Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake and The Giver

I think if I watch The Giver movie several more times I’ll have the secret of life. What a well-wrought tale, and beautifully filmed this year. One takeaway for me on this last viewing was to champion the hot and colds real life affords, alternative to the temperate climate of a benign life with its edges sedated and balmed away with cheap, automatic pleasures—the life that proceeds from easy, safe choices. Insulated as opposed to raw. The simple, and wrong, dichotomy is to assume that with wealth comes the insulation, and with poverty, rawness. I know I used to think this was the case, but now I am not sure at all that money has anything to do with it, really. The Giver also problematizes the dichotomy that insulated is bad and raw is good, however the ending does allow the apparent better of the two evils— rawness—to prevail. I think insulated versus raw living is a matter of the vigor of one’s conscience, and the courage it takes to follow the path it reveals. Somehow, too, I think learning not to avoid extremes, in: climate, personality, experience and otherwise, is another virtue—perhaps only because living in Minnesota has me self-righteousness at facing these winters—but also, because I have chosen psychiatry, it occurs to me that cancelling out extremes is an answer to the problem of mood and personality but not always the right one. Without suffering there can be no joy, without love there is no loss. By the way, I miss you already Dave—thank you for the first Thanksgiving in years with blood family. You are a true brother in every sense of the word/concept. Love you.

me and dave tg 2014 me and dave thanksgiving 2014 me and dave

In The Giver, the community members are aware of their feelings, but are blunted to the experience of their emotions. They know what it is to enjoy, without knowing joy. They feel pleasure, but no love, anxiousness but not sorrow. While their lives appear serene and ideal, there is no true serenity because they have eliminated chaos. There is no peace without wildness. Peace in the absence of the threat of wildness is not peace, but inertia. Can’t wait to watch The Giver again next week, with a slice of bundt. This cake, and the making of it, is a memory The Giver would have used as evidence for the preciousness of taste.

sour cream pumpkin bunt

Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Streusel and Orange Glaze

Adapted from Penzeys Spices Catalogue


1/2 Cup brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

2 tsp. butter


3 cups flour

1 TB. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

4 eggs

1 cup puréed pure pumpkin

1 cup sour cream

2 tsp. vanilla


1 ½ Cups powdered sugar

2-3 TB. orange juice or milk

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a large (12-cup) Bundt pan.

For the streusel, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Rub in the butter until crumbly with your fingers, or use a fork to cut it in. Set aside.

For the cake, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix well. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan, trying to build up the sides slightly so the streusel won’t hit the pan edge. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter, trying not to let the streusel touch the sides of the pan. Carefully spoon the remaining batter on top, and smooth with a spatula. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool about halfway on a wire rack 20-30 minutes before carefully turning the pan over onto the serving plate. Cool completely before glazing.

sour cream pumpkin bundt cake

For the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl, add 2 TB. orange juice or milk and stir until smooth. Add more liquid as desired. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Don’t just enjoy. Joy this day.

sour cream pumpkin coffee cake

3 thoughts on “Sour Cream Pumpkin Bundt Cake and The Giver

  1. I love the photos of you and your brother, and the possibilities they open up in my imagination for the use of Clementines to enhance silly photos 🙂 The cake sounds delicious, and I am glad to be reminded that I need to watch The Giver! The book version gave my 6th-grade self a huge shaking up, and – especially after reading your high opinion of the movie – I want to see what it’s like at this age. You, KP and your pets stay warm in the coming cold snap this week, eat lots of Bundt cake! 🙂

    1. Watch it, yes! I went and checked the book out at the library to see how true it was…. I hadn’t read it in such a long time, to my chagrin!

      1. I now know what to get on the next snow day! 🙂 I’m glad that the movie inspired you to revisit the novel. I encountered bits and pieces of it last year in the course of working with some international university students who were studying it, and found it to be perhaps even more unsettling and thought-provoking as the first time I’d read it. Definitely a book that you need some sweet treats with 🙂

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