Triple Ginger Pumpkin Bread

I'm in the midst of one of those periods of time in which I don't want to do anything. I take medication for diagnosed anxiety and depression but, despite the medicine, I'm having a tiny relapse. Perhaps I'm having sympathy pains for my friends and family, a few of whom have suffered devastating blows this week. Whatever the reason may be, it makes accomplishing anything all that much harder. For one of my jobs, I work from home, and that's been impossible when all I want to do is lay around and watch reruns of Sex and the City. I'm trying to establish an Ashtanga yoga practice but when I wake up in the morning, the idea of going to yoga feels as impossible as learning how to fly. 

But, what's more comforting than pumpkin bread in the fall? If that's true, then there's been tons of comforting going on around here, since a lot of pumpkin bread was made and consumed in the making of this recipe. By "a lot," I mean, like 9 or 10 loaves. Ryan and I ate all of it, gluttons that we are. 

I had to make so many of them because I was looking for something particular in a pumpkin bread. I wanted something dark and moist, with tons of ginger and spice. I wanted it to feel like a very fall cake, since the weather here in L.A. is anything but fall-like. It's time like these that I miss my days in cold weather climates. 

Baking pumpkin bread after pumpkin bread in this heat was torture, but I wanted to get the recipe up right now because it's the height of the pumpkin mania. While we all might turn our noses up at the pumpkin oreos and pumpkin spice M&Ms, who doesn't like pumpkin bread? Along with pumpkin pie, I think it was one of the original pumpkin-based fall foods.

After many trials, I found that the recipe for the best pumpkin bread came from Tartine. However, I wanted it to be spicier, with lots of ginger, and some kind of crunchy, sugary topping. This is the result, now my go-to fall treat.

Triple Ginger Pumpkin Bread

Makes one 9 x 5" loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil such as safflower or sunflower
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar + 1 tbsp for pumpkin seed topping
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs + 1 egg white (for topping)
  • 1 tbsp grated or very finely minced ginger 
  • 1 tbsp dried ginger
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced or finely sliced candied ginger for topping
  • Scant 1/4 cup toasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for topping

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. 
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and dried ginger in a bowl. 
  3. In another mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the pumpkin puree, grated ginger, oil, sugar, and salt on a medium speed or by hand until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition until incorporated before adding the next egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for five to ten seconds to make a smooth batter. The batter should have the consistency of a thick puree.
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula, and place in the oven for about 40 minutes until not done, but almost set. While it's in the oven, make the pumpkin seed topping by putting the pumpkin seeds and candied ginger in a bowl with the heaping tablespoon of sugar. In another bowl, whisk the egg white until very frothy. Mix about 1 tbsp of the egg white mixture into the pumpkin seed mixture. All the pumpkin seeds should be lightly and evenly coated. However, too much egg white will keep the seeds from crisping on the cake. Add more, if needed, but less is better in this case.  
  5. At around 40 minutes of cooking (or more, remember, it needs to be almost set) remove from the oven and top gently with pumpkin seed topping. Return to the oven and cook another 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin seeds are evenly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  6. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, and then invert onto a cooling rack. Turn right side up and let cool completely.