February 28, 2013

Pumpkin Bread (vegan and gluten-free)

© The Conscious Kitchen.com

I have been making my mother's recipe for pumpkin bread since I have been a teenager.  Her recipe bakes into excellent loaves or muffins and has consistently been one of my favorite things to make for Thanksgiving and holiday gifts. But I have never thought of it as something that should be limited to enjoy during the holidays. I have always loved it as a year round favorite to make for snacks, breakfast, and dessert. The big problem with this 40 year old recipe is that it is laden with with oil, sugar, and eggs. After putting it off for far too long, I finally gave this beloved recipe a much deserved overhaul.

Some recipes are easier to convert than others, but I felt that this recipe, already made with pumpkin puree and oil would work out well. In putting together a recipe that would not only translate to being vegan and gluten-free, but also a little healthier was where my challenge laid. The original recipe called for 1 cup of vegetable oil, 6 eggs, 3 cups of white flour, and and a whopping 3 cups of sugar!

The renovated pumpkin bread is a winner. The recipe comes pretty darn close to the original when it comes to the flavor and texture. It is equally moist and is just sweet enough without being overly so. If you do not have an issue with gluten, I would recommend making the recipe with spelt or whole wheat flour as the cakes will have a better texture as well as make them higher in dietary fiber. I also suggest the addition of the walnuts as they lend a bit of fattiness and crunch that the cakes benefit from. Regardless, choosing to make it gluten-free or without nuts, I have succeeded in making this recipe lower in fat, sugar, and calories without the loss of taste.

Pumpkin Bread (gluten-free and vegan)
Makes 2 loaves  
3 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (whole wheat or spelt flour will work beautifully if gluten is not an issue)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (do not use if making recipe with wheat or spelt flour)
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum free
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
 4 tablespoons potato starch
 4 cups pumpkin puree
 1/2 cup unsweetened plant based milk such as soy, almond, or coconut
 2 cups maple syrup, preferably grade B
1 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum (if using gluten-free flour), baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and potato starch.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, milk, and maple syrup.

Add the mixed dry ingredients to the mixed wet ingredients.

If using walnuts, which I highly recommend, add them in to the batter. My children are not fond of nuts in their pumpkin bread so I make one loaf without nuts, and add 1/2 cup of nuts to the remaining batter for the second loaf.

Use parchment paper to partially line the loaf pans. I like to make sure that it will line the 3 largest parts of the loaves, the bottom and the lengths on either side leaving about 2-3 inches of paper remaining outside of the pans. This will help unmold the loaves from the pans without difficulty. As there is not added oil in the recipe, even greasing the pans will not be sufficient.

Once the parchment is laid into the pans, spray the lined pans with baking spray. This will not only help the ends of the loaves that are not lined release from the pans, but will also prevent the parchment from sticking to the cakes.

Put the loaves on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean. If you are unsure, bake them for an extra 5-10 minutes. Due to the high volume of pumpkin in the recipe, the cakes will be moist.

Remove the loaves from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before unmolding from the pans. Try to wait until they are completely cool before slicing. A knife with a serrated edge will work best for slicing this cake.

The loaves will keep wrapped tightly at room temperature for up to 5 days.


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Categories: Cakes & Pies, Desserts, Fall & Winter, Gluten Free, Kids in the Kitchen, Snacks, Nibbles & Finger Food, Vegan Desserts

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