December 5, 2011

Baking things slow, like molasses

I tend to enjoy coming-of-age stories, and Laura Morirarty's The Center of Everything is no different. Told from the female perspective, it runs in the same vein as Mona Simpson's Anywhere but Here. Both books suck you in and hold you there for a time, reminding you of how it can be all too possible for a teenage girl to intermittently adore and hate her mother; it is a bond unlike any other she will form in her life.
I watch Deena draw on her pumpkin with a ballpoint pen. The swirling lines she's making don't look like anything yet, but I know they will. She never messes up.
"You're so good at things like this," I tell her.
She looks up quickly, like I have surprised her. "No," she says. "Not really."
--The Center of Everything, Laura Moriarty
The pumpkin carving scene above reminded me that I will always prefer to eat a pumpkin rather than carve one. Maybe it's just because I'm more of a fatty than an artist. Tonight, I did something I've been meaning to do since Thanksgiving: I baked a pumpkin gingerbread loaf. I must say I'm quite pleased with the results; it came out splendidly moist with good spiced flavor.

At my sister's suggestion, I also made a glaze to go along with it. The glaze is optional, however; reserved for those who can get behind the phrase "the sweeter the better." It's also very fun to drizzle on top of the cake. I love drizzling! (...referring to glazes and sauces, not the weather, though that can be nice at times, too, I suppose.)

Glazed Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf
For the loaf
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup melted butter (unsalted)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup pumpkin puree (1/2 of a 15-oz. can)
2 extra-large eggs
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cinnamon glaze
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 1/2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 sprinkling of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a loaf pan and set aside. combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until they are well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 min.

Prepare the glaze while the loaf is baking. Whisk all glaze ingredients together and drizzle over the finished cake.

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