I love autumn. It’s a major reason why I love autumn baking, because it really makes me feel the arrival of autumn down to my bones. The only problem is I live in the tropics, where autumn is virtually non-existent. Perhaps the closest thing we have to autumn here is the slightly chilly, windy December weather which I love so much. During this time, the trees change their leaves, and every so often one would find a clump of yellowed fallen leaves as one goes around the city. It just doesn’t crunch in the same way as the orange-brown leaves of fall do.
Despite living in a country with no autumn, I’ve been fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to experience autumn several times during my youth. My favourite is probably the autumn I spent in Australia. I even remember being overcome by an odd feeling of calm as I walked through Hyde Park in Sydney, making my way through rows and rows of trees with orange leaves swirling with the wind or hanging precariously on the branches. The melodious chirps of birds and the crunching of leaves beneath my shoes sang in chorus with the soft whispering winds of fall– the same wind that made my hair look a good kind of unkempt. In the distance, the statue of Captain Cook stood welcoming autumn with his outstretched hand…
As I go through this memory in my mind, my only regret is not being free enough to go back to Australia during autumn. The last time I was there, I was too young to realise the value of carrying a camera everywhere as I do now when I travel. I most definitely will snap a million orange photos the next time I visit.
I miss autumn an awful lot, which is why I guess when all these autumn recipes start popping up on my feed, I can’t help but want to go along with it. Funnily enough, I don’t particularly like the season that comes after autumn. I can’t stand the cold weather of winter (which quite frankly I’ve experienced more times than autumn because we travel a lot during Christmastime), but let us save that story for another time.
Now this bread has a ton of autumn elements; starting with the pumpkin and the spices. It was inspired by pumpkin spice latte but instead of espresso powder, I made a mistake of using instant coffee which I could not taste at all in the bread. I did like how wonderfully the coffee topping soaks into the bread, though perhaps it would have been better to use espresso as it can provide a stronger flavour. Heck instant coffee in liquid form could have been more effective as well.
Next time I reckon I would lessen the cloves and nutmeg since my family doesn’t particularly like heavily-spiced baked goods. The bread was gorgeous nonetheless, with a wonderfully moist and tender crumb. I wonder if I should add chocolate chips next time.
Pumpkin Espresso Bread
Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf (or two 6 x 3-inch loaves)
For the Pumpkin Bread
- 3/4 cup 150 grams brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup 245 grams canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup 118 ml vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup 59 ml milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups 188 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg *
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Brown Sugar Espresso Topping
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the bread
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or two 6 x 3-inch loaf pans).
- 2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.
- 3. Fold in the flour, baking soda, espresso powder, spices, and salt. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Make the topping
- 4. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, espresso powder, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the pumpkin batter. **
- 5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.
** If you wish, you can top the loaves with chocolate chips or any other coffee-flavoured topping of choice. Adapted from Pastry Affair blog