Pumpkins are some of my favorite things- to eat and to look at. They just make me happy in all their orange globe glory. I still have two pumpkins sitting on my back porch because I can't bear to throw them away. I don't usually cook with pumpkin but I do love to bake with it. It just adds so much moisture to breads.
My all time favorite bread comes from Great Harvest Bread Co. And at $6.99 a loaf it better be good! It just has a wonderfully moist and dense texture and the pumpkin and spices are the perfect balance. I've tried many pumpkin bread recipes and none have ever compared. Except for this recipe. It's nothing like the loaf from Great Harvest but it is equally delicious.
The recipe comes from Elissa of 17 and Baking and is rippled with a cream cheese filling, which puts it over the top. It's tender and pumpkiny and lighter than most pumpkin breads I've tried. I find that baking with oil instead of creaming butter with sugar will yield a moister bread but in this case the recipe uses melted butter so you don't have to wait for your butter to soften- bonus! It was great warmed for a few seconds in the microwave but I also really loved it cold right out of the fridge. Give it a try and decide for yourself.
Cream Cheese Filling:
- 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1– 15 ounce can pure pumpkin
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9″x5″ pans.
For the Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese just until smooth in a stand mixer or food processor. Add the sugar and process just until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing just until incorporated. Do not over process. Stir in the flour. Set aside.
For the Pumpkin Bread: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs until lightly beaten. Whisk in the sugar and melted butter, then stir in the pumpkin, water, vanilla extract, and (optionally) nuts.
Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, being careful not to overmix. A few streaks of flour are fine. Divide the batter in half. Take one half and divide it between the two pans. Pour half of the cream cheese filling into each pan, then top with the remaining half of batter. Smooth the tops and bake an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool loaves to room temperature.
Makes 2 9"x5" loaves.
NOTE: The recipe says to divide the batter in half when you pour it into the pans. I didn't do this (obviously!) and my layers were a little off but it was still good.