Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Oct 28, 2011

Is that not just the cutest loaf of bread you've ever set eyes on? I know, right? Not only is this loaf shaped like a pumpkin, but it tastes like one, too.

Pumpkin-y goodness.

Oh, yum.


Lest I commit an unpardonable sin and forget to mention... It makes for just about the best darn French Toast I've ever pulled off the griddle. And I believe that my dear mother would wholeheartedly agree with me. Yes, we love us some pumpkin spice French Toast slathered in butter and topped with plenty of pure maple syrup. Especially on cool mornings like this one, bundled in our fleece pj's, reading the morning paper together.

This, my friends, is what Autumn is all about.

Notes: The original recipe calls for exclusively bread flour, but I found it worked wonderfully with a bit of hard whole-wheat, too, and gave it just a nudge more of the heartiness that I love. Use what you have on hand. I suspect that even all-purpose flour would do alright in place of the bread flour, though the dough will not have as strong of a rise or quite as structured of a crumb. Baking this dough in two loaf pans with a few slashes cut on the top of each would work just fine - for convenience's sake on those busy days.

Adapted from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

Oct 11, 2011

Welcome, my favorite season of the year! Welcome crunchy leaves, red apples, crisp air, cinnamon, and big cozy sweaters. Oh, how I've missed you so. 

To me, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

If anything says Autumn - it's this cake. Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze, to be more specific.

I've made this cake exactly three times in the past week and a half. It's so good I probably should have made it more, now that I think about it in terms of numbers like that. Every time I got out a glass bowl and the mixer, my sister would say something along the lines of, "Let me guess.... The Spice Cake again?" I would proudly answer in the affirmative with a firm nod of my head. And then she would slowly saunter away with a slight grin on her face because she secretly loves this cake as much as I do, but for some reason thinks it's silly that I've made it so much lately. I, on the other hand, will not be shy when it comes to something so perfect for the season. I'll make The Spice Cake as much as I want, thank you very much.

This cake has taken its place as my current favorite (wouldn't ya know!). Thanks to the loads of applesauce, it is so absolutely moist. The applesauce also gives the cake a perfectly subtle apple flavor. And when a generous amount of cinnamon and spice is added, wonderful things begin to happen. AND then.... I won't even say how completely heavenly the caramel glaze is - I'll leave that one up to you to decide as you sneak a taste or two of the dripping glaze. (It's okay. I'll be the first to admit I did it too. Not shy about this cake, remember?)

Please make this cake. You will be filled with all sorts of Autumnal joy if you do. Promise.

Notes: Since my dad tends to two apple trees out back, we have an abundance of canned homemade applesauce in the basement. If you are so inclined, make a quick batch of your own - homemade applesauce is simply the best. It's lovely in this recipe, too - so fresh and flavorful. I made a few of my own tweaks to the original recipe, of course. First of all, I one-and-a-halved the recipe because I like my bundt cakes nice and tall, with about 3 cups of total flour. It's the perfect amount for a 12-cup bundt pan. Also, I used a couple of whole-grain flours along with a bit of all-purpose. If you don't have the whole-grains on hand, certainly all-purpose can be used for all 3 cups of flour. I also decreased the amount of sugar because the applesauce is so sweet itself, I didn't feel that the cake needed any more, especially with the rich caramel glaze. And last, but certainly not least, olive oil replaced the vegetable because I simply love olive oil in cakes like this. It's a barely noticeable taste, but works perfectly here.

Adapted from Food 52

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