This is one of those things you call “bread” instead of “cake” just to make yourself feel better about it. Feel free to fool yourself. I won’t judge you, and your true friends won’t either.
This uses fresh pumpkin, you can use canned as a substitute but please don’t tell me about it. That was me judging you.
Make ahead in an ideal world:
Fresh Pumpkin Puree for baking
1 2lb sugarpie pumpkin
olive, canola, or other oil
Halve the pumpkin, remove the seeds, reserve them to clean & roast if you like. Lightly coat the exposed flesh of the pumpkin with oil, put into a close fitting pan with sides, add a cup or so of water and roast at 375 until the skin has puffed up from the pumpkin and it looks cooked, at least 45 minutes but probably more like 1.5 hours. If the water dries up consider adding a bit more as you check on it.
Remove the skin once it’s cooled enough to touch, and puree in a food processor or blender, cutting into chunks that your machine can process. If its excessively watery, put it in a cheesecloth and press, let it drain. Mine didn’t require this so I just used it like that.
Pumpkin Walnut Bread (Adapted from Joy the Baker) – Makes two loaves
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Buckwheat flour (sub whole wheat or all purpose if you must)
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice or baking spice mix
1/2 tsp cloves
2 cups pumpkin puree (15 oz or so)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1 cup walnuts in any state you like
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour your 2 loaf pans or wait to grease if you’re using a spray oil like I did. Terrible for the environment, good for baking.
In large bowl, whisk flours, sugars, baking soda, powder, salt, spices.
In medium bowl, whisk pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, egg, water. Start with the egg to whisk it well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold in some of the walnuts, but reserve some for top.
Put into the batter in the pans equally (I made do with one pan, for those of you who have seen my kitchen you probably understand why I only have one pan), top with walnut pieces. Bake for 1hr-1.25 hours, or until a skewer put into the center of the loaf comes out non-gooey.
Let it rest in the pan a bit before removing it, or you’ll lose some of the bottom of the cake.
This is best warm but you can freeze it for future eating and then toast it and serve with cream cheese or creme fraiche.
Wine: This is great with a young, inexpensive Sauternes. Yes, such a thing exists.