Makes 2 loaves Total Time 1 Hour 40 Minutes
(plus 1 1/2 hours cooling time)
Why this recipe works: Canned pumpkin puree often lends a raw, metallic flavor to pumpkin bread. We cook down the puree to eliminate those off-putting flavors. Instead of dirtying more dishes, we mix the quick bread right in the pot, adding cream cheese and buttermilk for their tangy flavor. A quick-to-assemble topping adds texture and keeps the loaf from getting soggy the next day. The test kitchen’s preferred loaf pan measures 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches; if using 9 by 5‑inch loaf pans, start checking for doneness 5 minutes early.
5 tablespoons packed (21/4 ounces) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (10 ounces) 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 (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
4 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine
1. For the topping: Using fingers, mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand.
2. 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.
3. Cook pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Off 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.
4. Whisk eggs and buttermilk together in separate bowl, then whisk into pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in flour mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK). Fold in walnuts. Scrape batter into prepared pans, smooth tops, and sprinkle evenly with topping. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.
5. Let loaves cool in pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and let cool for 1 1/2 hours before serving.
Pumpkin Bread with Crystallized Ginger
Substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger for cinnamon in topping. Add 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger to batter with walnuts.