Light and fluffy from the whipped egg whites folded into the batter, this pumpkin cake is also fortified with stone-ground cornmeal, which contributes a nutty flavor and crunch. It comes out of the oven golden brown on top and with a pudding-like center within, making it soft enough to serve with a spoon. The cake isn’t overly sweet, so it works either as a dessert or brunch item, and you can add all kinds of seasonal toppings, such as sautéed apples, sliced persimmons, or pomegranate seeds.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish.
2. In medium bowl combine cornmeal, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
3. In large bowl whisk together pumpkin, milk, butter, syrup, vanilla and egg yolks.
4. In large mixing bowl beat egg whites on medium to high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add cane sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks.
5. Whisk the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Gently stir one-third of the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the remaining egg whites. Fold to combine. Pour into prepared dish. Bake, uncovered, about 50 minutes or until browned on top and still slightly jiggly in center. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve.