A Duo of Pumpkin-Apple Delights

PumpkinAppleCake2 So, my previous post might have been a bit premature.  I truly, truly, intended to get back to a consistent blogging schedule after my summer hiatus.  If you could see the stack of torn out recipes, notes, and cookbooks with dog-eared pages that I have on my nightstand, then you would know that my lack of blogging is not due to lack of materials or inspiration.........it's due to lack of time.

I've asked for this before, and now I'm going to ask, very nicely, once again:  Could somebody out there please, please, figure out how to increase my day to 36 hours?  I promise that I will only sleep for a maximum of six.  More than ever, over the past few months, I've found it nearly impossible to even scratch the surface of my constantly growing to-do list.  Or, I should say, to-do LISTS.  I have no fewer than eight of these in my possession: folded and placed in a purse pocket, sitting on my desk, typed into an Excel spreadsheet (I was feeling uber-organized that day), and scrawled on the back of a Whole Foods receipt.  Some of the items are on every list, while some I can't even decipher when rereading, but they were clearly quite important when said list-making occurred (as exhibited by the all-caps in which the item was written followed by three exclamation points.)

9216.  This number is the primary reason why I have been so busy over the past month.  9216 is the number of bags in 768 cases of granola, the amount that was called for in The Fresh Market's opening order.  Oh, and they needed it, like, yesterday.  Don't get me wrong.  I was beyond thrilled to get this account.  Beyond thrilled.  I had been hoping and praying and doing some serious lobbying to get picked up by TFM for months after I met with them at The Fancy Food show.  I just wasn't quite prepared for how large their order would be, or how quickly they would need it.

Let me put this into perspective for you:  Up until this order, my largest order ever had been for 20 cases.  Two-Zero.  Yes, less than three percent of TFM order.  Gulp. Yikes.  Lucky for me that I love a PumpkinAppleBread2 challenge, because a challenge is what I had.  After four 120+ hour work weeks, including five all-nighters in the kitchen, two nervous breakdowns, and countless cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns (I looked like I got into, and lost, a serious bar fight), I finally got the order out.  Exhale.  For those of you who happen to have a Fresh Market in your area, I'm jealous, as they have yet to hit the Las Vegas market.  But for those of you who do have one, you can find Julie Anne's Granola on the shelves now!

The first thing that I did after finishing this order was take the world's longest nap.  Boy, was that a great nap.  I haven't been a big napper since kindergarten, but this nap created a great argument as to why I should take up napping again (if I had the time, of course.)  Following my nap, I did what any normal person would do after one month of baking.......I baked.  Not granola, of course.

For those of us who love to bake, the autumn months are THE best time to go wal-nuts in the kitchen.  Back-to-school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas give us plenty of excuses to try out those cinnamon-and-spice-filled, royal icing-decorated, and ganache-covered treats that have been swimming around in our heads since summer wore out its welcome.  At the beginning of October, I had not turned on my Kitchen Aid mixer for months, and I felt like I needed to make up for lost time.

There are only two ways that I can kick off my autumn baking extravaganza: baking with pumpkin or baking with apples.  Because I was trying to make up for lost time, I decided to bake with both.  I had just found a beautiful display of Honeycrisp apples at Trader Joe's -- love, love Honeycrisp apples -- and I couldn't wait to use them.  The first recipe, the Pumpkin-Apple Cake with Streusel, can be used for a sweet breakfast treat or for dessert.  I prefer it warm, but it is also good at room temperature.  The enticing aromas that are created when the apples are cooking and the cake is baking are heavenly.  The bread recipe is a variation on the pumpkin bread recipe that I have been using for years.  Adding the tart chunks of apple make this bread extra-moist, and they bring an additional layer of flavor to the pumpkin, pecans, and spices.  This bread is perfect on its own -- no butter or jam required!  Here are my extra tips for preparing this pumpkin and pomme pair:

  • Referencing the line above, "pomme" is French for "apple."  The sentence just sounded better with alliteration.  I knew that my six years of French class would come in handy some day.
  • The cake will keep well, tightly covered at room temperature, for 2-3 days.  This is not a dessert for freezing and thawing.
  • The pumpkin bread, on the other hand, freezes and thaws beautifully.  This bread actually tastes even better the day after it has been baked, cooled, and tightly wrapped in plastic.  The flavors really come out over time, and it is so moist to begin with that there is no danger of the loaf drying out.  Tightly wrapped, the loaves will freeze for three weeks.  Thaw on the counter overnight.
  • For both recipes, you may substitute 2 teasponns pumpkin pie spice for the assorted spices.  I recently found this for a really reasonable price at Trader Joe's (so of course I scooped up a bunch!)
  • If you want to add a lovely maple glaze (which I strongly recommend) to the cake, you can do so by mixing about 2 ½ cups confectioner's sugar with 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup until you reach a drizzling consistency.  You can use a combination of milk and vanilla extract or even orange juice to make the glaze too, depending on your preferred flavor.

