Pumpkin Bread

Fall Container The sounds and smells of fall are predictably familiar and comforting. I’ve known them all my life, hearing the chorus of geese honking to one another as they head south, smelling the smoke from a pile of leaves drifting from a backyard, and feeling the crispness in the air as a child trick or treating or walking to school. Even as an adult the pattern continues, the leaves still crunch underfoot, rustling and swirling in the breeze stirred up as I walk my own children to the bus stop each morning. We often talk about taste memories, but it is the echoes, scents, and displays of fall that bring me right back to childhood each year.

That is not to say that the tastes of autumn go by the wayside. Flavors are warmer, spicier, and richer, adding life to both sweet and savory dishes. On these cool days I crave baking- wanting to fill the kitchen with the colors, flavors, and aromas of fall.

This pumpkin bread recipe fits the bill. Many pumpkin bread recipes call for oil as the fat of choice while this recipe uses butter, which I prefer. The original calls for water or orange juice as the liquid, but I swap in cider, as it seems a better complement to the pumpkin. Another addition is nutmeg, to partner with the cinnamon and cloves. I’ve reduced the sugar, which hasn’t done any harm (and no one notices). Finally, the raisins are completely eliminated instead I occasionally add walnuts.

This makes two large loaves of pumpkin bread, one to enjoy now, one to freeze for another day down the road as we march towards winter.

Pumpkin bread slices on cutting board

Pumpkin Bread

  • Servings: 2 large loaves
  • Print

*adapted from The Martha Stewart Cookbook, Collected Recipes for Everyday

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), at room temperature
3 Tablespoons molasses
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cup cider
2 cups pumpkin puree, homemade or canned
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans.

With an electric mixer, cream butter, molasses, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat until light. Add cider and pumpkin purée and mix well.

Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl, and add the pumpkin mixture, stirring well with a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine. If using the nuts, add them now, folding them carefully into the batter.

Divide evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool.

*This recipe is easily multiplied and freezes well.

Creaming butter, molasses, and sugar until light and fluffy.
Cream butter, molasses, and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at time to the creamed butter and sugar, beating well before adding the next.
Add the eggs one at time, beating well before adding the next.
Butter, sugar, molasses, and egg mixture is light.
Butter, sugar, molasses, and egg mixture is light and creamy.
Adding the pumpkin purée and cider to butter, sugar, and egg mixture.
Add the pumpkin purée and cider and mix well.
Curdled looking mixture... not to worry.
Don’t worry! It looks terrible, but it will be ok!
Combining the wet and dry ingredients well with a wooden spoon.
Add the sifted dry ingredients, combining well with a wooden spoon.
Batter in greased loaf pan.
Divide batter evenly into greased loaf pans.
Pumpkin bread in loaf pan
Pumpkin bread is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.



12 thoughts on “Pumpkin Bread

      1. I do… the memoir of your multicultural experiences in life, love, and motherhood are recollected in such a thoughtful and sensitive way. Despite all the hard times you are able to share the moments of beauty you discovered… outside your home, in the kitchen, and with others.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a lovely recipe and the end product looks wonderful. Your photos and instructions make everything so easy to follow. Do you always eat your pumpkin loaf just as it is, or do you ever butter it? Many ‘tea loaves’ over here – like date and walnut – are often better buttered. We don’t use pumpkin here (UK) as much as you do in the US, so I’ve never used it a great deal. There are plenty about at this time of year, though, and my husband has grown a few in the past. Perhaps I ought to have a go…
    Lovely description of autumn. Migratory geese and ducks are a sure sign of the season, and who can resist kicking about in those crunchy leaves…? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely give the recipe a go. I’m so impressed that your husband has grown his own pumpkin! Usually I eat the pumpkin bread as is, however one very classic flavor combination is pumpkin and cream cheese. Often my children will enjoy a bit of cream cheese on their slice. Is cream cheese commonly used in the UK?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, we have cream cheese, and it’s quite popular. I love it and can imagine how well it would go with this loaf. My husband has had a go at growing most things over the years. Most of his pumpkins in past years were used by our children and their friends at Halloween. Pumpkins were not something we would have thought to use in baking in those days. Nick still grows a few, just for the fun of it, but we still don’t eat them. I suppose it’s partly because we have so much other fruit already harvested and a lot of it frozen. I’m never short of fruits for pies, or whatever we decide to make. I;m so interested in the ways you use pumpkins. Hope all that made sense.It came out a bit garbled. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Do you grow your own fruit as well? What have you harvested? We have a small garden for growing tomatoes, peppers, and lots of herbs. We also have a farm in town where I pick up all of our veggies weekly beginning in June and going through November.
        Another use for pumpkins… scoop out seeds, separating them from the stringy pulp and roast. Great to nibble on throughout the day!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We have a relatively small garden nowadays, but we still have a vegetable plot for general use root and green vegetables and salad foods. We have a small greenhouse for tomatoes, and occasionally cucumbers, and we grow a few outdoor ‘beef’ tomatoes, too. We haven’t enough space for potatoes now, unfortunately. In the past, when our children were at home, we had much larger gardens and grew most things we needed for the year. Now, potatoes and sprouts, which take up too much space, are bought from the market in Newark. We also rented two allotment plots a year at one time..Now it’s just our garden.
        In addition to the veggetables and salad, we have lots of fruit trees and bushes, which I’ll quickly list: 3 eating apple and one cooking apple trees, a damson tree, Victoria plum tree, 2 pear trees, several balckcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes, a large rhubarb patch, a dozen raspberry canes and a very big cultivated bramble. No pumpkins, though- which I do intend to try.
        We use the produce fresh and try to freeze what’s left. The ‘children’ have their fair share as well. I do bake much of the fruits into pies, crumbles and such like and freeze for use in winter.
        By the way, what’s the difference between the pumkins you use in your cooking and the Jack ‘o Lantern ones you mentioned. Pumpkins are simply pumkins over her – some pale, some bright orange.


      4. Your gardens sound wonderful! It must be extremely satisfying to grow almost everything you need. I especially love the idea of your fruit trees! We were in Belfast this summer and had dinner with friends. They have their own gooseberry bushes too and we had the most delicious dessert made from them. Gooseberries are not common here- I’ve never scene them in a market. Prior to this summer, the closest I’d ever come to them was in a jam. But, that will change next spring! I did some research and it turns out we can grow gooseberries in our climate, so I will be ordering a bush or two for our yard. Maybe I’ll add some currents as well, another fruit that is not typical here. The only currents I can find are in dried form… best in scones. You’ve inspired me, Millie! Thank you…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. We do love our fruit trees. The red and blackcurrants aren’t the same as the one you’d put in scones (at least here, they aren’t. It may be different where you are). Red and blckcurrants are soft, juicy fruits (very small and round) ideal for pies and jam making. What we call ‘currants’ are dried grapes. I think you’ll enjoy having gooseberries. Over here, they tend to have the jokey nickname of ‘googegogs’. Some varieties are dessert gooseberries – sweet enough to eat without cooking and sweetening. Others are quite sour and generally do need sugar adding. Those are much better for baking.


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