Call me an extremist, but by the time October arrives, I’m already stockpiling cans of puréed pumpkin in my pantry. I think it stems from this one weekend a few years ago when I was dying to make pumpkin bread, and there was some kind of shortage on puréed pumpkin at the grocery store and the shelves were totally bare. I had to make banana bread instead, which did nothing to satisfy my cravings… so now I plan ahead to avoid this
nightmare situation at all costs.
Since I currently have quite a few cans of pumpkin on hand, I’ve been playing around with my classic pumpkin bread recipe and have made a few tweaks that have resulted in a bread that’s a bit healthier — and dare I say, even tastier, too. Keep scrolling for my tips on making this year’s pumpkin bread your best ever, and I’d love to hear if you try this recipe in the comments!
This recipe can be made into muffins, cupcakes (hello, cream cheese frosting!), bread in a traditional loaf pan, or a bundt cake, like I did here. An added bonus is that you can call it whatever you want to meet your needs in a given moment. For example, when I eat it for breakfast, I tell myself it’s a “healthy bread,” and when my kids ask for their dessert, I can proclaim, “Who wants a slice of warm, gooey pumpkin cake?!” See how that works? Everyone’s happy.
This caramel glaze is totally
necessary optional. It’s ridiculously easy — just stir together butter, sugar, & cream on the stove — and drizzles over the top of the cake like a dream. If you want to go a bit healthier, just leave it off and the cake is beyond delicious on its own. I added a few extra toasted walnuts to the top of the cake for added crunch and prettiness.
Okay, so what makes this bread healthier than most other recipes out there? I’ve made a few substitutions with wholesome, less processed ingredients than actually enhance the flavor, too. Applesauce and maple syrup stand in for most of the processed sugar (though I included a little), and I used coconut oil and greek yogurt as healthier fat alternatives to the vegetable oil you often find in traditional recipes. The addition of whole wheat flour upps the nutrients, and I love the more complex nuttiness it adds to the final bread.
The walnut, cinnamon and sugar streusel in the center of the bread is an easy addition that really takes this to the next level – no man, woman or child will be able to resist a second slice.
Are you feeling the fall vibes yet? ‘Cause this bread will fill your kitchen with all the scents of autumn. Hope you give this one a try, and don’t forget to invite a few friends to gather around the table and share it with you.
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup for streusel
- 1 cup applesauce (I love using this pumpkin spice applesauce)
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- zest of 1 large orange
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 can puréed pumpkin
- cooking spray
- 3/4 cups chopped toasted walnuts
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
for the caramel glaze (optional)
- 6 tablespoons butter, chopped
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- Make the streusel filling by combining walnuts, 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine maple syrup, 3/4 cup sugar, applesauce, coconut oil, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest. Beat on medium-high until well combined. Add pumpkin and water, and beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat on lowest setting just until combined.
- Spray bundt pan or 2 loaf pans with cooking spray. If using a bundt pan, sprinkle half of streusel filling onto bottom of pan since this side will be flipped up (if using 2 loaf pans, add the streusel filling to the top of the batter after it’s in the pan, since that will be the “top" of the bread.)
- Spoon half of the batter into the pan. Add remaining streusel filling, then top with remaining batter. Use a knife to swirl it all together a bit.
- Bake at 350 for 60 - 75 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted into center of bread comes out clean and sides of the bread start to pull away a bit. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the caramel glaze:
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, cream and salt, and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Boil for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes, until the caramel is thickened slightly and light in color.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for a minute, then whisk in the confectioner’s sugar, a little at a time. Use only as much confectioner’s sugar as you need to achieve a thick but easy-to-pour consistency. Slowly pour the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down both sides. Once it’s set, slice and serve.
*a few notes:
- If you choose to make two loaves, freeze the extra loaf tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in a freezer bag for up to a month.
- For a perfect glaze, transfer to a liquid measuring cup with a spout, then pour liberal amounts onto the center of the cake so that it will drip down the sides. Since this glaze sets very quickly, only apply one layer of glaze for a perfectly smooth and shiny finish.