Pumpkin-Apple Cake with Streusel Topping

Serves 8-10 PumpkinAppleCake3


For the apples

4 tablespoons butter

4 cups diced Honeycrisp apples (Granny Smith work well too)

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake

1 ½ cups flour

1 cup brown sugar, packed

8 tablespoons butter, softened, in pieces

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sour cream

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

Prepare the apples:  In a large, nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the apples' saute until they begin to brown, 5 minutes.  Add the sugar and the cinnamon and saute until the apples are golden grown, 2-3 minutes more.  Set the mixture aside to cool.

Prepare the cake:  Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick baking spray.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt.  Beat the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.  Set ⅔ of the mixture aside for the streusel topping.

Add the pumpkin and the sour cream to the remaining flour mixture, and beat until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in the sugar, spices, baking soda, and vanilla, beating until smooth.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Scatter the sauteed apples evenly over the batter in the pan.  Mix the pecans into the reserved streusel mixture, and sprinkle this evenly over the apples.

Bake the cake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick/cake tester inserted into the center emerges clean, 55-65 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan set on a rack for 20 minutes, then release the pan from the sides of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Spiced Pumpkin-Apple Pecan Bread

Makes 2 large loaves


1 cup safflower oil PumpkinAppleBread3

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

4 large eggs

2 cups canned pumpkin

½ cup water

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 ½ cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups diced Honeycrisp apples (or your favorite varietal)

1 cup chopped pecans

¾ cup dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Spray two 9X5-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the paddle attachment, cream together the oil and both sugars.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the pumpkin, water, and the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed until well incorporated.  Fold in the diced apples, pecans, and dried cranberries if using.

Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans.  Bake the loaves for 1 hour, or until a toothpick or paring knife inserted into the center emerges clean.  Allow the bread to cool in the pans on a rack.  When the loaves have cooled, remove them from the pans and wrap tightly with plastic wrap to store.


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  1. Thank you, Erin!  Nice to hear from you again, and Im so glad that you enjoyed the cake 🙂  I agree -- I always think that a little hint of salt is needed in something extra sweet.  Take care!

  2. Thank you, Erin!  Nice to hear from you again, and Im so glad that you enjoyed the cake 🙂  I agree -- I always think that a little hint of salt is needed in something extra sweet.  Take care!

  3. Thank you, Erin!  Nice to hear from you again, and Im so glad that you enjoyed the cake 🙂  I agree -- I always think that a little hint of salt is needed in something extra sweet.  Take care!

  4. Hi Julie! It's me again! Just wanted to let you know I also made the pumpkin apple cake. OMG! It was great! It's very moist and I like the saltiness in the streusel. I will definitely make this again! 🙂

  5. Hi Emily!!  Thanks so much.  Its great to hear from you.  Believe me, I am trying to post more often, especially during the holiday season.  Its nice to be missed!  I promise to have something out in the next day 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for letting me know, Erin!  Its great to hear that other people have tried my recipes........and the were successful!  I had a tough time keeping this bread around too -- it disappeared quickly 🙂

  7. Yeah, honeycrisp apple are pretty much fall nirvana! Along with pumpkin baked goods, of course...;)
    Cathy B. @ brightbakes

  8. So glad you are back Julie! I made the pumpkin-apple pecan bread for work this morning. It was fantastic and a great item for fall! It was gone by 9.15! Lots of complements! Thanks! 🙂

  9. Thanks so much, Nicole!  I wish that I had a Fresh Market nearby too.  Maybe they will venture west soon.  And I agree -- once I tried the Honeycrisp apples, I was hooked!

  10. Congrats on the big order!!! That's so exciting. Next time we're in The Fresh Market I'll have to look for your granola.

    Also, I just found Honeycrisp apples this year, and I'm seriously in love! I have a big one sitting on my next right now for my mid afternoon snack 🙂

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