Fall is here and it’s actually starting to feel like it in Northern California. After experiencing 100º+ temps just the other week, we’re finally waking up to cooler temperatures and cloudy skies and I honestly couldn’t be happier! Bring on all the fall essentials: PSLs and plaid, pumpkin patches and apple orchards, warming spices and cozy nights.
I love that NorCal has so much to offer in the way of fall activities and even though the leaves take a little longer to change over here, we are definitely embracing the season. With dozens of orchards to visit, you better believe we’ll be indulging in the tastiest apple cider donuts and coming home with the best fall produce and apple cider the area has to offer. And fall isn’t complete without a few trips to the pumpkin patch, which is always more fun with friends! Here are a few pics from our most recent outings!
I’m actually doing more baking these days because who doesn’t love a house that smells like all the fall things? This pumpkin bread is really just a tweak on my go-to banana bread, substituting pumpkin for the banana, adding DIY pumpkin pie spice and a bit more flour to keep the bread nice and sturdy. I also swirled some maple-y cream cheese on top, which is totally optional. Personally, I looove a piece of warm pumpkin bread with a big schmear of cream cheese fresh out of the oven. Either way, you can’t go wrong!
cream cheese-swirled pumpkin spice bread
The scent of pumpkin pie is ubiquitous with the change of seasons, so I change up my banana bread/muffin for this pumpkin spice bread once September rolls around. Though still moist and flavorful, this pumpkin spice bread will still hold up to a generous schmear of cream cheese fresh out of the oven. So good!
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 2-2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice**
- DIY instructions below!
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup packed muscavado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1½ tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup organic pumpkin purée
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray or coconut oil and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, sea salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil and muscavado sugar, making sure to break up any lumps. Then add the maple syrup and vanilla and stir to combine again. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring each one until completely combined. Finally, add the pumpkin purée and Greek yogurt and stir everything together with a wooden spoon.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until everything is just combined and there aren’t any more pockets of flour left. Just try not to over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. At this point you can just bake as is or make the cream cheese swirl and add in here. If you’re swirling in cream cheese, just drop about 10 one tablespoon dollops onto bread batter and gently swirl with a knife or toothpick.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Slice and serve! The pumpkin bread should keep about 3-4 days, covered, on the counter.
Cream cheese swirl (completely optional)
- 4 oz softened cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
- 2 tbs pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
In a small bowl, vigorously stir or whisk all ingredients together until completely combined. If you have trouble, heat the cream cheese in the microwave at 15 second intervals to soften it up even more.
make-your-own pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of cardamom
Mix all spices together and store in a small glass jar.
Adapted from Joy the Baker