Nancy’s Perfect Pumpkin Bread

October 20, 2011 · 7 comments

I grew up eating my mom’s homemade pumpkin pies, and I think it ruined me forever. I love her pumpkin pie, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, spicy-but-not-too-spicy, with firm-but-not-too-firm custard. As an adult, I’ve finally given up on eating pumpkin pie made by anyone else because it’s always a disappointment. I think it may be more of a familiarity problem than an actual fault of anyone else’s baking. I think I just digested the flavors and textures along with the whipped cream to a point that I internalized what pumpkin pie was “supposed” to taste like, and I can’t veer from that standard.

My mom also bakes and sells pumpkin bread at the Corvallis Saturday Farmers’ Market. The quick bread is somewhat less decadent than a pie, but it offers a similar sweet, spicy, seasonal flavor perfect for breakfast. Her recipe is loosely based on The New Moosewood Cookbook‘s carrot cake recipe. My mom usually makes 10-loaf batches, and she doesn’t always measure ingredients precisely, so it was a little difficult to settle upon an exact recipe, but here it is…

Nancy’s Perfect Pumpkin Bread


Yield: two large or three medium loaves

1 1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups pumpkin puree (It will be WAY better if you use actual squash puree as per my instructions here.)
4 cups all-purpose white flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and pumpkin, adding one ingredient at a time and blending with each addition. Beat well.

In another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir well. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients while beating on low speed. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat well.

Spoon the batter into greased loaf pans, and load them into a preheated 350° oven. After baking for 1 hour, begin checking the loaves for doneness every five minutes or so. When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, they’re done.

Remove from pans and cool.

Pumpkin bread is best served warm (or reheated) with a little butter.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kara October 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I have yet to find the perfect pumpkin bread, so I am excited to give this a try!!


Camille October 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

You will like this one, but be sure to use an electric mixer because I’ve heard it doesn’t come out that well if you stir it by hand.


Amy October 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Okay-tried this recipe today!!! It’s sooo good!!! :) Thanks for the recipe-our family will be enjoying this one for a long time to come!!!


Camille October 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

Glad it worked and that you liked it.


Amanda October 27, 2011 at 12:17 am

I just made this recipe today. It turned out quite YUMMY as promised. My kitchen now looks like a bomb went off in it between bread baking and squash cooking and packaging for the freezer (one must not waste a good squash baking session- I know have plenty of squash to get me through the the years pumpkin dessert needs). Maybe I should treat myself to another slice :oP’


Kara October 27, 2011 at 11:19 pm

I tried it too. I ran out of white flour, so I did half whole wheat pastry flour. I also added vanilla, because I have a personal belief that vanilla belongs in every sweet baking recipe. IT was yummy. So yummy.. I had to hurry and freeze one of the loafs so that we wouldn’t all oink it down!


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