All the Riches of Fall: Olive Oil Pumpkin, Carrot, and Zucchini Bread

I wasn’t looking for a new favorite pumpkin bread. I’ve been pretty happy with our family standard. And Shiv’s gorgeous loaf from last year was also on my baking list.

But Carolyn, who writes Umami Girl as well as a weekly column over at Serious Eats, posted something too tantalizing to ignore: her friend Viv’s olive oil pumpkin bread. I couldn’t scroll past it. Olive oil pumpkin bread?

Olive oil baked goods are all the rage these days. There’s some pretty delicious olive oil cake for sale at a coffee shop in our neighborhood that’s too tiny for chairs. Paired with their near-perfect espresso, it’s an expensive addiction. And this olive-oil-pumpkin combo is a particularly good idea, since the deep flavors of pumpkin bread can stand up to the rich, musky flavor of olive oil.

Never one to leave well enough alone, I didn’t stop there. You see, I love a warm gingery slice of pumpkin bread. But I also like zucchini bread. And I like carrot cake…thus, Olive Oil Pumpkin, Carrot, and Zucchini Bread was born. It was just crazy enough to work.

The texture of this loaf is so tender, so light and soft, that no pumpkin bread I’ve ever had compares. You could dress it up further with a little candied ginger, or use dried cranberries instead of the raisins. And you could smear the slices with a bit of cream cheese, but I must say, this is a pretty jazzy number on its own.

Olive Oil Pumpkin, Carrot, and Zucchini Bread
adapted from Carolyn Cope

Makes 3 small loaves, or 4 minis (but don’t fill them too full.)

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup delicately flavored olive oil (or 3/4 cup strong olive oil and 1/4 cup safflower oil)
1/2 cup water
2 cups pureed pumpkin (I used canned)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
3 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup grated zucchini
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease your pans with olive oil.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the olive oil, water, pumpkin, and sugar and whisk to combine well.

Add salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and baking soda, and continue whisking until well blended. Add the flour and stir into the wet ingredients using a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. Stir in zucchini, carrots, raisins and nuts if using.

Pour into prepared loaf pans—do not fill more than 2/3 full as batter will rise. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for ten minutes before removing from pan to cool completely. (You might need to run a knife around the edges.) Keep tightly wrapped, or freeze to enjoy later.

In baking, bread, breakfast, ginger, pumpkin, zucchini

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