Loaf cake it’s a cake made in a loaf tin or loaf pan, taller and often more moist than regular cakes. Not an Italian cake but the ingredients that make up this savoury version one, yes they are. We liked the idea to combine the typical ingredients of pumpkin tortelli filling: pumpkin, Amaretti biscuits, grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. Then our personal addition of sage and pancetta – pork belly – which have created a rustic tasty loaf with a slightly sweet aftertaste, perfect to eat as it is or paired with cheese, cured ham or salami.
Serve 6, Preparation 15 mins, Cooking 50 – 60 mins
- 300 g. plain flour, sifted
- 150 g. pumpkin
- 100 g. Pancetta cubes or salt and pepper seasoned pork belly to dice
- Sage, 2-3 leaves
- 1-2 Amaretti biscuits, optional
- 1 peeled garlic clove
- 200 ml whole milk, cold
- 90 ml Sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp of EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 70 g. grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 7 g Instant Yeast (rapid rise yeast) – 2 teaspoons
- 1 1/2 fine salt teaspoon
- a pinch of nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4 and line a loaf tin baking mold measuring 30x14cm across the top and 7cm deep with baking paper.
Beat the eggs and set aside.
In a frying-pan with a tablespoon of Evoo, fry the diced pork belly over medium heat until crispy. Place it on a a kitchen paper to drain, set aside. Do not get rid of the oil in the frying-pan since we’ll drizzle it over the loaf cake before baking.
Beat the eggs and set aside.
Peel and dice the pumpkin, cook it in 1 tablespoon of Evoo with sage leaves, garlic and a pinch of nutmeg until soft. You can also cook it in the oven.
Transfer it with herbs to a blender with the milk, a teaspoon of salt, 2 amaretti biscuits, the seed oil, the grated Parmesan – not all, save a handful for the drizzle at the end – and get a pumpkin puree.
Tip: we didn’t blend it all completely sunce we liked the idea of having a few pieces in the loaf cake.
Put the pumpkin puree in a bowl, add the beaten eggs, mix with a spoon, then add the pieces of crispy pancetta, mix everything.
Sift the flour, add the instant yeast and mix, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing just enough to combine.
Transfer and level the dough into the loaf cake mold lined with parchment paper or oiled and lightly floured, then sprinkle the rest of the pancetta, the rest of the grated Parmesan on top and the oil in which you fried the pancetta. You can also avoid adding the oil if you don’t like the idea.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C / 350F / Gas 4 about 45-50 minutes.
Do the “toothpick test” to make sure of the correct cooking but also take into account the browning of the loaf cake. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down before slicing.
Tip: It is also possible to prepare the dough, keep it in the fridge and cook it the next day.
Is it OK to substitute Instant Yeast for Active Dry Yeast?
Yes it is, though the resulting rise times may vary slightly. Just add an extra 15/20 minutes of rise time when using active dry yeast in a recipe that calls for instant yeast.
Instant Yeast can be mixed directly into dry ingredients and skip the rehydration step. Instant yeast needs less time to rise.
Instant Yeast has a finer texture rather than Active Dry Yeast, thus it’s possible to skip the initial rise time and shape loaves just after kneading.
Active Dry Yeast needs rehydration thus must first be dissolved and rehydrated in lukewarm water.
Loaves made with Active Dry Yeast require longer rising times.