Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread
When did we become so obsessed with all things pumpkin spice? I was at a Trader Joe’s recently where a surprising array of products had been given a pumpkin spice makeover: tortilla chips, body butter, protein bars and even a pumpkin spice face mask. I’m guessing a pumpkin spiced deodorant would have been pushing it too far. And it’s not just Trader Joe’s, everywhere you go it seems the arrival of fall has become synonymous with pumpkin spice. I’m certainly not complaining as I love pumpkin spice, after all it is a very close sibling to the masala or spices used to make Indian chai. Pumpkin spice is typically made from ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes allspice — add cardamom and you have the spices for chai. Cardamom is a spice made with the seeds or pods of several varieties of plants in the ginger family. The flavor can be described as minty. floral, aromatic, spicy and very intense. Cardamom is used regularly in Indian cuisine for both sweet and savory dishes and you certainly can’t make chai without it (it’s what makes chai taste like chai). I took this as my inspiration to make Chai Spiced Pumpkin Bread. I bumped up the spices on my go-to recipe from the Smitten Kitchen (her recipes never fail me) and voila, you have a pretty tasty spiced bread that goes well with an afternoon cup of Earl Grey tea, what could be more fall than that?
RECIPE (MAKES 8 SERVINGS)
1/2 cup (120 ml) neutral cooking oil or melted butter (115 grams)
1 15-ounce can (1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1 2/3 (330 grams) cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Two pinches of ground cloves
2 1/4 cups (295 grams) all-purpose flour
CRUNCHY SUGAR TOPPING
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 8.5 inch loaf pan or coat it with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices over batter and whisk until well-combined. Add flour and stir with a spoon, just until mixed. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top. In a small dish, or empty measuring cup, stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over top of batter.
Bake bread for 65-75 min until a tester poked into all parts of cake (both the top and center will want to hide pockets of uncooked batter) come out batter-free, turning the cake once during the baking time for even coloring.