Friday, September 30, 2011

Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

You know you want some!

I'm glad I procrastinated, because my second batch was tweaked to my preferences. The first close-to-original-recipe one was good, but it gave me a chance to think about it for a while. I can almost never find a recipe I want to make and follow the instructions 100%. I always have an idea or opinion and I hate to waste an opportunity. Listen, people. Baking is not scary. I promise. People say that baking is more of a science and that ingredients, especially the ratios of certain wet and dry ones, can't be messed with. Not true to an extent. There are certainly things that are finicky. Have I made a souffle? No. Popovers? Nuh-uh. Does the husband make pie crust so good I don't care to even try? Yessir! Cakes, cookies and quick-breads? No problem!

Also, feel free to tweak/omit spices. I used all of these because I had them readily available. Same thing with the molasses. You can use regular molasses or leave them out. Regular all-purpose flour would be fine too, but I use all of my normal stuff in the last batch. See? Flexibility. No biggie.

Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
dash of cardamom
1 15oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 cup of chopped pecans, plus 1/4 cup chopped for topping
turbinado sugar for topping (I used a coarse vanilla sugar that I got at William's Sonoma)

Preheat oven to 350ยบ

Grease 9 X 5 baking pan with butter and then dust with flour.

Mix dry ingredients, flour through cardamom, in one bowl. Make sure to whisk it pretty well. I hate nothing more in a cake than a lump of baking soda. BLEH!

Mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, sugar and molasses in a separate larger bowl until smooth.

Fold in dry mixture until just incorporated and then add 1 cup of pecans.

Add to pan and top with sugar and the rest of the pecans.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't be like me and get so excited that your boss called to say you don't have to work on Saturday ("yeaaaah..I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Saturday...." Office Space? Anyone?) that you miss the timer and cook it for an hour. Guess what? It was still good!

Also, don't go to refill your champagne glass (no occasion...just broke into one of the extras we had at my parent's house that they made us take back up to Boston) with such gusto that you explode it all over your counter. The counter you just cleaned.

Try to wait long enough to eat it that you don't burn your face off. I recommend topping with cream cheese or butter.

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