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Sticky Pumpkin Cake with Hard Cider Caramel

[Photograph: Anna Markow]

These steamed pumpkin cakes with a rich hard cider caramel sauce are a unique way to celebrate fall and would make a lovely Halloween dinner party dessert.

The cakes keep very well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week, and the caramel sauce also keeps beautifully. Be sure to reheat both to steaming hot before serving, especially as the cakes can tend to taste of baking soda when chilled. The cake, since it is steamed, can be reheated in the microwave, but the oven does a fine job. If you use aluminum cups, keep any cakes you will be saving to reheat later in the cups and remove after reheating to keep the cake very moist. Don't put aluminum in the microwave.

Note: I happened to have access to a pretty decent pumpkin spice vodka so I used that for the liquor component of the recipe, but found I still had to add a little extra spice. Feel free to use anything that you think will enhance the flavor of the pumpkin puree. Bourbon would be my next choice. I make my own pumpkin spice blend out of nine (yes, nine) different spices, but I'd recommend a blend of mostly cinnamon with a little ginger, nutmeg, and allspice added to taste. I do not use clove in my pumpkin spice as I find it too overpowering.

About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.

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