Maida Heatter’s pumpkin gingerbread

Here is the pumpkin gingerbread recipe from Maida Heatter’s New book of great desserts.

The changes I’ve always made are to use whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose flour, substitute walnuts for the pecans, and to dust the loaf pan with flour instead of bread crumbs. Instead of a metal cake tester you can use a flat wooden toothpick for testing doneness. I wrote a note on the page saying that the bread’s flavor improves after storing in the fridge for a day, tightly wrapped (in aluminum foil, then in a plastic bag).

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
4 ounces (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, large
1/3 cup strong black coffee (or 1 rounded teaspoon instant in 1/3 cup water)
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 cups pecans, broken into large pieces

Adjust a rack to the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You will need a loaf pan that has a 7 cup capacity; that may be 9x5x3 inches (which has an 8 cup capacity), 9x5x2 3/4 inches, or it may be longer and narrower. Butter the pan, dust it all over with fine dry bread crumbs, and tap over a piece of paper to shake out excess crumbs. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and mustard and set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat to mix. Add the eggs and beat to mix. On low speed add half of the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a spatula. Beat only until barely incorporated. Mix in the coffee. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat only until incorporated. Add the pumpkin and, scraping the bowl when necessary, beat only until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Stir in the pecans.

Turn into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Then with the back of a spoon form a trench down the middle, about 1/2 to 1 inch deep. The trench will prevent the middle from rising too high, although it will rise some anyhow, and will form a crack down the length of the cake (it is supposed to), and will be as pretty as a picture.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes until the top feels slightly firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cover the pan with a rack, turn over the pan and rack, remove the pan, cover the cake with another rack, and very carefully (do not squash the cake) turn over again (or gently turn it over with your hands), leaving the cake right side up to cool.


One Comment on “Maida Heatter’s pumpkin gingerbread”

  1. injuredrabbit says:

    Thank you for posting this! I have made it for years; there simply is NO better pumpkin bread OR gingerbread recipe, and this combines the best of both worlds. I have also substituted whole wheat flour for some or all of the all-purpose. Sometimes I omit the nuts altogether. And I’m pretty sure I’ve also reduced the sugar to 1 cup, with no ill effects to the result except for a more subtle sweetness. (This way I can slather it with pumpkin or apple butter, guilt-free!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s