My friends & family will tell you that I get bored pretty easily by eating the same food so it's no surprise that I follow a lot of food bloggers on social media for inspiration...and that many of my favorite food bloggers are Greek-American! I enjoy their creativity and celebration of Greek cuisine from a perspective that is quite different than mine, since I was born and raised in Greece and only came here to the States as an adult.
One of the bloggers I follow are a mother-daughter duo. Their Instagram handle is @cooklikegreek, and they cook, create and photograph together. I've had fun following their account because, as you know, I, too, have a daughter, and when she's home, we love cooking together and trying new things (like her oatmeal-banana cookie recipe that I shared recently!).
Back around Thanksgiving, Cook Like a Greek posted a recipe for a pumpkin cake that I found interesting because they used so many spices, yet left out the usual milk and eggs. I decided to make it and substituted the spices with Sparoza’a cooking blend with orange zest, one of my go-to ingredients for both sweet & savory dishes.
Over the years, this blend has become a winter favorite for me. Sparoza’a owner Effie Ekmetzoglou has a true gift of finding unique combinations of herbs, spices, and teas. She's a real artisan, creating nuanced, sophisticated flavors of the highest quality. Her mixture of allspice, cardamom, chili, orange zest and so much more make this blend my special ingredient, from soups to our famous Cincinnati chili to banana bread...I'm serious when I say the possibilities are endless!!
So, of course, I just had to play with that pumpkin cake recipe and, as expected, using this Sparoza blend was as delicious. I can't tell you how good my kitchen smelled! The result was a nice light cake for a Valentine's Day breakfast, wonderful with a cup of coffee in the morning, and you'll keep making it for afternoon snacks and weekend brunches throughout the year. Try it for yourself and let me know how you like it!
Preheat your oven to 350°.
Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices) and set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the pumpkin puree and the applesauce and mix well until you get a smooth blend.
Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients with a wire whisk or spatula until you have a thick, homogeneous batter. You don't need to fluff the batter, it's more a bread that we are creating rather than a cake.
Coat a Bundt pan or other favorite pan with butter or olive oil.
Pour the batter into the pan and make sure to even out the top. Bake for 60 minutes depending on your oven. I would check after 50 minutes by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is ready, if not, continue baking for another 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 20-30 minutes. Once it's cool, turn it onto a plate and dust it with powered sugar. Enjoy!
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A tasty Greek stewed chickpea soup with herbs and fresh lemon
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