Pumpkin Christmas Bread

By • December 5, 2010 • 99 Comments



Author Notes: We don’t fuss with fancy breakfasts on Christmas. After all, there are more important jobs to attend to that morning, like opening presents. So at our house, we always have this pumpkin bread to nosh on. I’ve adapted this recipe from one I received from my friend Heather. The original made 3 loaves. I adjusted the quantities and spices to suit my taste and one loaf pan. Fair warning, the bread is highly addictive. It’s perfect spread with softened butter, or some fig jam, or softened cream cheese, or just plain nekkid. - mrslarkinmrslarkin

Food52 Review: WHO: The Pound Ridge Scone Lady herself, mrslarkin -- a woman who knows her way around a kitchen.
WHAT: An eggless (!), dairyless (!) loaf cake for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert...
HOW: Dump, stir, bake.
WHY WE LOVE IT: In her testing notes, aargersi called this pumpkin bread "magic" -- and she's right. It's soft, it's tender, it's sweet, it's spicy, it's got height, it's got everything we want in a loaf cake. It's so good that two Food52-ers specifically recommended it. Plus, it makes a great edible gift -- it is both portable and scalable. Just make sure to make an extra (or two!) for yourself.
Food52

Serves 4 - 8

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 ounces pumpkin puree (just over a cup-full if you're measuring and not weighing)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one large loaf pan, about 9" x 5", with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together first seven ingredients. In another bowl, blend the remaining ingredients together.
  3. Combine all ingredients and stir well until smooth. (It is a thick batter!) Spoon into loaf pan and lightly smooth out the top with a spatula.
  4. Bake about 1 hours and 15 minutes, or until cake tester comes out dry and clean. Cool thoroughly. It'll seem like the loaf doesn't want to come out. Just give it a few good slaps on the bottom of the pan, and it'll come right out.
  5. Great to bake ahead and freeze. Wrap in plastic, then foil. Defrost at room temperature.
  6. If you'd like to make three large loaves, triple the ingredients, use a 29 ounce can of pumpkin puree, and mix in a great big bowl. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. This full recipe can make 7 mini loaves (3" x 6" mini loaf pans). Bake the mini loaves for an hour.
Jump to Comments (99)

Tags: breakfast, brunch, freezes well, Holidays, keeps well, snack, travels well, Vegan

Comments (99) Questions (3)

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6 months ago alana

Thought I'd leave note to say that this bread is fantastic. Moist, soft, turns out like a charm everytime. You can even cheat when you're a little bit short of pumpkin and make up the difference with banana.

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7 months ago Sam

I'm a pumpkin lover and devoured this bread! Made it twice, once with vegetable oil and once with butter. The vegetable oil bread definitely held it's shape better, but maybe had just a smidge less flavor. Either way the bread was great though!

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9 months ago Nicole Nesmith

Made this for Christmas and my family could not get enough. My friend, the pumpkin fanatic, says it's the best she's ever had.

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9 months ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

delicious! we just finished eating it--the ends are the BEST! So easy to make; a definite go-to recipe.

Stringio

9 months ago wendy white

I made this last night. It turned out great but I'm afraid I had to slice off an end to eat before I froze the rest for Christmas Eve. Couldn't resist.

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9 months ago Elizabeth

I've made this several times this fall/winter, it's definitely a new stand-by. I do melted butter instead of the oil, no one in my house is vegan and I find it's got a chewier "crust", which we like. I also almost always do a triple batch, as the cans of pumpkin around here are 15 oz or 30 oz, so I just do a big triple batch rather then have a third of a can left over. It triples beautifully :)

Mrs._larkin_370

9 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Glad you enjoy the recipe, Elizabeth!

Stringio

10 months ago Yvonne Osborne Tibbet Torres

Tried this recipe and loved it.No eggs, no dairy is a plus since my husband is a heart patient. Used olive oil and it's just as sweet and moist. Making more for Christmas gifts.

Mrs._larkin_370

9 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I'm so glad you like it, Yvonne!

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10 months ago Ariel Socarras

This looks yummy! I'm new to the baking side of things so I'm wondering if the all-purpose flour can be substituted out for alternative flours like chickpea flour? or are there baking qualities of regular flour that are necessary for this? Thank you and look forward to making it!

Mrs._larkin_370

10 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Gee I don't really no if you can substitute the all-purpose flour for a non-wheat flour. There are a bunch of gluten free pumpkin bread recipes on the website that you can look at. http://food52.com/recipes...

