Fall is in the air - finally! I have a few friends that count the days to the return of the "PSL" - there's even twitter pages dedicated to the spiced fall cup.

Today I want to share with you an easy seasonal cake with a new twist - Organic Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes. Perfect with a cup of coffee, light dessert - and when dressed up like ours - a hostess gift!

Organic Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves

16-ounces organic pumpkin puree (I had to find mine at an organic shop)
1-2/3 cups organic sugar (available at regular market)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 T melted butter
4 eggs
3 cups organic whole wheat or organic all-purpose flour (available at regular market)
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired (we skipped these this time)

Pre-heat your oven to 350-degrees and grease the bottoms of your mini loaf pans (see notes below*). Mix pumpkin, organic sugar, oil, butter and eggs until well-blended. Mix together dry ingredients and stir in. Pour into prepared mini loaf pans. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans. Once fully cooled, wrap tightly to store.

*A note on mini loaf pans. When I decided to tackle this recipe, I discovered mini loaf pans are not all the same size! Worse yet - there is little to no information in many recipes on size, number of loaves or cook time! Yikes! So - let that not happen here. Our mini loaves are approximately 4-1/2x2-3/4x1-1/4 inches. I found an eight-loaf pan at World Market for $9.99 and it baked our 10 loaves beautifully in two batches of 20 minutes each. If you want full sized loaves, use two loaf pans either 8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2 or 9x5x3 inches and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. If you have mini bundts or another sized mini loaf pan, please adjust your time accordingly.

Dressing it up for a Hostess Gift

I just loved the idea of a mini loaf as a gift. The first time I received one, it was in still in a cute little loaf pan all decorated for the holiday. This is a slight departure from those - and an adaptation from a "pin" I came across and slightly more eco-friendly. Plus, you can adapt the idea for any event, season or gift.

Wrap your cooled mini loaf tightly in plastic wrap. Cut a band of parchment paper slightly shorter than the length of your loaf and use a dab of glue to seal the seam on the bottom. Choose a seasonal fabric scrap and cut a band about 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the loaf. Again seal seam on the bottom. Remember my pinking shear tip in the Fall DIY? Do that... Finally, tie with a few loops of jute string. You can add a cute die-cut note, if desired. 

I love the idea of these as gifts!

Have fun and let me know if you're making the loaves for yourself or as a gift.