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Award-Winning Pumpkin Bread Recipe

I had a request for this recipe on another board, so I'll post it here. When my kids were young, we used this recipe numerous times to make either pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins which we entered in our annual Unionville (PA) Community Fair. Without fail, each time we entered, we won first place ribbons, the kids in their respective age categories, and me in the adult category. One year the muffins even won Best of Show (best out of all baked goods entered by elementary school students). Now that the kids are grown, the recipe still remains a family favorite. It's been a few years since I've submitted any entries in the Fair, so I'm no longer quite so protective of the recipe.

Makes one loaf. Recipe may be doubled.

1¾ cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. double-acting baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1½ cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup water
½ cup yellow raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a Pyrex loaf pan, 9 by 5 by 3 inches.

Into a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.

In another bowl beat together the eggs, oil, pumpkin puree and water. Add to the flour mixture and beat until the batter is combined. Stir in the raisins (if using). Pout the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Using the tip of a sharp knife, draw a line down the length of the surface of the batter. (This helps the appearance of the baked loaf.)

Bake in center of preheated oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Test after 1 hour and 15 minutes.) Let the bread cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Turn it out onto a rack (if desired) and let it cool completely.

*The same recipe can be used to make six giant pumpkin muffins, but the baking time is shorter; test muffins for doneness after 55-60 minutes.

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  1. Thank you very much for sharing, CindyJ.

    1. Funny I was given this recipe a long time ago and have always gotten rave reviews with it, too. I add dried ginger to it and replace the water with apple cider. The can of pumpkin puree is the small one (15 oz), not the big one--made that mistake in the beginning and had some pretty solid bread.

      7 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        Reading the recipe above, it looks like it calls for 1 cup of the puree, rather than 1 can of the puree. So it sounds like you're using 15 oz, which I believe is more than 1 cup, and still having good results?

        1. re: diablita FL

          You're right, diablita, the recipe calls for one CUP, not one can.

          1. re: diablita FL

            Yes, sorry, I read that wrong. I do use a whole can. Maybe that's why it's so moist. But, I still get a great rise out of it.

            1. re: chowser

              I have this recipe baking in the oven right now. I added pecans. It smells heavenly.

              1. re: chowser

                I use a similar recipe from Joy of Cooking. I use a 15 oz can for a two loaf recipe. Molasses goes well with the other spices.

                Since I want something that I can eat for breakfast, with at least the illusion of healthy eating, I cut the sugar in half, and use a mix of (white)whole wheat flour, and various brans and ground nuts.


                1. re: paulj

                  I've also cut the oil in half and used applesauce and the added applesauce makes up for less sugar. It's also good with a mix of brown sugar and white.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I once forgot the oil, and didn't notice much difference.

                    I like to place parchment paper on the bottom of the loaf pan.

          2. I keep coming back to this recipe because it sounds so delicious. I'm definitely going to try it tomorrow!

            And thanks for the additional info about the pumpkin qty, Cindy and Chowser. It sounds like there's some room for variation since it's a quick bread.

            1. I just took mine out of the oven and as suggested by others I used a mixture of whole wheat flour, buck wheat flour and bran. I used applesauce and egg whites as well (to replace oil and eggs) and added pecans (had some left over from Thanksgiving). The basic recipe is super forgiving, very moist, and my husband loved it. Thanks so much for recipe CindyJ. I will be making this again.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Super Salad

                I'm really delighted to hear that the recipe is a "winner" in your homes, too. ENJOY!!

              2. I made this tonight and it is really delicious!

                I made a couple of changes:
                used 1 1/2 cups pumpkin
                used 1/4 cup oil + 1/4 cup applesauce
                added 1 cup Guittard bittersweet chocolate chunks (yum)

                1. CindyJ,

                  I've been making your recipe as written every year since you posted the recipe. It really is a fabulous recipe. I especially liked it because it was already low in oil--most recipes call for a cup! Today I did half oil and half buttermilk. It is still simply delicious. I thought that I would comment and bump it up due to it being the pumpkin season!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Mattkn

                    Cindj thanks for posting and Mattkn thanks for bumping it up so we newbies could find it.
                    I'm going to start with it as written, but am also interested in the adds and modifications that have been successful.