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10 months ago Daria

All of the yumminess and praise didn't track with our experience: we found it dense to the point of being gummy and the spices -- all fresh -- were too faint. However, the recipe and all the comments provided a fruitful teaching device for a group of middle school bakers.

Mrs._larkin_370

10 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Glad is was a good teaching moment, Daria! Sorry you didn't like the bread. It's never turned out gummy for me.

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10 months ago lindalandrews

Loved this recipe! Made the triple batch last week and got 8 small loaves to give as thank you gifts and for family. My 3 yr old grandson said, "I love your pumpkin bread Memaw". Only change I made was the length of cooking time. The small loaves took 1.5 hrs to bake. No the oven temp was not "off". So that is the only change I would recommend. Also I did add pecans - very good. Next time going to try walnuts and this week is the "next time". Used fresh pumpkin too. Thanks for a great recipe I will use again and again.

Mrs._larkin_370

10 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

So glad you liked the recipe, Linda! I love making mini loaves, too.

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11 months ago Trees

I just made this! I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup 6 grain flour, also replaced the granulated sugar with 1/2 a cup of coconut sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup. It turned out wonderfully!

Mrs._larkin_370

11 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thank you, Trees! Really glad you enjoyed the bread.

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about 1 year ago DessertByCandy

Moist and flavourful result even though I had my doubts with the batter. It was indeed very thick, almost dry. I feared overmixing. The sturdy baked loaf slices neatly with tender crumb. Such an easy recipe. And vegan! I made mine using 50/50 all purpose unbleached and whole wheat red fife flour. The mix of spices include 1/2tsp ginger and 1/4tsp cardamom in addition to the original recipe. I used dried cranberries in place of nuts.

Mrs._larkin_370

11 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

that is so great to hear, CBC! So glad you enjoyed it.

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almost 2 years ago Jaynerly

Congratulations Liz! Love this recipe!

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almost 2 years ago Bevi

Warm congrats! I love your bread!

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over 1 year ago Bevi

I forgot to tell you that I made mini loaves and delivered them all over town for holiday gifts. Everyone loved your bread!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 1 year ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

That is great, Bevi! So glad it was a hit.

Henrykiss

almost 2 years ago arielleclementine

yahooo!!! i love this bread so much!!

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almost 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congrats! Yum, nekkid pumpkin bread!

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almost 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

hah! i say nekkid too!

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almost 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

sounds fab, liz. can't wait to try it!!

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almost 2 years ago cookinginvictoria

Congratulations on the WC, mrslarkin! I love this recipe too! I just made this for the first time on the weekend to give as gifts to friends and neighbors. I made mini-loaves, which are the perfect size. Now my family's clamoring for more, so it's time to make another batch! :)

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almost 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Mmmm, yum, this looks (and sounds) so good. I look forward to making it within the next few weeks. Congrats, Mrs L!! ;o)

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almost 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Warm congratulations mrslarkin!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, you guys! What a great Christmas present! :)

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almost 2 years ago Panfusine

This is an answer to my (irrational egg avoiding)prayers.. Thank you soo soo very much Mrs Larkin for this recipe!

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almost 2 years ago enbe

Congrats!!! This looks amazing.

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

YAY!!!!!!!!!!

Me

almost 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Congrats on the wild card!! Such a wonderful recipe!

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almost 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I so love this recipe! I'm so glad y'all discovered it! Congratulations on the Wildcard, Liz!

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almost 2 years ago JadeTree

Yay! Totally deserved Wildcard! Congrats!

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almost 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yipee! Congratulations Liz, brilliant recipe and delicious loaf.

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almost 2 years ago Lizthechef

Gorgeous, Liz!! Congratulations X0

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almost 2 years ago lapadia

A Christmas WildCard, yay, mrslarkin! Merry Christmas to you and to all...

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almost 2 years ago Kt4

I had pumpkin leftover from a van I opened so decided to give this recipe a try ... Moist & flavorful! Definitely a "will do again" recipe

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I'm so glad you liked it, Kt4! It's one of our favorite recipes. Happy holidays.

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almost 2 years ago ELCookie

No eggs?

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Nope. Seriously delicious, too. I made the triple batch (step 6) over the weekend. It's sooooo good.

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almost 2 years ago JadeTree

So we were cooped up last week due to chilly rain and about 3:30 the kids were overcome with despair and ennui...and then suddenly we were making this bread after I frantically hucked all of the ingredients out of the pantry. And then there was harmony, and stirring and adding and dumping, and Diana Krall on Pandora and then the bread came out of the oven and the house smelled like the vestibules of heaven. And then there was pumpkin bread for dessert and then for snacks the next day and once again a mrslarkin recipe has made me look like a genius to family and friends. So thank you for the excellently spicy bread and the afternoon of harmonious baking! (Also - we made it twice in one week, once with dried cherries, plumped in hot water, and once with bittersweet chocolate chips since nuts in things are not currently in vogue with children. Delicious, both times!)

