Banana bread is one of the things that I bake most often, as not only do I like it, but I almost always have some bananas around the kitchen that need a little more direction in life. The same could be said for pumpkin bread during the fall and winter months. I stock up on canned pumpkin puree in the fall, so I always have it on hand, and pumpkin bread is an easy, all-purpose treat to bake with it. Pumpkin bread is spicy and satisfying, a nice change of pace from banana bread (although similar in concept) and the perfect thing to have with coffee on a chilly winter day.
Like banana bread, I have one pumpkin bread recipe that I turn to over and over again, adding different twists to it here and there depending on what I’m in the mood for. This is that Basic Pumpkin Bread recipe. It’s a very moist loaf that is tender but filling at the same time. There is a good amount of pumpkin puree in the recipe (you can use homemade or store bought), along with a generous dose of pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
The pumpkin bread is very tasty on its own, spread with butter or even topped with cream cheese. It also opens the door to all kinds of variations depending on what ingredients you have in your kitchen. Nuts, chocolate chips and dried fruits are just a few add-ins that can completely change your pumpkin bread. Candied ginger can really spice it up, as can playing with the existing spices in the bread for different flavor profiles. I’ve listed a few suggestions beneath the recipe, so use them as a jumping off point for your own pumpkin bread and then come up with your own combinations!
Basic Pumpkin Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven 350F and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices (can use pumpkin pie spice in place of individual spices).
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well combined, then whisk in the pumpkin puree, milk, butter and vanilla extract. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Pour batter out into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.
Add 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts for pumpkin nut bread
Add 3/4 cup chocolate chips for pumpkin chocolate chip bread
Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 2/3 cup fresh/frozen cranberries for pumpkin cranberry bread
Add zest of one or two large oranges for orange pumpkin bread