Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin Bread

This week has been unseasonably (and historically) rainy here in Boulder.  Along with that, it has been pretty chilly with dark, looming skies.  A lot of us are stuck inside, and the schools are closed, which means my little ones are home for the foreseeable future.  So:  cold, rainy, flooding, school cancelled.  I think we need a little warmth and brightness, and this spicy pumpkin bread would help at least a little bit!  

This is not a Baking with Julia recipe, I should note.  Julia's pumpkin bread takes over 24 hours to make and we need comfort food now!  This recipe is one of my own that my lovely-about-to-be-married cousin shared with me several years ago and is a regular part of our autumn arsenal.  It's spicy and sweet, and I top it off with my cream cheese frosting that is always everyone's favorite.  It's hard to not let everyone eat both loaves at once.

Heat your oven to 350.

Take 1 cup of vegetable oil (I actually used olive oil because I don't usually have vegetable oil around.  And thinking about it, I'm sure that coconut oil would be awesome, too) and mix it with two cups of sugar in your mixer.  Mix well.

Next I just put in two cups of flour, the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt and mix it lightly to just barely combine.  I don't sift them, or fuss with them, or anything.  I just put it in and it works great.  

The eggs should be room temperature when you use them.  When I don't plan in advance and have not left my eggs out, I bring their temperature up by soaking them in a warm bowl of water for 5-10 minutes.  It works like a charm!

I then put in the eggs one at a time, beating until combined, and follow with the 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  

I finish it off by putting in one can of pumpkin, which again I mixed just until combined well.  I like to also use a rubber spatula to go around the edges of the bowl to make sure no flour is sticking and not incorporating.  I give the spatula a few gentle turns.

Butter two loaf pans.  I have recently started doing this by hand instead of using the spray.   Personally, I don't want the chemicals and artificial things in my baked goods.  It usually only takes two or three minutes longer to butter and flour the pans yourself, and how much better will everything taste with melted butter on it, as opposed to soybean oil/silicone dioxide spray?

Pour in the batter and let these guys bake for about 50 minutes.  

Let them cool in their pans for 10 minutes before turned them out, then let them cook on wire racks.  It took mine a couple of hours to cool completely, but let them get to room temperature before putting on the frosting.

For the frosting, take one stick of room temperature butter, one container of cream cheese (also room temp) and beat well.  If you don't want to leave out your cream cheese to get to room temperature, soak it the same way as the eggs, keeping it in it's foil wrapper.  

Add about four cups of powdered sugar, and again, beat well.  Take your spatula and go around the inside of the bowl to get any sugar sticking to the sides.  Add about a tablespoon of vanilla, mix it in, and you're done!  This is the BEST frosting on the planet.

When the cakes are cooled, slice them in half and then spread with frosting.

Reassemble, and frost the tops, too.

This will keep for several days in the fridge, if your family doesn't get too tempted by them just waiting there for them.

Enjoy!  And enjoy the coming autumn!

Pumpkin Bread
2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves 
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil combine with electric mixer
4 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla 
1 15oz can of pumpkin 

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 Stick of butter
1 Container of Cream Cheese 
4 cups of Powdered Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla

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