Make this pumpkin and pear loaf cake once, and you'll make it again and again! Make the pumpkin puree ahead (which is easier than you might think), then just stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Bake and enjoy! It's easy, healthy AND ridiculously tasty!
Line a 9 or 10 x 4 inch loaf tin/pan with baking paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 355F.
Combine the flour, baking soda and powder, spices and orange zest in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup (or honey) and milk (or juice) in a medium jug or mixing bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined (don't over-mix).
Fold the pear pieces into the batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin. Smooth it down a little.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean or with just a few sticky crumbs on it. If there is any wet batter on the skewer, bake the cake for 5 more minutes and check again.
Let cool then slice and enjoy. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 to 5 days, or wrap tightly and freeze for 2 to 3 months.
How to make pumpkin puree and what kind of pumpkin to use
You can either pressure cook, microwave, steam or bake pumpkin to make the puree.I generally use around half a small or a quarter to a third of a medium normal pumpkin, or half a butternut squash. This yields around 2 cups, or enough for 2 cakes.Pressure cooker: Cook for 15 to 20 minutes on high pressure then let the steam release naturally. Scrape the soft flesh into a bowl and blend with a stick blender (or with a food processor). Microwave: Microwave on kitchen paper for 20 minutes on full power (no need to remove skin or seeds). Steam: Chop into large chunks and steam with a bit of water for about 30 minutes. Bake: Bake at 355F/180C for 30 to 50 minutes depending on the size of the piece of pumpkin. Again, no need to peel or remove seeds.
Wrap the loaf really well in baking paper and/or aluminium foil/plastic wrap and freeze in a Ziploc bag or airtight container for up to 2 to 3 months.