Pumpkin bread! It’s one of my favorite pumpkin foods (although I’m sure we’ve established that I love all pumpkin baked goods like the proverbial fat kid loves cake). This one intrigued me because there is cream cheese in it. And it looks fancy. And someday, I am going to show up to a family function and outshine my aunt, who pretty much makes the best breads ever. Just kidding. That’s not going to happen.
I made a couple of modifications to this one. First, I’m not using pecans or walnuts. I know a lot of people enjoy having nuts in their bread (oh God, that is NOT a euphemism) but you know who doesn’t? My sister. And since I fully plan to share the wealth (hi, I love you guys, but I am not sacrificing my newfound ability to fit into my old jeans for this project), I am going to accommodate my real life audience as Official Taste-Testers. Also, I’ll be honest: I don’t love them (nuts) either. I mean, if they’re there, it won’t deter me from eating them, but: get outta my pumpkiny goodness.
Another modification: I’m not doing the glaze as shown in the image. You know what happens when you add glaze to things? It makes your hands all sticky and gross. It also adds time and it never ever looks as good as the picture makes it look. (I’ve had some bad experiences with glazes, okay?).
Problems I did not anticipate: needing two loaf pans. I thought I had two. Turns out when I got my awesome stoneware loaf pan, I pitched my crappy metal one from Target. Oops.
Here is my attempt at…
THE RECIPE – PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE BREAD
(Any deviations from the recipe or my thoughts/general comments are in italics)
Recipe – Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it to be; I opted for MOAR SWEET so I used closer to 3/4)
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg (in my feeble attempts to be healthy, I substituted this for 2 egg whites. Remember, kids: 1 egg = 2 egg whites. Write that down somewhere.)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Recipe – Pumpkin Bread
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (not powder! People confuse these. I think that usually results in disaster. I’ve never done it, knock on wood.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups pumpkin (ahhh, I just used a whole 15 oz can. I may not accidentally switch my ingredients around but I’ve totally been known to NOT READ THE MEASUREMENTS. Shit. Well, we’ll see how this goes.) (Twitter says 1 cup = 8 oz… which means I put in about 5 more oz. than the recipe called for… who the hell makes a recipe that doesn’t use an entire can of pumpkin? What am I supposed to do with 5 extra ounces of pumpkin? Honestly.)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs (or 4 egg whites, as I did)
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Grease/flour two 8x4x3 loaf pans. (If you’re using stoneware like I am, do NOT grease them. OTHER NOTE: if you only have one loaf pan, you’re going to have to get creative. Which is what I did. So, we’re in the same boat.)
In medium mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, and vanilla. Set aside. (This made a lot more than I ended up actually using. I ended up freezing the rest for future usage. You might be able to get away with halving the recipe for this?)
In large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In medium bowl, combine the pumpkin (either the whole can like I did, or the proper amount for what I imagine would be better results), canola oil, eggs, and sugar.
Combine the pumpkin mixture and the flour mixture. The original recipe says to stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. I don’t really know what that means nor did I have the patience for it, so I dumped the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture (it was in the better bowl, but you could probably do it either way) and then used my hand mixture to mix the crap out of it.
[Editor's note: "mix until just combined" means "stop mixing as soon as the separate ingredients become one, cohesive-ish batter, and don't overmix!"]
This next part is where things got interesting. The recipe says to pour half of the pumpkin bread batter evenly into the two loaf pans. Uhhh. Right. So I eyeballed what I thought was maybe a quarter of the batter into my only loaf pan (we’re going to have to do this twice, kids). Then you spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin layer. Then you add the remaining pumpkin mixture.
This was messing with me, guys. I had no idea how to distribute the various mixtures because without that second loaf pan, I had no sense of how much I was going to need for both. Odds are good that my second loaf will turn out better because I probably saved too much from the first round because I didn’t want to use too much. Because I had no idea how much “too much” was. Eek! It’s been a really long time since I’ve made bread (and the only bread I’ve ever made from scratch was my aunt’s banana bread, which is totally fabulous but totally doesn’t fit the parameters of this feature, so, unless I pin a picture of it (which is totes cheating but I’m making the rules so whatever), you’ll probably have to miss out on that. SAD, I know. My point… right! My point was that I have absolutely no recollection of where the level of batter is supposed to be, so I couldn’t gauge if I had enough.)
Before you put the loaf in the oven, take a knife and stick it straight down to about where the cream cheese layer is and swirl the top two layers. It will look somewhat lovely and you’ll be quite proud of it. Or, at least you will be if you’re me.
Next, bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the toothpick test comes out clean (if you don’t know what this is, you probably have no business baking, but: stick the toothpick into your bread or cake or muffin or whatever you’re trying to make, and if it comes out with crumbs and goo on it, then they are NOT DONE and you need to keep baking. If it comes out clean, voila! Done!)
I got nervous about such a long bake time for only one loaf (again, it’s been a long time since I’ve attempted bread and I DON’T REMEMBER) so I set my timer for 30 minutes… yeah, go ahead and go for the full time. It’ll be okay. Promise.
Cool bread in pan(s) for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. (Or, to free up your loaf pan to try to make the rest of this.)
Let’s compare how this turned out:
Can regular people actually make this? Is it easy? I was certain this was going to be an unmitigated disaster, between the solitary loaf pan and the guessing and the not reading the recipe correctly… but omg. YES. I managed to hack my way through it and it turned out wonderfully. As far as things-from-scratch go, yes, I would call it easy. Not as easy as the pumpkin muffins, but those hardly count.
Did it require any weird gadgetry or or cookware? A second loaf pan. I only had one. Otherwise, the usual – measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls (you’ll need three), a mixer of some form unless you’re old school and like to do it by hand. Nothing out of the ordinary.
How much did the ingredients cost? Not much. I think the only things I had to go out and purchase was the can of pumpkin and pack of cream cheese. All of the spices and other ingredients I already had on hand. They’re pretty common items so if you don’t have them, I’d recommend adding them to your pantry anyway.
Does it taste as good as it looks? OMG. BETTER. It smelled good when I pulled it out of the oven and when I dumped it out onto the cooling rack. Then I moved it to a cutting board and was very hopeful as I began cutting it and warm pumpkiny aromas began assaulting me. My cream cheese swirl wasn’t as prominent or as… swirly… as the original, but it was there. I ate the middle-most piece so it was slightly less cooked than the rest, but… I totally had an orgasm in my mouth. (I believe these are what we call “mouthgasms.”) (Don’t underline that, spellcheck. It’s a WORD.) I was so, so giddy at how well this turned out. I would totally marry me based on this bread.
Does it only look good because it was so well photographed? Negatory. The recipe is legit, guys. Also, the bread in the picture looks way different than mine. Probably because (a) I omitted the nuts and the glaze and (b) I accidentally used more pumpkin than they said to.
Other notes: Tried to calculate the Weight Watcher Points+ values for this… it depends on how thin/thick you slice your bread (thus: how many servings you get out of it), so that’s tricky. For mine, I got about nine slices per loaf, which was 7 points per slice. Eek! Totally worth it though.
Final recommendation: GO FOR IT. This bread is amazing. I need to get it out of my house immediately or I am going to undo all of my weight loss efforts from the past seven months. But so delicious. So, so delicious.