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

I think I heard cherubs singing and violins and stuff whilst reading this lovely comment. Thank you so very much, JadeTree. Glad I could brighten up your week!

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almost 2 years ago JadeTree

Well, before the baking, the children were more like a chorus of the damned than the cherubs they might appear. But the kitchen solves all.

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almost 2 years ago The Fiery Epicurean

My toddler thinks it's delicious! I am surprised that more people don't know about sugar pumpkins, as they are the only type of pumpkins I grow. These pumpkins, unlike jack-o-lanterns are smaller squashes and have a firm, less stringy, sweet flesh that is much smoother. To roast them, remove the stem and cut them open. Remove the seeds and place on a jelly roll pan and place in the oven at 350* for about 20-35 minutes, until the flesh is soft. Wait till it's cool enough to handle to remove the flesh and I usually put in my food processor to puree away! Hope this helps Mrs Larkin!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

thank you TFE! I'm going to try it!

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almost 2 years ago The Fiery Epicurean

The batter tastes delicious...I'm sure the bread will be fabulous! Thank you recipe! Don't use vegetable oil (too many of my friends have soy allergies) so used olive oil instead and fresh sugar pumpkins from my garden!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

That's so great, TFE! Haven't ever roasted my own pumpkins. Can you share your method with us?

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almost 2 years ago The Fiery Epicurean

The batter tastes delicious...I'm sure the bread will be fabulous! Thank you recipe! Don't use vegetable oil (too many of my friends have soy allergies) so used olive oil instead and fresh sugar pumpkins from my garden!

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over 2 years ago me brumbaugh

I just put a pan of this batter in the oven. I can't wait to taste it!!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

yay! let me know how it turns out.

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over 2 years ago me brumbaugh

It was amazing! It turned out perfectly :). I ate half the loaf that day; sent the rest for a breakfast surprise for my father. Right now I am baking the tripled recipe, but I've made some changes. I substituted applesauce for the oil, and since it was sweetened applesauce I cut back to only one cup of white sugar. I'm afraid it's going to be too dry, so I'll let you know how this round goes!! Thanks so much for adding this recipe :).

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over 2 years ago pianogirl

This sounds delicious. Ever try to make it with whole wheat pastry flour mixed with all purpose flour?

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hi pianogirl. Haven't tried it with wwpf. But I think it might work well with a little bit of it. The batter is really thick, so too much whole wheat flour would be a pain to mix, I think.

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almost 3 years ago galsmu

Great recipe! Made this yesterday and it's almost gone. I had my doubts since it has no eggs and a token amount of oil, but it was perfectly moist. May have to make another loaf tomorrow!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

That is so great to hear, galsmu! I agree, it's pretty amazing how delicious and moist this is, without eggs or butter.

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almost 3 years ago EmilyC

Just wanted you to know that I made this yesterday -- it's so delicious! So easy to make too! I think it's even better on Day 2...but it's going fast! I'll be making this again.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, EmilyC! I'm so happy to hear that. Have a great Thanksgiving.

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am making this, looks amazingly delicious!! I only made pumpkin bread once and it was dry. Saving and making it asap. One question, I don't like cloves (at all) should I add more cinnamon or nutmeg to compensate or allspice?

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks sdebrango! This what we snack on every Christmas morning. I'm not crazy about cloves, either, so I usually use much less, or just a pinch. Don't know what allspice is like, but really, use whatever spice you like. Let me know if you make it!

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almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am going to add ginger instead of the cloves. Will let you know how it turns out.

Henrykiss

almost 3 years ago arielleclementine

Made this last night and it was wonderful! The perfect pumpkin bread! thanks for the recipe!!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yay! Glad you liked it arielleclementine! You're welcome!

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almost 3 years ago compelled2cook

Made these as muffins and they were delicious and so easy! Added some dates to the original recipe and they worked perfectly

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

thank you compelled2cook! so glad you enjoyed this recipe. the dates sound yummy!!!

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almost 3 years ago krs10

I added one egg and a pinch of powdered ginger. It was great. I also made them into muffins with dried cranberries and golden raisins. It only took about 25-30 minutes of baking.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yum! Great additions! Glad you liked this!

