Really Good Pumpkin Bread

The pumpkin bread of your dreams, complete with a cinnamon-y streusel topping.
The pumpkin bread of your dreams, complete with a cinnamon-y streusel topping.

It’s called “really good.”

But I think it’s actually “really great.”

“Really Good Pumpkin Bread” really is everything you want in this homespun, seasonal treat.

It’s from “Cook’s Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes: Groundbreaking Techniques. Compelling Voices. One-Of-A-Kind Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen (2018), which features 180 of the magazine’s most innovative recipes.

It’s incredibly moist and tender. It’s full of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg — enough to add a lovely autumnal warmth, but not so much as to obscure the pumpkin taste.

The recipe makes enough for two loaves. If you think that's too much, you can always freeze one for later.
The recipe makes enough for two loaves. If you think that’s too much, you can always freeze one for later.

It also employs the convenience of canned pumpkin — but goes one better by briefly cooking it on the stovetop to concentrate its flavor and eliminate any characteristic metallic taste from the can. Moreover, it adds cream cheese for a subtle tang to bring out the pumpkin taste even more.

Oh, and did I mention there’s even a thin layer of cinnamon-scented streusel to give it a crispy top? And a big handful of toasted walnuts through and through for a bit of crunch?

Really, you can’t go wrong with this.

After you cook the pumpkin puree in a pot, you stir in the cream cheese, then everything else. How convenient is that?

Cream cheese getting mixed into the cooked pumpkin puree.
Cream cheese getting mixed into the cooked pumpkin puree.

The only deviation I made was using plain yogurt instead of buttermilk because I had it handy at home. So if that’s all you have, feel free to make the swap, too.

Breakfast is calling.
Breakfast is calling.

This recipe, which makes two loaves, instructs to let the pumpkin breads cool for 90 minutes after turning them out of the pans before slicing.

Good luck with that, because after inhaling their tantalizing aroma as they bake, you’ll want to tear into a loaf as soon as you can.

So good, you'll want to make this year-round.
So good, you’ll want to make this year-round.

Really Good Pumpkin Bread

(Makes 2 loaves)

For topping:

5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

For bread:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces

4 large eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine

For the topping: Using your fingers, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.

For the bread: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl.

Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat, stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.

Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until well combined (some small lumps of flour are OK). Fold walnuts into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: If you use 9-by-5-inch loaf pans instead, start checking for doneness 5 minutes early.

Adapted from “Cook’s Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen

More Recipes With Canned Pumpkin to Enjoy: Pumpkin Cozy Rolls

And: Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting

And: Pumpkin Spice Mini Cakes

And: Pumpkin, Sage and Browned Butter Cakes

And: Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

And: Creamy Pumpkin Custard

And: Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

And: Pumpkin Swirl Ice-Cream Pie with Chocolate-Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce

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  • Carolyn, soo yummy! I bookmarked this recipe back in November as I had already made several pumpkin-based baked goods for the holidays and so just made this in March. It is so good–moist, flavorful. I made it even more decadent by using the remaining 4 ounces of cream cheese for a frosting–it didn’t need it as perfect on its own, but it made it extra tasty. Definitely making again!

  • Hi Lisa: So glad you liked the recipe. I LOVE that pumpkin bread! And your idea to use the remaining cream cheese for frosting is genius. I merely smeared it on toast the next day, which was not nearly as exciting. LOL Happy baking!

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