Behold, the great pumpkin, one of fall’s most iconic images. We find the large orange fruit taking center stage in breads, cakes, puddings and, of course, on doorsteps everywhere, so a few recipes using it are in order for the next few weeks. Since most cooks find it more efficient to purchase canned pumpkin rather than to cut and scrape the flesh from a fresh one, the recipes coming up use pumpkin purée. You’ll find more like these in my newest cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland. Order signed copies, with free shipping until October 31, from www.irishcook.com.

PUMPKIN POUND CAKE

Makes 1 loaf 

The name of this cake comes from the list of ingredients traditionally used for it: one pound each of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs. The ingredients remain the same today, but the beauty of this cake is the number of other flavors that can be added, including chocolate, fruit, pumpkin, and autumn spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

2 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin

3 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan and dust with flour; tap out excess.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

3. In another large bowl, cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture until smooth.

4. Transfer to the prepared pan, smooth top, and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and let cool completely.

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