Chatting with a chef friend yesterday, I nodded in complete agreement at his opinion on pumpkin everything: “I love a good pumpkin pie, but all the pumpkin spice latte and the rest — it’s just too much.” So many pumpkin-spice items are over the top, and a good many bear kind of a fake aftertaste. But there’s nothing wrong with using pumpkin pie spices in the right way, of course. That’s how I came up with Pumpkin Gingerbread. Baked like a pumpkin loaf, it’s a blend of spices you associate with pumpkin pie — along with molasses, ginger, and cardamom. The pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds) on top provide both a pretty topping and good crunch in the bite. With a cup of coffee, it’s a good morning treat. Or, top it with whipped cream and you have a perfect fall dessert. It’s so quick and easy, and your kitchen smells like heaven.
Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ season sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dark molasses
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
½ to ¾ cup roasted, salted pepitas
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
In a large bowl, blend butter and brown sugar. Add flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom. Mix well. Add eggs a little at a time, blending well. Stir in buttermilk and molasses, then pumpkin, until combined and smooth.
Turn into prepared loaf pan and top with pepitas.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at center comes away clean.
Cool for at least 15 minutes before removing to a plate. Cool another 10 minutes before slicing and serving.