I went to a friend’s housewarming party this evening, a modified potluck. The host, a chef, provided the bulk with the guests, all foodies (some professionals, some hobbyists), bringing the rest. My contribution: Pumpkin Spice Bread with Cream Cheese Filling.
I was having a bout of indecisiveness so it took me a long time to decide what to bring. I first decided it had to be seasonal, although I missed the farmer’s market yesterday so it was more for timing than ingredients. Second, I wanted a dessert – not sure what, but leaning towards something with apple or pumpkin. I could go on this with for a while but it’s late so I’ll get to the point. I chose a spiced pumpkin bread adapted from Bon Appetit.
However, when the bread was done I found it lacking. Luckily, the recipe made two loaves so I had an extra to experiment with, one I’ll bring to dinner with my family tomorrow night (tastes the same but isn’t as pretty).
After much consideration, I decided on a cream cheese glaze which turned out more like frosting. With those beautiful loaf slices glazed to perfection that you find in coffee shop pastry cases as inspiration, I first tried glaze the top of the cake but found it just didn’t look so great. The top had baked a little unevenly (like actual bread rather than a cake) so the glaze seemed both lumpy and uneven. I then had the great inspiration to slice the loaf in half and ice the center, the way you would with a layer cake. This worked really well but the top still seemed bare. I solved the problem by spooning the remaining icing into a baggie (didn’t use a pastry bag as the original intent was for storage) and snipping off a corner. I then piped the icing in a casual zig-zag across the top for a finishing effect.
As a sidenote, this bread also goes well with dark chocolate. How do I know this? There was chocolate fondue at the party and someone suggested cutting the bread into cubes and dunking it in the chocolate. Gotta say it was damn good.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Icing (Makes 2 loaves)1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Icing 4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease two loaf pans. Set aside.
Combine the granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the vegetable oil and beat until well-combined. Add the eggs one-at-a-time, beating between each addition, then the pumpkin puree and orange zest.
Sift the remaining ingredients through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet batter and mix well.
Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the pumpkin bread from the pans once they’re cool enough to handle. Cool to room temperature then slice in half horizontally.
Make the icing while waiting for the bread to cool. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer (or beat by hand) and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
Once the bread has cooled, spread one-third of the icing on the bottom half of each loaf. Refrigerate until set, then cover with the top half of the bread. Place the remaining one-third of the icing into a pastry bag and cut off the bottom tip. Pipe a decorative zig-zag across the tops of each loaf. Refrigerate to set but allow to come to room temperature before serving.