The first day of fall!
It may still be 95° in Tennessee, but I decided today that I would summon cool weather upon us by baking up a storm of fall inspired things! A few weeks back, I had made a loaf of pumpkin bread on a whim with an easy Pinterest recipe, and it turned out awesome, so I decided to spread my love of fall and bake some for my neighbors!
Now, I use the word “bread” very loosely, and I think you’ll see why when you read the following recipe, which comes by way of geniuskitchen.com:
Pumpkin Bread- No egg, dairy, or nuts
3 cups flour
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Yes, you read that correctly, THREE
POINT FIVE CUPS OF SUGAR! When I
made this last week, I halved the sugar
and it was plenty sweet, so I’ll do that
again today. Since I’m making a double
batch, I pull out my largest mixing bowl
(it’s purple) and begin to combine my dry
As I’m mixing, my husband calls to me from the other room and asks, while I’m already covered in flour and sugar, could I also maybe bake a cake for his game of Dungeons and Dragons? After all, today is the two year anniversary of this campaign, so there really should be cake, right? Naturally I say yes, because I’m that awesome.
Except we have no eggs. And I really had no business saying yes. I don’t make cakes. Who do I think I am, Jessica Chicago?*
I dig out the recipe for my grandmother’s applesauce cake, knowing it has no eggs (because she was allergic, like me). I’ve made this before, it’s simply and yummy and goes well with my fall mood. I speed- read through the ingredients, and realize it’s virtually the same thing I’m already making (with applesauce instead of pumpkin, but actually has LESS sugar, ha!) so I pull out my green mixing bowl, knowing full well there’s a very good chance I’m going to get these mixed up.
Purple for pumpkin, green for apple. I say it out loud 3 times. Purple for pumpkin, green for apple.
The pumpkin “bread” batter comes out beautifully, and I divide it into 4 loaf pans. It needs to bake for 60 minutes, and the cake only needs 45, so I have 15 minutes to get the cake ready to put in the oven.
I mix the flour and sugar, and as I try to cream the butter with the applesauce, I realize that you cannot, in fact, cream butter into applesauce. I had speed-read the recipe and it turns out, the butter was supposed to be creamed with the sugar, not the applesauce. I beat the mixture rapidly with a fork, and they join together about as beautifully as oil and water.
Once I get the liquid mixture semi-homogenized, I mixed it into the flour and sugar. I use every muscle in my arm to crank the wooden spoon and around, and slowly, it begins to mix together. Except, this mixture doesn’t even slightly resemble cake mix. It looks more like mud, and it’s incredibly sticky. Apparently, the order in which you combine the ingredients is -kind of- crucial in baking.
I set the sticky mess aside and contemplate starting over, but I’ve used up all the applesauce. In my pantry there is a box of spice cake mix, but again, I have no eggs. I’m allergic to eggs and my go to trick is to replace the eggs with……applesauce.
Sigh. I should’ve started with the box mix. Who do I think I am, Jessica Chicago?*
I return to the batter and mix it sheepishly as I grab my phone and call my sister, Jessica*, the baker. Surely, she can turn this around. But there’s no answer, I’m on my own here.
Mixing slowly, I add one tablespoon of water at a time until the mixture becomes semi-pourable, and that’s going to have to do. My husband asked for a cake, he didn’t specify “delicious” or even “edible”. It was supposed to fill two 8” rounds, but it barely fills one. Whatever. Into the oven it goes.
After the hour is up, I pull it all out of the oven. I put the cake into the fridge and walk the warm bread to my neighbor’s houses. I’m a hot mess when I get back, because “fall” in Tennessee is just a day on the calendar, and I had found myself cursing the whole endeavor under my breath as I’d sweat my way around the block.
I slap some canned cream cheese frosting onto the cake-thing and call it a day. As I clean up and rotate my sore mixing wrists, I remember something.
I have an electric hand mixer.
I’ve just made four loaves of pumpkin bread and an applesauce spice cake and it never occurred to my non-domesticated brain to pull out my hand mixer.
I hate fall.
(Note: In the end, the cake was a little dense and thin but overall still fairly tasty. As for the pumpkin bread, I never tried it myself, but one of my neighbors texted me later and thanked me, and said Lily liked it more than everyone else. I can’t remember for the life of me if Lily was the baby or the dog. I’m choosing to believe she’s the baby.)
Observations for next time:
Shop Kroger’s bakery
Be Jessica Chicago*