Quick breads are all the rage in our home right now. They are easy to make, moist, bursting with flavor, and they are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast option. I’ve been experimenting with all kinds (there’s actually a lemon loaf I am very eager to share with you because it is simply divine) but today we’re going to be making a wonderfully warming spiced pumpkin loaf. Even better is that this batter makes amazing muffins so the choice of form is up to you!
Oh, and I didn’t even mention the best part: this loaf is made using 100% whole wheat flour, but before you cringe and imagine a dense brick of a loaf hear me out, I have learned (mostly through trial and error) several wonderful tricks that I’ll be sharing with you that ensures this loaf is light, fluffy, and one that no one will believe is actually whole wheat.
Here’s why you’re going to love this recipe💕:
- It’s clean eating and vegetarian friendly.
- It is made using 100% whole wheat flour (but you’ll never be able to tell).
- It is quick and easy to make.
- It can be made either as a whole loaf or as muffins or even mini muffins.
- It is a great use for pumpkin puree (especially if you have a can leftover from thanksgiving hanging out in the back of your pantry).
- It is produces a wonderfully aromatic, warming spice loaf that is light, moist, delicious and almost cake-like in texture.
- It has just the right amount of sweetness that it doesn’t need a frosting.
- It freezes beautifully so it can be made well in advance and enjoyed as needed.
For this recipe we’ll be needing the following:
- Raw Cane Sugar: I’ve blended mine to break it down so that it dissolves easier.
- Pumpkin Puree: You can use canned or homemade (note that if you use homemade and it’s on the wetter side you may want to add an extra tbsp of flour to compensate)
- Extra Light Olive Oil: or any neutral clean eating oil of your choosing
- Large Eggs: These add both rise and fluff as well as moisture to our spiced bread
- Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: This flour is 100% whole wheat (meaning it contains the germ and endosperm) and it is a finely ground soft spring wheat which enables your baked goods to have a lighter texture.
- Ground Cinnamon: Cinnamon and pumpkin pair together beautifully and this warm, earthy spice adds both flavor and depth to the loaf.
- Pumpkin Spice: This spice is iconic and pairs so well with pumpkins. It is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
- Baking Powder: The amount used might seem like a lot but the recipe requires it for the best possible texture and bake.
- Salt: I’m using a Himalayan Pink salt but you can also use a sea salt.
- Orange Extract: Though optional, it adds a wonderful undertone that perfectly compliments the flavor and spices of the bread.
- Vanilla Extract: Who doesn’t like vanilla extract in their baked goods? It amplifies and enhances all our other flavors and takes this loaf into the realm of amazing.
Before we begin let me just say that using an electric whisk for this recipe makes life so much easier. You can also use a spatula or a regular whisk if you prefer, it’s just going to require a bit more elbow grease and a bit more care to ensure you’re not overworking the batter once you add the flour!
The first step to making this amazing loaf is to mix together your eggs and sugar.
Next, whisk in your pumpkin puree…
…Along with your spices: cinnamon, pumpkin spice, salt, and orange and vanilla extracts.
Next we’re going to slowly stream in our oil, whisking continuously as we do so.
Then comes the flour. First we’ll need to sift it before adding it to our pumpkin mixture. Once you add it, stir or whisk it in until just combined. Do not overmix or overwork the batter.
I used my spatula to fold most of the flour in so it wouldn’t make a cloud of flour in my kitchen and then I switched over to my electric whisk to blend it together for just a few seconds. Overworking your batter can result in your loaf rising and then collapsing to give you a dense bottom and possibly a collapsed dome.
Now, here is my first tip and it is one that you cannot omit: Once you’ve incorporated your flour let your batter rest for 20 minutes. This is to give your whole wheat flour the chance to properly hydrate and absorb the liquids so that it can soften and give you a moist, soft and fluffy end product.
While your batter is resting, preheat your oven to 350F and (here comes tip #2) Set your oven rack to the notch just below the middle placement.
Once your batter has rested (your oven should just about be preheated), we’re going to use a fine sifter to sift in our baking powder. Now the sifting part isn’t wholly necessary, but it makes incorporating it easier which means you have to agitate your batter less.
