I'm amazed at how superior your vanilla is!
- Des, The Grommet
I opened the bottle of your vanilla extract last weekend to bake some cookies and the difference in taste is extraordinary." – Judy

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

Pumpkin and vanilla were meant for each other. Ditto with all the spices in this incredibly light, moist, delicious cake. Really, what could say autumn better than a freshly baked Pumpkin Chiffon Cake, a Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Spice Latte? Over the years I’ve really come to appreciate really fresh spices. I grate my nutmeg and grind allspice and cinnamon in a coffee grinder dedicated just for spices. The flavors really pop when they’re fresh. And our dear vanilla is the backup chorus once again, making sure all the flavors work synergistically.

This cake is a perfect choice for an afternoon party or when you want a lighter alternative to pumpkin or sweet potato pie. Feel free to substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin if you’re so inclined. I do strongly suggest a good quality oil such as sunflower, grapeseed or an lightly flavored walnut oil. You could even use a delicate, light- flavored olive oil.

When I made this cake recently, everyone said they would just take a bite and save the rest for after dinner. Guess what? Every single person ate it all right away. I recommend serving it with lightly sweetened creme fraiche whipped cream, but I’ll bet it wouldn’t be overkill to serve with pumpkin gelato.


Pumpkin Chiffon Cake



2 cups sifted flour

11/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste (or) 1-1/2 teaspoons Rain’s Choice pure Vanilla Extract

7 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup good quality neutral oil

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


Sift dry ingredients together. Using a stand or hand mixer, blend together vanilla, egg yolks, pumpkin, oil and water. Make a hole in the dry ingredients and add pumpkin mixture, then beat all ingredients until smooth.

Beat egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar, and beat until egg whites have stiff peaks. Fold into pumpkin batter.

Bake in a 10-inch un-oiled tube pan for 55 minutes at 325 degrees. Raise heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and invert pan to cool.

To remove, carefully run a table knife around the outside of the cake, then between the tube and the cake. Using a spatula, carefully release cake from the base of the pan. Slide onto a plate and then flip it to another plate.

Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh, seasonal fruit if desired.


Serves 10-12

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Patricia Rain
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Patricia Rain

is an author, educator, culinary historian, and owner of The Vanilla Company (www.vanillaqueen.com), a socially conscious, product-driven information and education site dedicated to the promotion of pure, natural vanilla, and the support of vanilla farmers worldwide. She also does culinary presentations for food professionals, cooking schools, trade shows, food fairs, and private groups, and is a regular radio and TV guest.

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