Growing up in Cape Town, Autumn was a relative non-event. Sure there were deciduous trees that lost their leaves, but it wasn’t spectacular.  My mom’s garden had flowering plants year round so there was always color.  When I made my first October visit to the Appalachian mountains, I was in awe.  The amazing vistas in rich colors I’d never seen the likes of, were picture perfect like the American calendars of my childhood.

I have now spent more Autumns in the US than I ever spent in South Africa, and “Fall,” as I now know it, is a favorite time of year. I love the crispness in the air after the heat of summer, sleeping with the windows open, the rich-colored turning leaves and all recipes associated with the season.

Since tasting my first pumpkin latte a few weeks ago, I’ve been hankering to bake something pumpkinny. Over the weekend we hosted some eagerly anticipated overseas cousins and I wanted to serve a special treat for tea as they arrived.  Then I was poking around on Pinterest and came across this cake recipe pinned from prairiecottagerose’s blog.  It looked scrumptious.  I quickly gathered up the ingredients and set to baking.

Not one to make a recipe without altering it in some way, I cut back on the suggested 2 cups of sugar by 1/4 of a cup, and I added ginger…..when I visited the new Whole Foods, I’d bought

[among other things], a little bag of crystallized ginger so had it on hand.  I chopped some finely and added it to the cake mixture along with a generous teaspoon of ground ginger.

I have 2 Baby Bundt pans, which are so often just the ticket.  A recipe for a regular Bundt cake split into the two pans gives you a cake to eat and a cake to take or freeze.

There is nothing complicated about this recipe.  It’s very easy and the taste is really great.  The cake is a little dense.  I was so excited to see our newly arrived overseas family that I forgot to photograph a slice of cake.  They loved the cake, which was still a little warm when they arrived.  Even after weekend nibblings, there was some leftover so I was able to pack 4 little slices for them to take on the road!



3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon each of salt, ground allspice & ground cloves

4 eggs

1 can pumpkin (16 oz)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup mini chocolate chips

[Optional: 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger.]


Preheat oven to 350. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl until well blended. Add

remaining ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix well. Stir the chocolate chips in by hand.

Pour into a greased Bundt pan. Bake 1 hour & 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan 5 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar when

cool, if desired.