Pumpkin tea bread with cider cream cheese icing
Makes one 9x5-inch (2-L) loaf
The best tea bread imaginable, this spiced, cake-like treat is made moist with pumpkin, fragrant with orange zest and chewy with nuts and dates—all topped with a memorable cream cheese icing that echoes fall, thanks to the addition of apple cider. Just lovely with a strong cup of tea.
For the tea bread
½ cup (125 mL) butter
1½ cups (375 mL) sugar
1 cup (250 mL) pumpkin purée, fresh or canned
1 tbsp. (15 mL) grated orange zest
¼ cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
2¼ cups (560 mL) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. (2 mL) baking powder
2 tsp. (10 mL) baking soda
½ tsp. (2 mL) salt
½ tsp. (2 mL) cinnamon
½ tsp. (2 mL) ground cloves
½ cup (125 mL) chopped walnuts
½ cup (125 mL) chopped pitted dates
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter and flour a 9x5-inch (2-L) loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl (or using a stand mixer), cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Next, add pumpkin purée, orange zest and orange juice and continue to blend until smooth.
In another mixing bowl, combine remaining tea bread ingredients. Blend together, then add to egg and sugar mixture. Stir together just to moisten; don’t over-mix. When all ingredients are incorporated, pour batter into loaf pan.
Bake for about 1 hour or until a tester emerges clean. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
For the icing
2 cups (500 mL) apple cider
6 oz. (185 g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar
Pinch of salt
To make icing: pour cider into a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer until reduced to about ¼ cup (60 mL); let cool completely. In a bowl, use an electric mixer to combine cream cheese with icing sugar, salt and cider. Blend well until mixture is smooth.
Once tea bread has cooled, spread icing overtop. Alternatively, slice tea bread and serve icing in a bowl to be spread on individual slices.