1 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour, fluffed then spooned into the measuring cups
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt, fine ground (like kosher, if sea salt run it through a spice/coffee mill)
1 1/4 Teaspoons Vietnamese Cinnamon, finely ground
1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom, finely ground
1/4 Teaspoon Clove, finely ground
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice, finely ground
1/3 Cup Shortening
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs, well beaten
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 “standard” sized loaf tin (about 9x5x3 inches or 21x11x6 centimeters), greased
1 electric mixer, stand or hand-held will work
2 large bowls
1 rubber spatula
optional: an instant-read thermometer
1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or about 177 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. In a different large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar using an electric or stand mixer. (Cream meaning to beat it a lot until the color and texture changes to being light and fluffy; with an electric mixer this usually takes a minimum of around 3-5 minutes – technically you can do this by hand, but it would probably take at least 30 minutes [at least that’s what some of my really old cookbooks have told me; I haven’t tried it out.])
4. Add beaten eggs to bowl with sugar and shortening and combine well.
5. Alternate adding flour and pumpkin to shortening mixture until just combined, do not over-mix unless you want the texture to be closer to bread than cake.
6. Bake in a greased loaf tin for 50-70 minutes (until internal temperature registers at least 180F [82.2C] to 200F [93.3C] – once you go over 200F it starts to be very dry/overbaked). You could also just poke it with a knife or toothpick to see if it comes out clean like most people do when checking if a cake is done or not.
7. Let bread cool in tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack.
8. Allow to cool at least 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours before icing or slicing. Enjoy!
I’ve been working on this recipe on and off over the course of a few years, and I’m still not sure I have my holy-grail of pumpkin quick breads yet. I do know that I’ve finally dialed in my optimum spice mix though. The previous iterations used nutmeg instead of allspice, and it was the allspice that was missing. I may eventually add a few gratings of nutmeg back in next time to give it a try, but I’m very pleased with the flavor balance I currently have. This is based off of my family’s old-fashioned banana bread recipe – take out the spices and pumpkin and sub banana and that’s it. I noticed that this batter is a bit tighter than the banana bread recipe it’s based on though. It’s still somewhat moist in the center, but the edges are fairly dry (though that could be because I pulled it out when it temped at 200F instead of 180F). I may eventually play with adding in some buttermilk and subbing some baking soda for the baking powder since the acid in the buttermilk would activate the baking soda. (Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening/rising agents; baking powder is basically pre-activated baking soda. The nice thing about baking powder is that you don’t have to worry about activating it with an acid like you do with baking soda; the bad thing is that it has a little bit of a funky aftertaste if you get too much of it [which isn’t an issue in this recipe – it’s just a technical detail you have to be aware of when creating recipes]). Potentially, the buttermilk could also create a more tender product which would make over-mixing less of a worry for new bakers. In the meanwhile, this is where the recipe is at, and I’m pretty happy with it. If you want you could mix up some royal icing to top it with, but I don’t like it very sweet. If I do add a bit of extra sugar to it once it’s baked it’s usually in the form of a light dusting of icing/confectioner’s sugar on an individual slice.