Well, the fall pumpkin frenzy that abounds this time of year eventually took a firm hold of my mind, and before I knew it… Pumpkin Loaf came out of my oven!I’ve never even made pumpkin bread before, but this recipe turned out so good, I just had to share it right away. I think it may, in fact, be even better than… dare I say it… banana bread! Yes, I said it.
This pumpkin loaf is everything a quick bread should be: delicately spiced with a lovely light pumpkin flavor, it’s mildly sweet while grounded in the earthy flavors of pumpkin and olive oil, with a dense, yet soft and delicate crumb. It’s simple to make and bakes up like a dream. This recipe makes two loaves. Um… that’s a lot. There is no way my hubs and I could eat it all before it gets dried out or moldy (ewww!). But, it is the perfect recipe when you need to bring something, say to an office party or a family get together, but in actuality you secretly want to just keep your lovely home-baked creation for yourself because it is so delicious! Problem solved – 1 loaf to the party, 1 loaf stays home!
And… this recipe uses up the whole can of pumpkin. That’s super nice because I hate having a half can of pumpkin sitting in my fridge that I inevitably end up tossing into the garbage 2 weeks later, because I never managed to find a way to use it. Also… this loaf freezes really well. So, you can eat one now, and save one for later.
Plus! I have included a couple different variations, so you can make each loaf a little different if you prefer. This time around, I made one plain loaf and one with chocolate chips, because me and chocolate are the bestie of besties. But in all truth, I actually like the plain pumpkin loaf better because the flavor and the texture could truly shine and are just so great on their own. I found that the chocolate chips, while undeniably delicious, overwhelmed the pumpkin flavor a bit. Mini chocolate chips may provide a better pumpkin/chocolate balance, but I have yet to try that. This loaf is delicately flavored – the spices are light and the pumpkin isn’t overbearing. If you prefer stronger spice flavor, I would recommend doubling the cinnamon and nutmeg (see my variation for Super Spice Pumpkin Loaf).
This pumpkin loaf is absolute perfection when lightly toasted, and topped with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 15 ounce can (2 cups) pumpkin
- ⅓ cup milk
- ⅓ cup water or orange juice
- 3⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 2-4 tbsp turbinado sugar
- Optional ingredients (see notes) - chocolate chips, walnuts, crystallized ginger (finely minced)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 8½" x 4½" loaf pans with cooking spray. (Alternatively, if you will be adding chocolate chips or nuts use two 9 x 5" loaf pans. See notes below)
- In a large bowl beat or whisk together the oils, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, milk, water and vanilla. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (through nutmeg).
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
- Bake the bread for 50 minutes. Working with one loaf at a time, brush the melted butter over the top of the loaf and immediately sprinkle with 1-2 tbsp of turbinado sugar. Return loaf to the oven and bake for 10-20 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Cool loaf on a wire rack. Once completely cool, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
- This loaf tastes even better the next day and also freezes very well!
- Variation 1: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf - add 1½ cups chocolate chips and 1 cup of walnuts or pecans (if desired) to the batter prior to dividing into loaf pans. Be sure to use 9" x 5" loaf pans for this variation. Baking time may be slightly longer.
- Variation 2: Super Spice Pumpkin Loaf - double the cinnamon and nutmeg, and add a dash of ground ginger and ground cloves. Divide batter into 8½" x 4½" loaf pans.
- Variation 3: Ginger Pumpkin Loaf - Add 1 tsp of ground ginger and ¼ cup of finely minced crystallized ginger. Divide batter into 8½" x 4½" loaf pans.
You can try using orange juice in place of the water to add a touch of brightness to the flavor of this pumpkin loaf.
As written, this pumpkin loaf is very mildly spiced with a nice pumpkin flavor. If you prefer a lot of spice I would recommend doubling the cinnamon and nutmeg (see Super Spice Pumpkin Loaf variation!)
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe.