Tea cakes, sweet breads, or whatever else you want to call them are a gateway drug into baking. They are flavorful, moist and simple to put together. They can also be repurposed as muffins! So if you’re looking for an easy way to satisfy that baking itch, this is a great way to do it.
First, we need to get something out of the way: Pumpkin Tea Cake is just another word for Pumpkin Bread. I went into this recipe expecting something a little bit fancy, but what we have here is just a riff—albeit a delicious one—on pumpkin bread.
I have my own version of pumpkin bread on the blog already. I grew up with this one and I have no delusions about the fact that this makes me biased. It’s half nostalgia, half the fact that my version has a 1 to 1 sugar to flour ratio. But I’m under no illusions that if we were to present the two side by side, Tartine’s would win a blind taste test.
It’s moist, but not mushy, sweet but not too sweet, rich in color and boasts a better, spicier flavor profile and yes, it goes fantastic with a spicy chai tea.
I will, however, plant my flag on the version I grew up with. It always takes me home and there isn’t much better than the smell of pumpkin bread wafting through the entire house. I like to put on holidays episodes of friends while it bakes.
If you’re inclined to try Tartine’s version, which I highly encourage you to do, read on for the recipe and three tips to ensure you get the most out of it.
Double the recipe for less waste
There is little I hate more than finding a moldy half used can of anything in the back of the fridge, so go ahead and double the recipe to use a whole can of pumpkin. You can freeze or gift the extra loaf. One of my favorite things to do is use mini loaf tins and give those for holiday gifts.
Skip the topping
The recipe says to top the loaf with sugar & optionally pepitas before throwing in the oven. As you can see, the pepitas sunk straight to the bottom of the loaf. I would skip this step or top them half way through baking. You can also top with maple whip cream after it cools like I did here.
Don’t over mix
There is a reason why they have you mix in the flour until just combined. Any longer and you’ll end up with a tougher crumb.
Tartine’s Pumpkin Tea Cake
Moist with just the right amount of flavor and spice. And as always, use weighted measurements if possible.
1 2/3 (8oz/225g) cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup + 2 tbsp (9 oz before removing any moisture) canned pumpkin purée
1 cup vegetable oil such as safflower or sunflower
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (9 1/2 oz/270g)
3/4 tsp flake-style salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp granulated sugar for topping
Move oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 325 and lightly butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a bowl and set aside.
Using a whisk attachment with your KitchenAid or other mixer, beat the oil, pumpkin purée, sugar, and salt on medium until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
On medium speed, add one egg at a time, waiting for each egg to be fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the flour on low speed and stop mixing just before it's combined.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the flour remaining on the sides of the bowl and fold to combine.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smooth the surface, and then sprinkle the 2 tbsp of sugar over the top. Note: I would skip the sugar.
Bake for about an hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Set on a wire rack and let the tea cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
To remove, gently run a pairing knife around the outer edge and carefully invert the pan Let the loaf cool completely before cutting.