Thursday, October 7, 2010


I am never entirely convinced that fruit and veggie "breads" are really in the right category.  They are usually to tender, to sweet, and to cake-like for me to feel right in calling them a bread.  This pumpkin bread is no exception, but that is okay because it is absolutely delicious.  I adapted it from Dorie Greenspan's pumpkin muffin recipe from her book Baking: From My Home To Yours. Now there is a clear category, not a cupcake or a biscuit but a muffin.  It tells you exactly what to expect.  But that is besides the point.

I had a large amount of fresh pumpkin puree on my hands and an itch to bake something to fill the house with warmth and spices.  So I turned to Dorie's book, which I had acquired after I stumbled upon the Tuesdays With Dorie group.  There were so many recipes I was interested in that I finally requested a copy of my own.  Unfortunately, I have not used it much since it was given to me for my birthday, but since the recipes I have used from it have all been wonderful it was time to pull it off the shelf.

As is my habit, I started changing things right away.  I hate to wash dishes by hand if I can avoid it (although usually Hey, Babe is the one who does it for me), so muffins were out.  So were the raisins, blarg! which should almost never be cooked as far as I am concerned.  The Storm Sprite was asleep now so waiting for butter to soften was out, sub in some oil instead.  And lastly, since I was using homemade pumpkin puree and it was a bit thinner than the canned stuff, I swapped out the buttermilk (which I didn't have anyway) for some sour cream, reasoning that it was thicker and might help balance the extra moisture from the pumpkin.  (With all the changes I make to every recipe I ever come across, can I really say that I like someone's recipe?  Or do I just like my adaptations of it?  I don't think I'll ever know.)

It was delicious.  Tender, moist, slightly sweet, and with a nice crunch from the walnuts.  The warmth from the spices were just right for fall.  I still have a hard time calling it a bread instead of a cake or something.  It doesn't help that I baked it in a baking dish instead of a bread pan.  I wasn't sure that it would turn out right if there wasn't enough surface area for the moisture to evaporate, so I opted for my 7" x 11" pyrex dish.  It is kind of an odd size, but I got it with a set and I use it more than I thought I would.  If I didn't have it, I would have probably just split the batter between two bread pans.  Next time, to circumvent the whole cake/bread problem, I think I will throw on a streusel topping with some brown sugar and chopped walnuts and just call it a coffee cake, problem solved.

Pumpkin Bread, Cake, Whatever
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 Pinch of ground allspice
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Put oven rack in middle position  and preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 7" x 11" baking dish (or two regular sized bread pans).  Set aside.

While oven is preheating, mix together all the dry ingredients from the flour through the allspice.  In a separate bowl, combine the two sugars and the oil until well mixed.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.  Stir in the vanilla, pumpkin and sour cream.  

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until they are just combined.  Add the walnuts and stir just until they are evenly distributed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (mine took 30) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set pan on a rack and cool 5 minutes before loosening the cake/bread from the sides of the pan.  Let finish cooling completely. 


  1. Whatever you call it, it looks delicious. Pumpkin bread is one of the best things about fall and I always enjoy making several loaves of it.

  2. Ohhhh, you never said you had WALNUTS IN IT! I want some next time...
    -one of your brothers


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