Baking Therapy (Pumpkin Gingerbread recipe)
Last week was rough. There were several deaths and illnesses in our circles of friends and colleagues, and a lot of anxiety and sadness and worry all around. And I had to professionally sort of hold it together through everything, which was a challenge…
So I indulged in a lot of creative Baking Therapy. I don’t know why this works for me, but whenever I need to get grounded and find my emotional balance and self-identity again, baking is one of the best things for me. Which is weird, because normally I’m not a baker–I love to cook, but baking is something I don’t immediately gravitate to…just for therapy, I guess.
I still had some little half-cups of frozen pumpkin puree in the freezer (when I baked my pumpkin in the fall and pureed the flesh, I put half-cup portions into a muffin tin and froze it. Then I could pop the little pumpkin bits out and have pre-measured puree. Next year I need to do a lot more of it!), so I went looking for the perfect pumpkin snack cake recipe. This one (again, heavily tweaked by moi) seemed to fit the bill:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup powdered milk (could omit and use 3 cups sugar, but it’s too sweet for me that way!)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce (could omit the oil and just do a whole cup of applesauce, but I went crazy this time, I guess:-)
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (or two cups)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Mix sugar, powdered milk, oil if using, and applesauce until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add orange juice and pumpkin, mix well till very smooth.
Combine and mix all dry ingredients well; gently fold into wet ingredients and mix just till blended.
Pour into 2 loaf pans or 1 bundt pan; bake at 325 for about an hour or until top springs back when touched and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
This was a seriously good cake–it was flavorful but not too sweet, moist, and just all-around delicious. A big-time keeper.
I also made another round of my zucchini bread, which the kids love, and of course another big batch of my artisan bread dough. (We’re having pizza tonight.)