This is the time of year when loaf cakes and tea breads seem so perfect. They’re handy to serve for brunch, afternoon guests or meetings or to give as gifts of appreciation to friends, family and those who serve us well throughout the year.
I’m keeping it very basic here with this Pumpkin Bread. It’s a simple mix with lots of spice, a snip of molasses to deepen the flavor and some buttermilk to tenderize the texture. It’s a soft cake with an open crumb, a very good version of this seasonal staple. Although I left it unembellished, it’s wonderful to add a handful of toasted nuts or dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips or a couple of tablespoons of finely diced crystallized ginger to the batter. Or top with an orange glaze for a more formal presentation.
Here’s to the spirit and irresistible aromas of the holiday pastry season!
- This recipe can be easily doubled. Use one 15 oz can of pumpkin.
- Spices make the world go 'round and this is a good time of the year to inventory your spice collection. Stock up or refresh your supply. I recommend buying at your local bulk grocery store. I love Vietnamese Cinnamon. I also use a lot of allspice because I love the way it bolsters everything else. Whole nutmeg is very inexpensive as is a nutmeg grater.
- More delicious loaf cakes for this time of year: a festive Walnut Brandy Cake, a rustic Honey Spice Cake or the beautifully rich Chocolate Date Nut Cake.
Makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup (4 oz) canola oil
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs @ room temperature
1 cup (8 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
2 tablespoons (32 grams) molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 oz) buttermilk @ room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/12" loaf pan and line with a piece of parchment paper large enough to form an overhang on both sides along the length of the pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
Whisk the oil, both sugars and eggs until thoroughly combined. Blend in the pumpkin, molasses and vanilla. Add a third of the flour mixture alternately with half the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour and mixing just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared the pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 - 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen and carefully remove from the pan using the parchment overhang to assist. Remove the parchment and cool completely.