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Spiced Molasses Pumpkin Bread

OK, now you didn’t really believe me when I said last week that every post that’s not pasta is just filler until I can get another pasta recipe up there, did you?  Of course you didn’t, because that would be like sort of weird.  Not the believing me part, but if I had actually meant it.  Which I didn’t.

I might have been exaggerating just a teensy bit just to drive home the point that my affection for pasta is not like some schoolgirl crush or puppy love or anything like that.  It’s real.  It’s serious.  And I might need professional help.

But to prove to you that I’m really not that one dimensional, I made pumpkin bread this week.  See?  No pasta.  There’s no pasta hidden inside the bread or lurking off to the side of the photo. 

I wasn’t slurping linguini while I was shooting the photos.  Nothing like that.  I was actually hurrying the whole process along so that I could have another piece with cream cheese on it.  Cream cheese on pumpkin bread rocks.

Actually, this particular pumpkin bread rocks as well.  I’ve been making this bread for a few years now and it’s my go-to fall pumpkin bread.  And I always add raisins.  I must have raisins because the world just feels a little off-kilter, unbalanced, if you will, if they are missing.  But I’ve just begun to imagine a different sort of pumpkin bread… the kind with chocolate chips in it, and I’m very much warming to this idea.

I should tell you that this recipe comes to us from the good folks at Bon Appetit; it was from the November, 1995 issue, so I think I’ve been making this bread a little longer than I thought.  But I sort of like that.  You know that if you’ve been making something for like 15 years or more, it has a quality of reliability and tradition that somehow makes it more believable.  Maybe even more meaningful.  I think pumpkin bread should be meaningful.

So, it’s fall, we’re all thinking about pumpkins, right?  At least that’s what I’m told.  So right now pumpkin bread seems highly appropriate and heartwarmingly delicious.  Here’s my recipe…


Click here for a printable recipe

Yield: Makes 2 loaves (8 ½ x 4 1/2)

This is a very moist, flavorful bread.   I use a slightly chunky applesauce, so there are bits of apple in the bread too.  I've tried all different kinds of canned pumpkin, but for some reason, the Libby's brand always seems to impart the most flavor.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

¾ cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup molasses
½ cup applesauce
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 to 1 cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts (or more if you like it nuttier)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 8 ½ x 4 ½ -inch loaf pans.  

Beat the sugar and oil in a large bowl to blend. Mix in the eggs, applesauce, molasses and pumpkin. 

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder together.  Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in the walnuts and raisins, if desired.

Divide the batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut around the edge of the loaves to loosen. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

 Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Reader Comments (23)

Your pumpkin bread looks amazing! The cream cheese photo sealed it for me. I'll definitely be making this.

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGwynn

LOL!! You really made me laugh with this one! I'm not sure if we're all thinking about pumpkins, but you got me thinking about pumpkin bread. Can't wait to try this one.

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine Wingate

Looks fabulous! Thanks for the recipe!

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I've been making some pumpkin bread for years that I'm almost certain is the same one from Bon Appetit, but it doesn't have molasses in it. Did you add that in?

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMoira

Wow, you're so right, Moira. The original recipe from Bon Appetit does not have molasses. I did make that addition, but forgot to mention that. Thanks for noticing!

November 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

So glad to know that you're not that one dimensional! LOL! I love all the pasta recipes, but this looks yummy too!

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaneen

I have to have raisins in my pumpkin bread too. Not right without them.

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartha D.

OMG. This looks divine. I'll have cream cheese on mine, please.

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

As delicious as this looks in your photos, I think I have to try this with chocolate chips. Mmmmmmm.

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPam

I'd love to make these in the mini-loaf pans as gifts for sharing on Thanksgiving. Any idea how long they might take to cook in the smaller size? I've tried looking online, but the times given were so variable I'm not sure I'd want to trust them!

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuci

How large are your loaf pans, Luci? I love the idea of making these up in smaller loaves for gifts. If they're the 5.75 x 3.25 x 2.25, then I think they would cook in 25 to 30 minutes. Check them at 20 minutes to see if a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The tops should be rounded and starting to brown. Every oven cooks differently, so no matter what a recipe might say, you have to check (the toothpick method works best) yourself as they're cooking. Let us know how they come out! Great idea!

November 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I only have regular-sizes loaf pans. Should I use 2 pans or 1 and how long do you think I should bake them?

November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGina

I would just bake the bread in one pan, Gina. It will definitely take at least an hour to cook through. I would check the bread at one hour (toothpick inserted in the center). If the toothpick comes out with batter on it, keep cooking and checking every 15 minutes. I'm guessing that one loaf might need close to an hour and a half. Let us know it comes out!

November 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

OOOPS...this was submitted to the wrong thread! I have the Wilton 6-loaf pan and they're smaller than the ones you describe: 4.5 x 2.5 x 1.5. I'll do a test bake and let you know how they turn out!

November 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuci

Just thoughtbi'd let you know how delicious this bread is! It came out great! I baked it in one regular-sized loaf pan and it was perfect. Thank you!

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGina

You're so welcome, Gina. I'm really glad it came out and you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting us know!

November 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made this as a full loaf for one of the Thanksgiving desserts and then in mini loaf pans that I gave as gifts...they were a HUGE hit! My pans were the 6-loaf aluminum from Wilton and they cooked in 20 minutes. This is a real keeper!!!

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuci

Thanks so much for letting us know, Luci! So glad you liked the bread... I love the idea of making it in the smaller loaves for gifts. Great idea!

November 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I have a 15 oz can of Trader Joe's Organic Pumpkin, but it does not actually say "solid pack"...the recipe on the can is for pumpkin pie and it only calls for 2 eggs. Can I use it instead? Or should I get a 2nd can and weigh out an additional ounce so it comes out correctly?

December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuci

That will work fine, Luci. In fact I'm pretty sure that I've used Trader Joe's pumpkin before for this.

December 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made this last week - slightly modified, omitted the raisins, added ground ginger and ground cloves, used coconut oil, and replaced some of the flour with ground flax seed. Then since I couldn't find the loaf pans I baked it up in my bundt pan. It was awesome. About the make some more.

August 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

Just made this and had a slice - it was great! Thanks so much for the recipe. I think I might have overdone it a little on the sugar and might cut back a bit next time, but the spice mix and density was just perfect.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlana

So glad you liked it, Alana! And thanks so much for letting us know!

October 20, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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