Baking powder is double acting which means that it reacts to both moisture and heat, the reason that tip #3 is to add it last and after the batter has rested is to ensure that we don’t lose any of it’s rising power. If we add it before, the baking powder will react to the moisture in the batter but since the flour hasn’t hydrated we’ll lose air bubbles under the weight and when we pour it into the pan we’ll lose even more of our precious air bubbles. Adding it just before we pour the batter ensures that we get the full power of our rising agent in an undisturbed batter.
So, once you’ve folded in your baking powder, pour your batter into a loaf pan (I’m using a 9×5) that has been greased with oil and is lined with parchment paper that has an overhang that sticks up 1″- 2″. The reason for this is that it acts as a sort of guide for your bread and keeps it from wanting to flow over the edges once it begins to rise in the oven.
Place your batter-filled bread pan onto a baking sheet and set it in your oven (notice the rack placement?) to bake for 60-80 minutes. It might seem like a long time, but trust me that it needs it.
Once your loaf is baked and passes the toothpick test, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 30-60 minutes before lifting it out using the parchment. Set your loaf onto a cooling rack to fully cool.
And once it’s cooled, cut your loaf into 10-12 slices. Your bread should be warm, soft, moist and aromatic.
Even better is that this batter bakes up beautifully as muffins too. Simply divide the batter between 12 muffin molds (fill each about 3/4 full) and bake them for 20-30 min until they pass the toothpick test.
Simple, easy, and delicious, this loaf is one of my favorites and honestly I think the hardest part of this entire recipe is the time it takes to bake and cool down before you can devour it. Patience really is a virtue. 😅
To recap here are my tips for ensuring that this recipe is a success:
- Do not overwork your batter once you add the flour. Use an electric whisk if you have one for easier mixing.
- Set the oven rack on the spot that is just one below the middle setting.
- Let your batter rest for at least 20 min.
- Only add your baking powder once your batter has rested. If possible sift it in before folding it into your batter.
- Use a pan that is both greased and also has parchment with overhang that sticks up to ensure that your loaf is encouraged to rise upwards.
- Cool your loaf first in the pan and then on a cooling rack before cutting it to avoid it from crumbling.
And as a great means of spicing up this already awesome recipe try adding in half cup of mini dark chocolate chips or dried cranberries or chopped walnuts!
Happy baking everyone!! 💕
Pumpkin Spice Loaf
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup raw cane sugar (finely blended)
- 1¼ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup extra light olive oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp pumpkin spice
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange extract (optional)
- 1⅓ cup stone ground whole wheat pastry flour (sifted to break up any clumps)
- 2 tsp baking powder (sifted)
- In a large bowl whisk together eggs and sugar until fully blended.
- Incorporate your pumpkin puree into your egg-and-sugar mixture along with your cinnamon powder, pumpkin spice, salt, and vanilla and orange extracts.
- While whisking, slowly stream in your extra light olive oil.
- Once your oil is fully blended in, add the sifted whole wheat pastry flour and whisk until fully combined.See notes section*
- Let batter your rest for 20 minutes so that the whole wheat flour can fully hydrate.
- While batter is resting, set your oven rack on the 2nd lowest slot and preheat your oven to 350°F. Next, grease a 9x5 bread pan and line with parchment paper that sticks up the sides at least 2" (see note).
- Finally, sift in your baking powder using a fine sifter and fold it into your batter.
- Pour your batter into your prepared bread pan, Place your pan onto a baking sheet and bake for 60-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool for a minimum of 1 hour before removing from the pan and slicing into 12 slices.
- Store your bread in the fridge for up to a week or wrap each slice individually and freeze for up to three months.
- The flour is measured by volume (compact) and then sifted.
- If after adding the flour you notice that your batter is very thick, you can add in a tbsp or two of milk or water to thin it out a bit before letting your batter rest. If using a homemade pumpkin puree it may be on the wetter side so you may need to do the inverse and add an extra tbsp of flour.
- If you don't let your batter rest, your loaf will be dense and may possibly sink in the middle while baking since the flour will be heavy from not being sufficiently hydrated.
- The parchment paper extending past the edge of the tin is a great safety guide to encourage your bread to rise upwards and not spill over the sides.
- For a great variation you can add in 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips to your batter or 1/2 cup of dried cranberries.