                    1. re: Island

                      No problem. Be sure make the cut down the center...makes it especially beautiful. Also, in my oven it only takes an hour so you might want to check it earlier than an hour and 15. Good luck and welcome!

                      1. re: Mattkn

                        It's funny how that line down the center of the batter really does make a difference in the finished appearance. When my kids were really small, I'd let them make that line with a bamboo skewer rather than a knife. These days, my daughter, who has little interest in cooking or baking, does bake an occasional pumpkin bread from this recipe. She remembers that little step from her childhood days, and never overlooks it, and makes sure that any time she passes the recipe along, that tip is emphasized.

                        1. re: Mattkn

                          You're right, Mattkn -- your oven and the pan you use can both affect the baking time significantly.

                        2. re: Mattkn

                          Mattkn, it's really great to hear that my recipe is still being enjoyed. What a great idea to use buttermilk -- I'll have to try that!

                        3. Thank you! I plan to make some for donation to the judges' lounge for our high school debate tournament, and I did a dry run this past weekend. It was delicious-- moist and soft. I compared the recipe to one in another cookbook and this recipe has significantly more spice, which I think is a good thing. I only cooked it about an hour and five minutes because I was afraid it was overcooking; next time I'll let it go a bit more, but it was still devoured and remarked on. I'll also try the parchment paper on the bottom idea, as I lost a bit of it stuck to the bottom of the loaf pan. But my son asked me last night to "make some more again soon" so it was really a hit. I did add some chopped walnuts, but other than that made the recipe as written.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: DGresh

                            A little time-saving tip: when I know I'm going to be baking several batches of this recipe, I measure out multiples of the ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and combine them in their own little jar which I label "Pumpkin Bread Spices." Then, when it's time to bake, I measure 1 tablespoon of the mixed spices per recipe. No, it's not exactly the same amount as I'd have if I were measuring per the recipe, but the extra half-teaspoon is fine.

                            I've never had a problem with the bread sticking as long as the bottom of the pan is adequately greased and floured, but parchment sounds like a good idea.

                            I've "gifted" loaves of this bread countless times. Many years ago, when my kids were young, my daughter's cat ran up a tree in the back of our house and couldn't get down. After a day or so, we called the local volunteer fire department to help out. Because the tree was back in the woods, the ladder from the truck didn't reach. One of the volunteers got a piece of equipment (sorry, I don't know what it's called) that's used by hunters who want to climb trees to look for deer. He climbed way up into the tree and rescued the cat. My daughter was so grateful to have her cat back, she decided to bake several loaves of pumpkin bread for the volunteers.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              Thanks for the tip on the spices-- I noticed that if you add the salt in too then your one tablespoon would be exact!

                              1. re: DGresh

                                True enough. I didn't add the salt just in case I decided to use the pumpkin spice mixture for something else that doesn't need the salt -- pancakes, waffles, etc.

                          2. Tis the season, once again. I doubled the recipe and baked loaves for two neighbors earlier this week. I added a new helpful hint to my annotated, messy, hard-copy version of the recipe. Earlier this year I purchased an 8-cup measuring cup at a restaurant supply store. Since one of my hand-written notes on the recipe says, "Each single recipe makes EXACTLY 4 cups of batter," I poured the entire doubled recipe into the measuring cup, then I poured 4 cups off into the first prepared loaf pan and the remainder into the second loaf pan. No more guesswork dividing the batter!

                            1. I'm definitely going to be making this! Thank you so much for sharing.

                              I like to substitute oil with melted butter. Other than taste, would that change the outcome?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: AuntieJen

                                I'm really not much of a baker, but I've got to believe it would make a difference. Oil and butter are different products and they react differently to heat and other ingredients. I could see, perhaps, substituting canola oil for the vegetable oil, but butter ... that's anyone's guess.

                                1. re: AuntieJen

                                  Sure go ahead. My experience with pumpkin bread is that the oil or other fat is almost not needed. Some like to use butter for its flavor, but you might not detect that in a well flavored recipe like this.

                                  I also use molasses in my pumpkin bread, and more ginger.