Cantaloupe Cake Three Ways (Boston or bust sendoff for Mary!)
You may be wondering why, rather than featuring an image that matches the title of this post, I've included a photo of a quixotic-looking, possibly English woman (actually, a New Englishwoman) bent on getting the best out of a cross between a hoedown and the Royal Ascot. It's because, as excited as I am about the subject recipes, I'm more emotional about the inspiration behind them. My friend Mary, who has had numerous blog posts devoted to her whims and person, is moving Saturday! We've had plenty of warning, and time to settle into resigned acceptance, but I must admit, until now I've been ever so slightly in denial that she's really going, leaving beautiful Boulder for other friends and family back in Boston. Still, it's so long but not farewell, and there are a couple of positive notes, too: 1) We have months to prepare a rowdy yet fashionable way to descend upon her for a visit when we all run Boston next year; 2) I will soon have a highly reliable recipe tester who is not at altitude and loves to cook and bake experimentally; 3) Meet-up adventures can be planned from afar just as easily as from down the street; 4) I got to make this cantaloupe cake three ways, as a small gesture and attempt to send Mary packing in style. It's not just Mary who motivated the testing of cantaloupe cake. Actually, I had an over-ripe and quickly softening cantaloupe sitting squatly on the kitchen counter just begging fruit flies to set up camp. And, I've been working on creamy sweet, moist alternatives for bananas in baked goods. Of course I wanted to make something new and interesting for a farewell BBQ for Mary this weekend, too. It only occurred to me after baking to find out if she likes cantaloupe, and fortunately she does. So, while this recipe owes much more to an All Recipes find than to me for making easy tweaks, this one's dedicated to Mary, of the floppy hats, poems centered on soil crafted with careful precision and creative soul, and athletic prowess so strong and focused I'd call it cougar-like, if it weren't for the more popular connotations of that impressive animal's name. I'll miss you dear friend who has become like a sister, and look forward to TransRockies and other excursions ahead!
Cantaloupe Cake with variations
I made this three ways this weekend: Naked (mini muffins); as cupcakes (with a brown sugar glaze topped with walnuts); and as cake (with cream cheese icing). I think the cupcake version may have been the most universally popular, but they were all really good. I think I may be partial to the cream-cheese iced version. Extremely ripe cantaloupe is highly recommended. This recipe makes a lot--I filled an 8x8 square cake tin, a 24-mini muffin pan, and a 12 muffin tin with the batter! This cantaloupe was so sweet, I went with the lower amount of sugar, but some said I could well go sweeter, especially with the naked version.
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup olive or canola oil
- 3/4 to 1 cup cup raw sugar or honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups cantaloupe - peeled, seeded and pureed
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease pans.
- In a large bowl, beat together eggs and egg whites, oil, sugar or honey, vanilla and cantaloupe. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture; stir to combine. Mix in raisins. Pour batter into prepared pans.
- Bake in preheated oven for: approximately 15-18 minutes for mini muffins; 20-25 minutes for muffins, and 30 minutes for cake.
Frosting: Because this was meant to be a dessert recipe/special occasion, I went with a full-on powdered sugar and cream cheese frosting, whipping together a tablespoon melted butter, 1/3 cup light cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar.
Glaze: This was similarly indulgent, a cup brown sugar heated on low with 1/3 cup melted butter. I had quite a bit to spare, however. Topped with chopped walnuts.
Mini muffin addition: included dried cranberries and pecan pieces with the raisins.