Loafing Around

I baked pumpkin bread a few times this fall: to pair with wine night (which evolved into tequila night), to carry along on a hiking trip (i.e., walking along a gravel-paved path), and to bundle up as a thank-you gift for a friend.


In the last case, the friend’s name is Elvy. We met in Buenos Aires, where she helped me in a hospital lobby. She found me confused about the pharmacy process, and marched me through the streets, tracking down my prescriptions. We reconnected in Boston three months later, when she moved to Cambridge with her husband for a 9-month research project.

This past fall, Elvy and I spent Wednesday afternoons together, and she was kind (not to mention adventurous) enough to allow me to write an article about her for my profile writing class. She’s an incredibly generous woman, who shared many a story and meal with me over the past few months as my cafe companion and profile subject. We’d meet in Harvard’s downstairs Gato Rojo cafe, Crema Cafe on Brattle Street, Cafe Pamplona on Bow Street, Flour Cafe in Back Bay, and Life Alive in Central Square. To say the least, we indulged in a few coffee, tea, and soup situations to keep warm as the temperatures gradually dropped.

If you’ve got no choice but to tell someone “good-bye,” are fixated on dreaming up a sweet thank-you gift, or just want to spread some seasonal love, make this pumpkin cake your answer to every question, triple the batch, and keep giving.

It’s rich, soft, and spiced. Mini chocolate chips add a melty dessert quality without turning it into a totally chocolate-dominated treat. It’s more of a spiced pumpkin cake than a bread, but if it’s breakfast time, just ignore that conclusion and call it a loaf—appropriate for any time of day.

If you can ground your cloves fresh, DO IT TO IT. I used a coffee grinder and borrowed a sprinkling of cloves since that’s what was hidden in the shared spice cabinet at the time. They smell AMAZING. Happy baking, friends.


Cozy Pumpkin Loaf

Original recipe from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan

What you need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spice).

In a medium bowl, mix all the wet ingredients (pumpkin, oil, syrup, water) until it forms one cohesive bowl of mush.

Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it forms one thick blob. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

Push the ball of batter into a 9 inch x 5 inch loaf pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, and bake for 45-55 minutes.

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