It ain’t fall until someone bakes up some pumpkin

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Well, two posts in a week…  That’s a little scary, and let’s not set this up as an unmeetable precedent.  However, I took a couple of minutes and baked an absolutely delightful fall treat and I needed to share.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  It brings the promise of football, snuggling in blankets, wooly sweaters, and the comforting heartier foods of the season. The thick stews, long braised fatty meat, and slow roasted Brussels Sprouts make my mouth water. But let’s be honest, if you were playing Password and could only name one food to conjure up the idea of fall, it would be pumpkin.

To say I merely “like” to use pumpkin in my cooking would probably be an understatement. I love the stuff to the extent that I’ve even tried baking fresh pumpkin for pies. That works okay, but let’s be honest, Libby’s has the pumpkin game locked down.

What isn’t always easy is making a pumpkin baked item that is light. Pumpkin baked goods can end up can end up seeming a little heavy.  Last year after a few pumpkin bread and muffin fails I have been looking around for a new recipe. So when I saw the Tartine bakery’s Pumpkin Tea Cake virtues extolled several times, I thought I had to hunt up a recipe and make it myself.  What I like about Chic Eats’ post is the flexibility to use a scale or cups to measure out ingredients (I used my scale).

This recipe is very easy, and it bakes up an incredibly moist quick bread masquerading as a snack cake. It has a very pumpkiny taste, tender crumb, and did I mention it was moist? The extra sugar creates a crackly crust on top that sets off the moist cake beneath. You can bake it in smaller loafs, just adjust the cooking time down. The only change I made was I use much less spice than the recipe called for and I added in one of my own. I used 1t cinnamon, 1/4t ground cloves, pinch of ginger (my addition), and several generous gratings of whole nutmeg.  I don’t love baked goods that are drowning in the pumpkin pie spices, and that amount of cinnamon would have put my teeth on edge, but if you like to (pie) spice it up, go for it.  But do get on baking this cake; it won’t be fall until you do.

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Tartine Bakery’s Pumpkin Tea Cake from Chic Eats

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