My New Series: D.I.Why?

As I mentioned on the About page of my website “I’m not afraid to admit disaster or defeat.” Well, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

Without further ago I give you the first of a series:

Di why

I started to write an explanation of my personal theory behind my disasters, but then I thought –  who really cares? The important part is, I’m left with some ridiculous adventures that everyone seems to enjoy hearing about.

The first of the disasters, isn’t exactly your typical idea of a DIY project gone wrong- but this story was too good to let go – AND it’s perfectly seasonal.

The Spicy Pumpkin Bread Disaster:

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas my Mom made the most delicious pumpkin bread! Just the smell of it baking in the over brings back a wealth of happy memories. Those are the types of smells that make a house a home, in my opinion.

I’ve made this bread so many times, that I hardly need to look at the recipe to know what to put in it and when.  This time was no different. I’d avoided my usual pitfalls (adding ginger – that’s only for pumpkin pie in my house, or reversing the baking soda/baking powder ratio) and I had two loaves in the oven.

It was a rainy Wednesday, and my husband and I were in charge of snacks for our church married group. I was very excited to show off my baking skills and bring my favorite pumpkin bread for everyone to nosh on.  If I remember correctly, I had to follow up some competitive and delicious homemade curry hummus from last week’s meeting – the pressure was on!

I took the bread out of the oven with just enough time to cool before heading down the street. I grabbed a loose crumb to nibble on and noticed an odd tingling in my throat.

I didn’t think much of it and started cleaning up my mess.  As I put the spices away, I realized that the cayenne pepper was out on the counter for some reason. That’s weird!

Oh no.

Yes, as you already know by now… I swapped the cinnamon for a heaping teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

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So, after making a huge baking blunder, what I did I do?  Oh, I called everyone I knew to laugh at my stupidity, and then posted it on Facebook. Awesome choices, Melissa.

It was pretty hysterical though. My dad wanted to know what it tasted like (he was always the brave taste-tester of my baking experiments), so I cut it open and had some while we were one the phone together. It wasn’t that bad!

It had all the savory pumpkin goodness, with a spicy kick at the end. The cayenne pepper curiously reminded me of the taste of spicy cinnamon candy. While it was still hot from the oven it also gave me a strong feeling of heartburn. :/

When my husband came home, I told him what had transpired. He laughed, tasted some bread, expertly deemed it “(Cinnamon) Red Hot Pumpkin Bread,” and of course, we decided to bring it to the meeting…don’t worry, I warned my friends before they took their first fiery bite. Most of our friends smothered it with sugary pumpkin butter so its effects were muted anyway.

I froze the second loaf, but ended up taking it a party the next weekend! This crew actually really enjoyed the bread. I think serving it slightly chilled really took the edge off the spicy factor. The guys especially enjoyed the sweet and spicy pairing – maybe I was onto something?!

In my defense, I took these photos comparing the cinnamon and cayenne pepper. I’d never noticed how similar in color and texture they are!

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Can you tell the Difference?!

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(Left is Cinnamon, Right is Cayenne Pepper)

Did all this talk of pumpkin bread make you hungry?

Just in case, here is my classic pumpkin bread recipe (cayenne optional):

Pumpkin Bread:

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 eggs
    • 3 cups sugar
    • 2/3 cup water
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 cups pumpkin (1 small can)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (swap for cayenne pepper if you are feeling feisty)
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 3 1/2 cups flour
  1. With a mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, water, oil and pumpkin in large bowl.
  2. Add spices.
  3. Gradually add flour until fully blended.
  4. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until toothpick test comes out clean. (Makes 2 loaves)

Happy (Disaster -Free) Baking!

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