Best Ever Pumpkin Bread Recipe - moist, delicious and easy!
A healthier pumpkin bread recipe with olive oil and whole wheat flour.
My son is a picky eater. He loves meat, bread, milk, cheese and dessert, but for the most part does not like vegetables. He'll eat a few kinds of fruit, but not many. I'm always looking for ways to boost his intake of fruits and vegetables, so I'm happy that he loves homemade pumpkin bread. Pumpkin is rich in fiber and beta carotene (vitamin A) and low in fat. It also contains plenty of healthy antioxidants.
Pumpkin bread is easy to make and makes the whole house smell great. To make my recipe a bit healthier than other pumpkin breads, I use olive oil, whole wheat flour and "omega-3 eggs" such as Eggland's Best eggs. My son is none the wiser. In fact, everyone in my house loves this rich, moist, cake-like bread. You'd never guess it contains healthy ingredients.
This bread could be made even healthier with less sugar. At this point I haven't tried that, as I am happy that my son is eating pumpkin, whole wheat flour, olive oil and omega-3 eggs. Walnuts, pecans or dried cranberries or raisins would also be healthy and delicious additions, but alas, my picky eater turns up his nose at all those.
The recipe I based this pumpkin bread on calls for 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and zero whole wheat flour. I substitute whole wheat flour in place of some of the the all-purpose flour. Using all whole wheat flour would up the healthy quotient of this pumpkin bread even further, but as with the sugar, I want to ensure that the recipe is picky-eater friendly.
This recipe makes two large loaves or three smaller loaves. I have two of the larger 8.5x4.5 pans and it fills them about 3/4 full (This is about as full as you'll want to go, as the bread rises and expands when baked.) The batter will fill three of the smaller 7x3 loaf pans. While this makes quite a bit of bread, I don't mind, because every bite is always eaten, whether I freeze a loaf for later or wrap up the extra one and leave it out on the counter for quick breakfasts or after-school snacks. I also like that the recipe uses the entire can of pumpkin, because I don't like to waste food and I think half a can of pumpkin would end up in the trash -- I don't think I'd ever get around to using it.
Pumpkin Bread Spreads and Toppings
Once you've baked your pumpkin bread, slice yourself a piece and enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee. Spread on a bit of butter, if you like, or take it a step further with a delicious topping or spread. Some ideas:
- Cinnamon Butter: Mix together 1/2 stick softened butter, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cnnamon.
- Chocolate syrup
- Caramel syrup
- Apple butter
- Apricot preserves
- Whipped cream
- Vanilla, chocolate, coffee or butter pecan ice cream
- 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 4 eggs
- 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
- 1 cup light olive oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
1. Grease and flour two large or three small loaf pans. I am always looking for quick and easy ways to get things done, so to coat my pans I usually use Baker's Joy, which is a spray-on combination of oil and flour.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, spices, salt and baking soda.
3. Crack eggs into a large bowl and lightly beat with a fork or whisk.
4. Add pumpkin to the eggs and mix until well blended.
5. Stir in olive oil, water and vanilla to the egg mixture, and mix until well blended.
6. Stir in brown sugar and white sugar; blend well.
7. Blend in dry ingredients and mix well.
8. Divide batter equally among the prepared loaf pans. If you have too much batter and not enough pans, pour leftover batter into greased and floured or paper-lined muffin pans.
9. Bake at 350°. For two larger loaves, set the timer for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes, insert a toothpick into the middle of a loaf. If the toothpick comes out clean, it's ready. If it comes out covered with batter, place loaves back in oven for 10 additional minutes. If loaves do not pass the toothpick test after 10 additional minutes, add five more minutes to the baking time. Continue adding baking time as needed, but do not over bake.
Three smaller loaves will bake more quickly than larger ones. For three small loaves, bake for 30 minutes, then proceed with the toothpick test.
For muffins, bake for 13-15 minutes.
How to Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree
Canned vs. Fresh Pumpkin
I have heard the adage that fresher is better, and I usually agree with that. However, when it comes to pumpkin, I did a side-by-side comparison and couldn't tell any difference. When my daughter was a preschooler, one Thanksgiving I thought it would be fun and educational to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. We picked out a pie pumpkin from the grocery store and got to work. Making pumpkin puree wasn't difficult, and my daughter enjoyed helping and learning about the process. That same day I also made another pie from canned pumpkin. The next day at Thanksgiving we had a pumpkin pie taste test. Not only did the two pies look identical -- they were even the exact same color -- no one in my extended family could taste any difference between the two.
If you'd like to make pumpkin puree from scratch and try the taste test yourself, the video above shows an easy technique.