Sunday, November 8

Grand Champion Pumpkin Cake

It's November already (yikes! how did that happen!?) and I just finished packing away all the Halloween decorations.
 I've been busy making a list for our Thanksgiving dinner and corresponding grocery list. I usually try out a new dish or dessert at Thanksgiving so have also been scanning through a few cookbooks for ideas.
I purchased a Pumpkin Cookbook way back in 1992 which was put together by The Crusader Sunday School Class at Calvary United Methodist Church in 1982 for a fundraiser. I purchased the cookbook at the Circleville Pumpkin Show and it's full of everything pumpkin!
One of the recipes in the book is for this Grand Champion Cake, called “Pride O' Pumpkin Cake”.

The note with the recipe states:

"This recipe was a Champion and Grand Champion for several years at the Circleville Pumpkin Show. I first baked it when I was sixteen years old and it won a Blue Ribbon!
I have baked it every year after and it won more Blue Ribbons, also placing as Champion and Grand champion. It's a very good cake."


The creator of the recipe was not listed in the cookbook so I did a Google search and found this in an old copy of the Circleville Herald dated October 14, 1955:

"Mrs. Evans, a Salem Woman's Society Hostess's recipe, won top honors in the Pumpkin Cake Division of the (Circleville Pumpkin Show) Exhibit. The recipe for the pumpkin cake is as follows: Two and one fourth cups cake flour, three teaspoons baking powder, one half teaspoon salt, one fourth teaspoon soda, one and one half teaspoon ginger, one half teaspoon allspice, one half cup butter or shortening, one cup firmly packed brown sugar, one half cup granulated sugar, one egg and two egg yolks, unbeaten, three fourths cup buttermilk, on half cup chopped walnuts (optional), three fourths cup canned pumpkin.........

Pumpkins for sale at the Circleville Pumpkin Show

The Circleville Pumpkin Show originated in 1903 when George R. Haswell, then Mayor of Circleville and Superintendent of the Water Works, made a small display in front of his store using corn fodder and pumpkins for decorations. Other merchants picked up the idea and the store front decorations grew in interest and attendance. Soon a permanent organization was formed, incorporated and a board of trustees was set up. The purpose of all this being to promote a friendly relationship with the people of Circleville. The addition of baking contests, vegetable growing contests and the display of entries made for an even bigger and better festival each year. Today it is billed as the Largest Free Show in the world!

At the Circleville Pumpkin Show 

My father was originally from Circleville and it's a town I love. I have only missed attending the Circleville Pumpkin Show a couple of times over the last 25 or more years because to me, it is a festival straight out of pumpkin heaven!

Tips and Suggestions:
  • To make cake flour mix 1 ¾ cups of all purpose flour with ¼ cup cornstarch.
  • I used Libby's canned pumpkin
  • I use Saco Cultured Buttermilk blend
  • Walnuts are my choice for this cake or nuts can be omitted.
  • For Icing I use Whipped Butter Cream Icing but Cream Cheese Icing is good too!
  • I make this a sheet cake because it's easier but a layer cake looks much better.
  • These would make great little mini cakes for gift giving.

Grand Champion Pumpkin Cake

2 ½ cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger, all spice
½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks, unbeaten
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup pumpkin
½ to 1 cup nuts

Cream together butter and sugars

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until well blended.Add the whole egg and the egg yolks one at a time, beating until mixed and light.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/3 of the buttermilk, beating after each addition until batter is smooth.

Mix in a little flour mixture and buttermilk at a time, alternating after each

Fold in pumpkin and nuts
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes in two 8 inch round cake pans. Allow to cool completely, then frost with butter cream or cream cheese frosting.

Mix in pumpkin and chopped nuts

For a sheet cake, bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Allow to cool completely then frost with butter cream or cream cheese frosting.

This cake disappeared quickly which is always an indication to me that a recipe is a keeper.
I hope you have lots to be thankful for this Holiday season and I think this cake may be one of them.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! I will definitely be trying this recipe. Lisa Henderson

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth...are you from the Circleville area?? Paula Rae Ramsay

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Paula Rae Ramsay, my father was from / grew up in Circleville (Grandfather from Chillicothe and grandmother from Bainbridge) so we spent most weekends in or around Circleville.

Anonymous said...

I live in Pickaway County! Have lived here since I was 4! Not in Circleville but in villages around it. Small world! Paula Rae Ramsay

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe and it's wonderful! I am now making it as one of the desserts for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks so much for sharing. And for the tip about the buttermilk powder, that alone is worth reading your blog! Rosa Hasusa

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks Rosa, glad you like the Pumpkin Cake recipe. And yes that Cultured Buttermilk Powder is so easy to use and I no longer have to worry about spoiled buttermilk!