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over 3 years ago Jaynerly

Yum, I love the sound of this! I will not be waiting for Christmas to try it though!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Jayne, just seeing this now! Thanks! Let me know if you do give it a go!

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I'm making this tomorrow for Christmas morning for us and our house guests. Can't wait!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Oh, yay!! I hope everyone enjoys it!! We'll be munching on half of one that I stashed in the freezer. :-)

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over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Mrs L how many mini loafs do you think this will make? I am planning to add minis to XMas gift bags ..

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hmmm...I've never split one loaf into minis, but I have done 7 minis from the batter for 3 large loaves, so....I think you'd get 2 honkin' mini loaves out of 1 loaf. Sorry, that is really confusing. :-) If you go for the 7 minis, see step #6 for details.

Coopers

over 3 years ago aussiefoodie

Thanks Mrs Larkin - this is a delicious and super-easy pumpkin bread (perfect for Christmas morning!). I substituted the pumpkin puree for 1/2 cup of pumpkin butter, 1/2 cup steamed, pureed butternut squash and 1/2 cup water. I also reduced the granulated sugar by half (I used raw sugar), as the pumpkin butter was sweetened. I probably could have reduced the spices also, as the pumpkin butter was spiced too - but it still tastes great. My only word of caution - be sure to use a 9x5 loaf pan (mine is closer to 10" by 5.5"), as my loaf turned out a little flatter than the photo and therefore needed less cooking time. The bread is delicious!!!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

You're welcome, aussiefoodie! I'm so glad you liked the pumpkin bread!

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almost 4 years ago aargersi

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Mrs L I am adding this to my gift list - how long will it keep? Hopefully I can bake the day before I gift but one never knows this time of year ....

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Oh, it keeps for several days at least. It freezes really great too. Defrost it at room temp and one would never know the difference. I do it all the time.

Henrykiss

almost 4 years ago arielleclementine

hooray for mrslarkin! i'm definitely making this soon!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks, arielleclementine!!! Hope you like it!

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

OK, I made it today--my house smells so good. It's delicious and I was surprised that it rose as high as it did without any eggs. I do have a question for you--did you mean for this to be made without salt? Because I tasted the batter and thought it could use a little--I added about 1/2 teaspoon. Thanks for a great easy recipe! (my dinner tonight.)

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

So glad you liked it, drbabs! I know - it's pretty strange how it rises so nicely. The original recipe never used salt, so I never did either, but maybe next time I'll try adding a bit like you did. I once tried adding eggs to it - I didn't like it but can't remember why exactly.

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Mine is a little mushy in the center--puddingy--tastes delicious. Has that ever happened when you make it?

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

No, that's never happened to me. It is a very moist bread, but it's never been puddingy. Did your cake tester come out clean? Loaf pan 9 x 5? Oven calibrated? (mine isn't so I must use an oven thermometer all the time.) Maybe I should rephrase step 4 to say "always use a cake tester" or something like that. I hope you were still able to enjoy it, drbabs!!

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

The cake tester did come out clean--it might be my oven--it's crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. Kind of sunk in on the top. Not really undercooked--just soft in the middle. No big deal--it's really good and I love it.

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I have (potentially mildly problematic ;) addiction to pumpkin bread. But, I don't have a favorite recipe. I can't wait to give this one a try!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Do let me know what you think of this one if you make it, fiveandspice!! I can empathize with you - my addiction is more of an all-encompassing-baked-good one. ;-0

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Will do! There's no time this weekend since I'm hosting a St. Lucia day party, which means all my baking is required to be Scandanavian-centric (and they don't do pumpkin there. They don't know what they're missing!) But we have some friends coming to stay with us next week, so I'm going to see if I squeak it onto the breakfast menu. :)

Me

almost 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

So many wonderful breads to bake, so little time. But I'm going to make time for this one. Looks great!!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

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Thanks!! Let me know if you do make it, ChezSuzanne!

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almost 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love this kind of stuff! Will definitly make this, and if i don't hog it all up myself I may share on Christmas ...

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks aargersi! Good luck with that. ;) Just had a day-old piece for breakfast and it was very scrummy.

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almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

I can smell this right from my screen! Thanks for the smell of Christmas so early!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

You're welcome, Sagegreen! This is my dinner tonight. :)

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I have some pumpkin in the freezer--it just might be my dinner tomorrow night.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yum, drbabs! Let me know how your dinner turns out! ;-)

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almost 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I didn't make it yet--I did Jenny's/Kitchen Butterfly's salmon--but I will soon.