We all know that the next several weeks will be about eating. Pies and stuffing and cookies and other delicious stuff that I plan to write about! But for today, I’d like for you to think of the following: you will need a snack whilst you cook all of these yummy things. You know, to keep the energy up so you will be alert and ready when it’s actually time to eat.
And what a snack this will be! Pumpkin bread and cheesecake! Two entities that are individually in and of themselves so satisfying and delicious. But together! And not together like a pumpkin cheesecake, which could never be a snack because of its heaviness. But together like a perfect balance of a just-enough cheesecake layer atop a lovely spiced, light bread. A snack that will allow you to eat and stir at the same time. It is a perfect merriment of flavors and layers that will whet your appetite for the meal you will be preparing.
So go ahead and make this ahead of time. Have it ready when the Thanksgiving crazy cooking begins. Your family will appreciate your foresight and gobble it down. You will appreciate the lovely bread you will have made. And everyone will appreciate not being cranky by dinnertime.
Pumpkin & Cheese Spice Bread (slightly adapted from An Edible Mosaic)
For the Cheesecake Layer:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Pumpkin Bread:
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (1/2 can) pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
For the Cheesecake Layer: Use a handheld electric mixer to beat together all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
For the Pumpkin Bread: Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat together the brown sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Mix in pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Set aside. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix together until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Pour the pumpkin batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the loaf.
Bake until golden around the edges, about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pans, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.