Spiced Pumpkin Bread
I know the actual dates of when a new season begins hardly reflects the actual mood or feeling of the weather outside (last Saturday, otherwise known as Autumnal Equinox, I’m looking at you). But, the leaves on the trees are changing outside, I’ve actually had to wear a light cotton coat on my walk to school each morning and, most importantly, I have a nasty little cold. At least in my world, Fall has arrived.
Now, I’m no hypochondriac and I hate going to the doctor. Yet any time there is any sort of auto-immune attack in my body, I wither and whine like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, I’m on one of those types of people, the kind that where you only see their real, true colors when they have a moment of weakness, no matter how arbitrary or small that weakness may be. All of a sudden, I’ve been drinking komucha—a drink I otherwise consider a “hippie drink” under any other circumstances—and I’ve been popping those little, tasty orange vitamin C pills as if they alone contain the key to my salvation. Also, in case you haven’t noticed already, I may have become somewhat melodramatic.
But, the combination of this slight sickness and the start of Fall has its perks. Such as the excuse to make and eat lovely spiced baked goods that come warm from the oven like this pumpkin bread. Truth be told, I actually made this pumpkin bread the night before I woke up with a sore throat and a runny nose—I know, I know, it’s as if this pumpkin loaf knew what was in store for me and planned its timing around that!
No matter the fact that I’m the one that made it. If you’re a baker, you know that these baked things have a mind of their own. There’s a reason this one came out so moist, so pumpkin-y—it knew it had its duties laid out for it. Especially considering the fact that only one week before I made my first attempt at conquering pumpkin bread, and the results fell short. This loaf you see here is the “just right” version of balancing pumpkin flavor, spice level, and overall size.
It is worth noting that this loaf should have risen more—the baking powder I used is old and as a result it rose barely at all. The proportions in this recipe are all right though, for a tall, spiced and damp (in the best way) loaf. Also, due to the fact that I ran out of all-purpose flour, I used almost half-and-half of all-purpose to whole wheat flour. I didn’t notice anything negative as a result, and it made me feel so virtuous that I decided it deserved a lovely little glaze to accent the top of the loaf. It’s a really simple glaze of powdered sugar and a tablespoon or two of water, and it adds a small detail that I think make both the aesthetics and tastes of the cake just that much better.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Adapted loosely from Martha Stewart
Makes one 9-inch loaf
As noted above, your loaf will come out taller than mine did in the picture– just make sure you use active, non-expired baking powder! Also, I really, really recommend eating slices of this loaf cold from the fridge. Even if it’s cold out. The dense and moist texture of the bread is enhanced by the coldness. Try it!
butter, for greasing the pan
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, or a combination of all-purpose and whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup regular sugar
1 1/4 cup (about 330 grams or 11.5 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, pumpkin, oil, and eggs. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the wet mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean with just a crumb or two attached, about 1 hour, plus or minus 5 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; invert pan and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, if desired, combine the 1 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Mix until combined. The mixture should be smooth, but thick. Add more powdered sugar or water to reach the consistency you like. Pour over the top of the cooled loaf and allow 15 minutes for the glaze to set.