Most of you who know me understand that baking and photography are two of my passions. Earlier this week, I decided to indulge in a little of both. Actually, the photography inspiration happened as I was baking. The way the sun was streaming in through the kitchen window just begged me to photograph what was happening around that area – and that happened to be the pumpkin bread I was baking.
I used to think I had the perfect pumpkin bread recipe. It was my grandma’s. What’s not to love about that? Then I tasted Starbucks’s pumpkin loaf. It has the perfect balance of sweet and spice. So, of course, I saw a challenge ahead of me: recreate Starbucks’s perfect pumpkin loaf. I think I’ve come pretty close. Grandma would definitely approve. My remaking of my grandma’s bread sort of reminds me of
Caroline Coopersmith, the heroine of my book TEXAS MAGIC (Special Edition, October 2012). Caroline’s secret passion is baking. She and I have that in common, but where we differ is that Caroline tends to cling too tightly to tradition – even if it’s making her miserable. It’s only when hero Drew Montgomery helps her realize that she has spent too many years doing what’s expected of her, not what makes her happy that she is able to fall in love and live her dream.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about family tradition. But there’s nothing wrong with giving it a new twist every once in a while.
Tell me about your family traditions. Are there any that you’ve given your own signature? How did that go over with the family?
Here’s what I did with the pumpkin bread:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (be sure to get the plain pumpkin puree not the pumpkin pie filling – otherwise, it will be too spicy)
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup of roasted Pepita/pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan.
2. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves into a small bowl.
3. Beat (for about 1 minute) the butter, sugar, and oil on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Set your mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture and 2/3 cup water and mix until just combined. Do not over-beat.
5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
6. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top of the batter.
7. Bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the loaf pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.