Baking Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting is the ultimate way to welcome fall and cooler weather. It’s made with simple pantry staples and is prepped and ready for the oven in just 35 minutes. Try this holiday loaf today!
📋 About the Recipe
- Great for holidays. If you’ve been assigned to bring dessert to Thanksgiving or another holiday themed dinner this fall season, you can’t go wrong with this classic pumpkin bread.
- The perfect way to use up a half can of pumpkin puree. If you have leftover pumpkin puree from making my Pumpkin Banana Muffins or Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins, bake it into a loaf of pumpkin bread. No food waste necessary!
- Kid friendly baking activity. If your kids love getting involved in the kitchen, they’ll love to help you bake up this pumpkin bread. Make sure to try decorating my holiday rice Krispie treats together, too!
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Flour - All purpose flour is the best flour to use for the best textured pumpkin bread. I have not tested this recipe with another flour and cannot recommend one.
- Baking powder and baking soda - Both of these leavening agents are used to rise the pumpkin bread in the oven. Please use both as they are necessary to the best structured bread.
- Egg - Eggs are common in baking because they are multi-purpose. Eggs not only help keep the bread moist, but also bind together the ingredients in the batter to give the bread structure and form the perfect loaf.
- Sugar - I recommend using granulated cane sugar. It sweetens the bread without overpowering the flavor of the pumpkin or other spices.
- Pumpkin puree - Be careful to buy 100% pure pumpkin puree. There should be no added sweeteners or spices of any kind. If you cannot find pumpkin puree in stores, make your own pumpkin puree from scratch.
- Cream Cheese - For the best tasting frosting, use full fat cream cheese. Note that it needs to be softened before mixing with the other frosting ingredients. To properly soften, allow the cream cheese to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat and prep. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and spray a 8x4-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar. In a stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the granulated sugar and unsalted butter until pale and combined, about 3 minutes.
- Add in eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. First beat in egg until just combined. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract and beat again until smooth.
- Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredient mixture into the wet batter. Beat until just combined and there is no dry flour remaining.
- Bake. Scoop batter into prepared pan. Place pumpkin bread in the oven and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool the bread. Allow the bread to cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan before transferring it on to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Prepare the frosting. Add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla to the stand mixer bowl. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, milk, and salt. Beat again until light and creamy.
- Spread cream cheese frosting over top. Once the bread has cooled sufficiently, top with frosting, then slice and serve.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- How to make this bread without a stand mixer: Cream together the butter and sugar using electric beaters. As a last resort, you can also do this by hand using a standard whisk.
- Vanilla extract substitutions: Use fresh vanilla paste scraped from the inside of a vanilla bean.
- Top with my simple sugar glaze instead. If you’d like a lighter topping, try my simple glaze I used on my pumpkin blueberry bread or pumpkin zucchini muffins.
❄️ How to Store
Should you refrigerate homemade pumpkin bread? Yes, I recommend refrigerating this homemade pumpkin bread to prevent the frosting from melting. This bread is best served fresh the day of or the next day, but can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
How long will pumpkin bread last? When refrigerated, you can expect the pumpkin bread to last 7 days. If you leave the bread at room temperature, it should be consumed within 1 to 2 days with the frosting stored separately in the refrigerator.
Butter helps to balance the flavor of the frosting and make it a consistency that is easy to spread on top of desserts. I prefer to use unsalted butter, but if you only have salted butter in the refrigerator, use it and omit the salt.
If you would like to thicken your cream cheese frosting without having to add additional powdered sugar, beat in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. My recommendation is to add the cornstarch a tiny bit at a time to prevent it from clumping. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the cream cheese frosting until it has thickened to your desired consistency.
A gummy pumpkin bread is usually the result of one of two things: either the bread was over mixed or the bread was undercooked. If you over mix the bread or mix it too quickly, the gluten can become activated and cause the batter to become tough and stringy.
Similarly, if the bottom of the bread is not finished baking, you will notice an undercooked layer on the bottom of the bread that can taste gummy. Make sure to insert the toothpick into the bread far enough to check the bottom portion of the bread is cooked through.
This pumpkin bread is freezer safe, but there are a couple of things to know before freezing. First, if you are planning to freeze, do not top the pumpkin bread with frosting until you thaw it and are ready to serve. Second, I highly recommend freezing the pumpkin bread in a whole loaf as opposed to slices to retain the moisture and preserve the loaf’s optimal texture.
To freeze, tightly wrap in plastic wrap and place in a zip top freezer safe bag. Once ready, thaw the bread in the refrigerator overnight, then frost with the cream cheese frosting.
💭 One More Tip
Sift the powdered sugar before using. Sifting the powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve will remove any clumps and ensure your cream cheese frosting is silky smooth.
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Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg*
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger*
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves*
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup 100% pure pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 ounces full fat plain cream cheese, softened (¼ of a brick of cream cheese)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
- ¾ teaspoon milk of choice, room temperature
- pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare an 8x4-inch loaf pan by spraying it with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- To the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and sugar. Beat together until pale and combined, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in egg until just combined. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract. Beat again.
- Pour flour mixture into the wet batter. Beat until just combined and there is no dry flour remaining.
- Scoop batter into prepared pan. Place pan in oven and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean with just a few crumbs.
- Allow bread to cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan before removing it and placing it on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- As the bread cools, prepare the frosting: Add cream cheese, butter, and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, milk, and salt. Beat again until light and creamy.
- Once bread has cooled, spread cream cheese frosting over top. Then, slice and serve.
- Store pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Bread is best when served the same day or the next day.
- If freezing, do not make the frosting until ready to serve. Freeze the bread whole (do not cut into slices, for optimal freshness) in an airtight container or wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in a zip top bag. Thaw bread on the counter overnight and make cream cheese frosting once defrosted.
- *1 teaspoon of store-bought pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
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