Pumpkin Bread

You may have noticed it's October. Do you know what that means for a baker? Cooler weather, ovens on, spices and PUMPKIN!

We've been eating pumpkin everything at our house. Pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin fudge, and my very favorite (drumroll, please!) pumpkin bread. (Just a quick tangent here: we call a thing a bread, a muffin, a biscuit, but really it's cake: the sugar to fat to grain ratio makes it so. And may I say that cake is the most wonderful food in all the land.) A healthy slice of pumpkin cake bread on a cool fall day with a hot cup of tea or mulled cider, sitting by a fire in your jeans, socks and an oversized sweater creates the epitomal fall moment, n'est-ce pas? Je pense oui!

Lulu and I were at the Whole Foods and saw these cute little pumpkins hanging out by the butternut, spaghetti and kabocha squashes and we just had to buy one. This started a frenzy of oven-roasting, blending and baking several recipes (yes, there will be more from this pumpkin!). I used to make some of Lulu's baby food and pumpkin puree was a huge hit back then.

It's fall, my friends. The best season of the year to turn your oven on and try something new. If you have never baked before, this season is YOURS. And, so is this cake quick bread. It's easy to assemble, easy to bake, stays looking nice when you slice and serve it and it's way too easy to gobble up. You may find yourself spreading cream cheese on a slice or two or toasting it and smathering apple butter all over it. You can also bake it in a bundt pan, glaze the top (I'll include a recipe below) and serve it as actual cake with some whipped cream - or on its own! This one will travel well, keep well and freeze well. My equations make 2 regular loaves or one bundt cake, which I highly recommend, especially if you've been invited somewhere.

Keep in mind that it's pretty amazing to use fresh squash, but if you're a newbie chef, please don't do that. Open up a can and feel GOOD about that. You're amazing. This bread is amazing. You're a match made in heaven.


Pumpkin Bread
(makes 2 loaves or one standard 10 C bundt cake)
3-1/2 C flour
2 t cinnamon
1-1/2 t baking powder
1 t nutmeg
1 t ginger
3/4 t kosher salt
1/2 t allspice
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t baking soda

First blend all those together and set aside. Then, read on.

1-1/2 C sugar
1-1/4 C dark brown (or regular brown) sugar
1 C canola or other light oil
5 eggs, at room temp
2 C pureed pumpkin
2/3 C buttermilk

If using pumpkin, slice your squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place face down on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 425 for 30-45 minute (this will depend upon how much squash you're baking) until the pumpkin gives easily when pricked with a fork.

Once it's cool, scoop the pumpkin flesh out from the skin and puree in a blender or food processor until lump free. If you find this is not happening easily, add water in tablespoonsful until you get a nice, smooth puree. With a 3 lb. pumpkin, you'll have about 4-5 cups of puree, although you only need 2. Put the remainder in a freezer bag and stick it in the freezer for next months' pumpkin pies. See? You're ahead!

Preheat your oven to 350 and prep your pans by buttering and flouring them or by spraying them with baking spray.

Combine sugars, oil and 2 eggs until blended. Add remaining eggs and pumpkin and mix well.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 4 total additions. So, you're going to add about 1/2 the dry mixture and then about 1/2 the buttermilk. Then, repeat.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s) and bake 60-70 minutes or until you feel the cake spring back when touched. If you're using a glaze (recipe below), pour the glaze on while the cake is warm, but not hot.

Vanilla Cinnamon Glaze
1-1/2 C powdered sugar
2-3 T milk
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Pour over warm cake. Let set at least 10 minutes and then slice away.

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