|Big Orange Pumpkin Bread|
I met my husband, Paul, in the geekiest place possible – the computer lab. While most of my hip college girlfriends met their boyfriends at mixers or waited until their ripe middle-twenties to start thinking maybe someday off in the distant future they might get married, I simply looked to the right of my desk into brown eyes the color of maple syrup and a smile that would melt butter. We went out for pancakes that same night and were married one year later.
As geeky as hanging out in the computer lab might seem, (and old-fashioned – do they even have computer labs anymore?) we had what seemed like endless amounts of time to hang out in labs and other college places. One of our favorites was a ridiculously dark windowless café in the basement of the student center called Rafters. Gloomy and dim as a cave, it served delicious coffee in a time pre-dating Starbucks and it showcased the University of Tennessee Bakery – a bakery known by students and locals for delicious cakes, pastries, cookies and pies and widely regarded as having the best pumpkin bread in the entire world. Dark like gingerbread and rich with pumpkin, the bread scented the air with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Students and visitors filled the lines each morning when the bread was brought in and sliced in inch-thick slabs and served warm. It is one of the few batter breads I have ever had that is equally good cold too.
If you haven’t had this treat at U.T., then you cannot understand how good this bread tastes. After years of reminiscing among friends about how much we missed it, my sister-in-law, Tara, made it her personal mission to track down the recipe so we could make it at home. She found someone who knew someone who could smuggle us the recipe. You can make this one or if you live in Knoxville order some direct.
|Made in a really cute Nordic Ware Pumpkin Patch Pan|
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
¾ tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
¾ tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup water
1. Mix sugar and eggs in mixer until combined. Add oil and mix until combined.
2. Add pumpkin, vanilla and all spices. Mix well.
3. Whisk flour with salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add into wet ingredients to combine and mix well.
4. Add water and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.
5. Pour into standard 6 cup loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until internal temp reaches 210 degrees.
6. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes then release.
7. Cool for 30 minutes and serve warm with whipped cream if you have it or cool completely.
Notes- this recipe is easily doubled and the bread freezes very well. It is really even better the next day if it lasts that long.