My long-time recipe for pumpkin bread, almost elegant in its very simplicity. The crumb is firm and moist, spiked with autumn spices and studded with seasonal nuts. Make Autumn Pumpkin Bread in traditional loaves for slicing – or use the same batter to make Pumpkin Bread Muffins!
When the weather cools down, it’s somehow automatic to crank up the oven. During hot summer days, baking is like a too-rich dessert, a treat to be consumed sparingly. But during cool autumns and down-right cold winters, a hot oven warms both house and belly.
This pumpkin bread is a long-time favorite, it goes back to the days when I had my very first kitchen. It makes up in just a few minutes, a real “quick loaf”.
Just plain and by itself, Autumn Pumpkin Bread is moist and full of spices. If there's any left after a couple of days, fry half slices in butter, it makes excellent Fry Bread. I've also made little pumpkin bread sandwiches with a smear of cream cheese or a smear of cream cheese mixed with marmalade. So good!
The recipe makes two large traditional loaves. One for a neighbor? One for the freezer? That's been my practice for many years.
But on a recent whim, I made muffins from the batter. The result? Moist, pumpkin-flavored muffins, perfect for fall. I call them "Pumpkin Bread Muffins"!
(And hey, call me thrilled whenever a favorite recipe adapts easily. Isn't that half the definition of a favorite recipe?!)
I used half of the very same batter to make a half dozen Pumpkin Bread Muffins, no changes were to the recipe were needed. I did sprinkle the unbaked muffins with a touch of raw sugar. This is such a simple technique for creating sweet, crisp, almost glittery crusts for muffins. Try it on your own muffin recipes! And hmm, I'm thinking it would be a nice touch on top of the traditional loaves, too.
Pumpkin Bread Muffins are slightly sweeter than my ever-so-adaptable Perfect Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins. But they're still muffins, not even as close to sweet as pumpkin cupcakes, say.
"Wow, this bread was awesome!" ~ traffik
AUTUMN PUMPKIN BREAD
Or easily halved.
Or make a few muffins!
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 90 minutes
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup (150g) white sugar
- 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 16 ounces (2 cups) canned 100% pumpkin purée
- 3-1/2 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 438g
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1-1/2 cups pecans, chopped (optional)
Heat oven to 350F/175C. Spray two 9x5 loaf pans with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the oil, buttermilk and sugars and beat until smooth and well aerated. Add the eggs and pumpkin; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Separately, combine flour, spices, salt and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and combine until just blended. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the pecans. Pour evenly into two loaf pans.
Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into center is removed cleanly. Remove from oven, but let cool for five to ten minutes before removing from the pans and continuing to cool.
MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Best on the first day but it does keep well for several days. Do refrigerate the loaves if not eaten on the first day. Loaves of Autumn Pumpkin Bread freeze beautifully.
ALANNA's TIPS Substitute up to half the flour with whole wheat flour. The "crumb" will change to a heavier, more substantial bread, versus the almost cake-like crumb with all-purpose flour. I've also used 100% whole wheat pastry flour, it's expensive flour but turns out nearly as light as with all-purpose flour. When I make Light 'n' Fluffy Whole-Grain Bread, I use the leftover pumpkin to make a loaf of Autumn Pumpkin Bread. There's no missing the 1/3 cup used in the yeast bread. While this pumpkin loaf is delicious made with cinnamon and nutmeg from the grocery store, I’ve become partial to a product called "cake spice" from Penzeys, the Wisconsin spice people. Cake spice is a blend of China cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves. When a recipe calls for cinnamon or nutmeg, I substitute cake spice in the same amounts. Cake spice’s flavor is somehow a little sweeter, a little brighter – and gets raves. Get a catalog or place an order by calling 1-800-741-7787 or visiting www.penzeys.com.
FOR PUMPKIN BREAD MUFFINS Just scoop some batter into well-sprayed muffin tins, about half the batter makes six generous regular-size muffins. For crisp tops, sprinkle the tops with raw sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, cool for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tins.
MORE PLAYING AROUND I've substituted eggnog for buttermilk, just be sure to add extra leavening, 1 teaspoon baking powder. Black walnuts are an excellent substitution for pecans! For Christmas, throw in a dried cranberries, chopped in the food processor to distribute fewer cranberries more evenly.
In a Baking Mood? More Quick Breads!
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