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Pumpkin bread is pretty much the epitome of pumpkin-y goodness to me. Even more than pumpkin pie, if you can believe that. I do love pumpkin pie, but I’m more of a cake person than a pie person, and pumpkin bread is like a cake that you get to eat during dinner. Wee! And you can have it for breakfast, guilt-free. Why? Because it’s pumpkin bread, not pumpkin cake. Heh. Perfectly legitimate breakfast option. Of course, if you were to slather on a nice layer of cream cheese frosting, it would be very cake-like… but let’s not blur those lines too much, shall we? It’s bread, and therefore, I get to eat a thick slab of it during dinner and still get to have dessert too.
This is my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It’s moist and tender and spicy. It’s everything pumpkin bread should be! This makes two loaves, perfect for giving away as a holiday hostess present, or to your neighbors, or to bring in to work to make your coworkers love you… Or just keep them both for yourself! The loaves freeze well, wrapped in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil.
Adapted from AllRecipes.com
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour*
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 10-inch loaf pans**.
- In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake for about 60 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
*You can use 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour and leave out the white whole wheat, but it makes it a bit healthier and you can’t taste it. So if you have it, use it, but if you don’t, you don’t need to run out and buy a bag!
**You can also make muffins with this recipe, which I haven’t done yet, but the recipe should yield about 24 muffins.
Oh, I miss this cake.
I distinctly remember the moment when I discovered this recipe. I was thumbing through (devouring, really) my just-arrived copy of Everyday Food magazine. There are a lot of delicious-looking recipes in that issue (November 2011), but when I came to this one, I just stopped and stared.
Maple cake. A layer cake made with lots of maple syrup. Okay. First of all, I love me some layer cakes. I prefer cake over all other desserts, and I prefer layer cakes with frosting over unfrosted cakes. Second: maple syrup is one of my favorite flavors. It’s so good, it’s so… maple-y. It’s a unique flavor, isn’t it? There’s really nothing else like it. And then this divine confection of maple-y goodness is topped not just with frosting, but with brown sugar frosting?!
So I handed the magazine to my husband and pretty much demanded that I make it as soon as possible. As you can imagine, he wasn’t about to hold me back. He knows a good thing when he sees it. His wife is hell-bent on baking a cake? He definitely can’t complain about that!
I made it that weekend, and while the recipe does take a good amount of maple syrup (1 1/2 cups! yowza), I knew that it would be worth it, even though pure maple syrup is rather pricey. While the cake was baking, the house was filled with the most luscious maple aroma ever.
This cake is dense and moist with a nice tight crumb a lot like a pound cake. The flavor is divine. The maple really shines through – the flavor is right out in front, not like some maple recipes that you kind of have to search for the taste of maple. The brown sugar frosting is the perfect complement. I actually forgot to add the walnuts to the cake batter (I remembered after the cake had been baking for 10 minutes, oops!) and I think it turned out wonderfully, so I’m going to say that the walnuts are optional. I topped mine with maple sprinkles that we bought at a sugaring-off festival in New Hampshire this past spring. If you use walnuts in the batter, you can make a ring of whole walnuts around the top edge.
Maple Layer Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Adapted slightly from Everyday Food, November 2011
Yield: 10 Servings Prep time: 45 minutes Total time: 1 hour 15 minute, plus cooling
For the cake:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup chopped walnut halves, toasted (optional)
For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper; lightly grease parchment. Flour parchment and sides (tapping out excess); set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on medium-high, add maple syrup in a slow, steady stream. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with milk, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Fold in walnuts, if using.
- Divide batter between pans; firmly tap pans on a flat surface several times to remove air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks, 15 minutes, then invert onto racks; peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and let cool completely on racks.
- Make frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and brown sugar on high until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Assemble cake: Place one layer, top side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread top evenly with 1 1/2 cups frosting. Top with second layer, top side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and around sides of cake.