The Brass Sisters’ Pumpkin Tea Cake

The Brass Sisters have some things to say about pumpkin and old fashioned baking. Come see them at the Let’s Talk About Food Festival to learn how to make this incredible tea cake. This heirloom recipe is in their book, Baking with the Brass Sisters.



We can’t honestly say that there’s a feel of autumn in the air on this hot September day, however as our calendar for fall fills up with events and baking demonstrations, our thoughts do turn to those satisfyingly buttery tea cakes redolent of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  

We’ve found that pumpkin has suddenly become the darling of New England kitchenware stores, ice cream counters, and even doughnut and coffee shops.  We know that you can never have too much of a good thing, but as home bakers we would rather spend our pumpkin currency on replicating a handwritten heirloom recipe such as Pumpkin Tea Cake with Toasted Walnut Brown Sugar Topping.

Baking with the Brass Sisters aWe’re looking forward to demonstrating Pumpkin Tea Cake with its crackly walnut and brown sugar topping at Let’s Talk About Food on October 1. The tea cake from the 1920s came from the recipe file of Gertrude Smith, an accomplished home baker who was known not only for her excellence in producing delicious cookies, tea cakes, and pies, but also for the beautiful presentation of her contributions to potluck suppers at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.  We’ve learned that her son, Ronn, treasures the dish she used for the gelatin desserts she took to gatherings at church.  

This Pumpkin Tea Cake with its fine crumb uses cake flour which was introduced as early as 1895. The recipe originally called for sifting the flour before and after measuring, but we whisk instead of sift because modern cake flour is lighter and more delicate.



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