We recently wrote about our top foodie picks for Asheville, and the only place we went to twice was Early Bird Eatery, specifically for their pumpkin gingerbread. We were dying for more when we got home and stumbled across the recipe in The New Blue Ridge Cookbook by Elizabeth Wiegand (Amazon link). The recipe in the cookbook is the commercial recipe, straight from the restaurant for five loaves. We adapted the ingredients down for just a single loaf pan and yes, you will love it.
The flavors of the bread are layered and rich from the combination of spices and the secret ingredient (coffee!!). Yes, there is coffee in this bread, and it adds just the right note. We’ve used coffee before to bring the same depth of flavor to a chocolate cake recipe.
This recipe does have a lot of ingredients, and there is quite a bit of measuring, but I promise you, it’s worth it. We recommend eating it warm or toast it on the grill with some butter the next day like they do at Early Girl.
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup coffee, brewed strong
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use butter to grease a 4″ x 8″ loaf pan and coat with breadcrumbs to prevent sticking.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and dry mustard, set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and eggs until well-blended and light in color.
- Add half the dry mix to the wet mix and stir well, add the coffee and mix some more.
- Add the second half of the dry mix and the pecans and mix well.
- Gently fold in the pumpkin puree until just blended. Pour into pan.
- Bake for 65 minutes. The top will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Cooking tips: I didn’t believe the 65 minute bake time and began checking it at 45 minutes, but it took the whole 65 minutes. If you’re not sure about your oven, though, begin checking at 50 minutes or so. We subbed out allspice for nutmeg once and liked that option too.
When offering this bread we said “gingerbread” and people gobbled it up. When we said “pumpkin gingerbread” they demurred. So don’t bother telling them there’s pumpkin inside, just let them enjoy the amazing flavors as they melt in their mouths. This breakfast treat was one of our most popular recipes with our tasters.
Have you been to the Early Girl Eatery? Do you enjoy a good gingerbread? Let us know your thoughts!