin purée
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Instructions
 

Make the Filling

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, ginger, and salt on medium speed until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition just until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and then the crystallized ginger. Transfer to a 1-quart liquid measure and set aside.

Make the Cake

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  • Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl.
  • Whisk the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. In 3 or 4 additions, add the dry ingredients, whisking well between each addition.
  • Fill the prepared Bundt pan with about half of the batter. Stir the filling to redistribute the chopped ginger. While dragging a large serving spoon through the center of the batter to create a trough, pour all of the filling into the trough; it may overflow the trough a bit, which is OK. Carefully spoon the remaining batter on top and spread to cover.
  • Bake until a skewer inserted all the way to the bottom comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate and remove the cake pan. Cool completely. (If not serving the cake within a couple of hours, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days; serve cold or at room temperature.) Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Notes

What I’d Do Different Next Time
 
I’m not sure how to solve the tunnel issue. Maybe pouring ⅔ of the batter instead of just a half would give more working room and the possibility of digging in deeper while pouring the filling. I’d up the cooking time to 65-70 minutes for sure.
Keyword Cake

How about you? Would you let your child go trick-or-treating as a zombie? Please, have a slice of cake to munch on while you ponder the question.

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