Over the weekend, I finally had some time to catch up on baking. In September, all things apple were on my bakery menu, but now that it’s officially rolled over to October, bring on the PUMPKIN!
There’s really only one pumpkin bread recipe that I always make, because it never fails to come out perfectly moist, with just the right amount of fall spice.
However, I was in the mood for a bit of a change-up, and since I didn’t want to deviate from my tried-and-true, perfect pumpkin bread recipe, I decided the toppings were where I could mix it up a bit!
The Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe
I began by mixing up a batch of my favorite pumpkin bread recipe, which I’ve included for you at the bottom of this post.
One can of pumpkin yields two standard-sized loaves of bread, which is what I typically do when making this recipe.
It’s great because it gives us one to eat, and one to freeze for later, and this recipe freezes great. Because the bread is so moist, even a loaf that has been frozen and defrosted does not get dried out. And let me tell you, if you haven’t tried French Toast made with slices of pumpkin bread, you are missing out.
So you could definitely just make this recipe in two standard loaf pans, with no topping at all (which is how I prefer it for French Toast), or with your choice of topping on the 2 different loaves.
OR, if you want to try all 3 toppings, you could bake these into muffins, or these cute little mini loaves.
I honestly couldn’t tell you which topping is my favorite. My husband voted for the crumb topping, which didn’t surprise me, because he loves cinnamon, and that version has a double dose of cinnamon.
1. Pecan Topping
The pecan topping is definitely the easiest. Just chop up some pecans and sprinkle them on top of the batter right before you pop the loaves in the oven.
Pecans go great with pumpkin, but walnuts, pistachios, hazlenuts, or even toasted pumpkin seeds would make a great crunchy topping on this bread!
2. Crumb Topping
This topping is still pretty simple. Just cold butter cubes, a little flour, brown sugar, and more cinnamon, all mixed together with a pastry cutter, then sprinkled on top of the loaves before baking.
Look at that moist pumpkin bread with a nice thick later of crumb topping. That’s what you’re going for.
3. Maple Brown Butter Frosting
I love the maple flavor in this frosting, but it’s the brown butter that makes it. The nuttiness from the brown butter goes perfectly with the pumpkin spices in the bread. Seriously, a match made in heaven.
Don’t let the brown butter scare you. It’s super easy to do!
In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Continue cooking, watching butter carefully, until it sizzles and begins to turn golden brown in color, about 4-5 minutes. Watch it carefully, because it can burn very quickly.
When butter looks caramel-colored and has a nutty smell, it’s done! See, easy!
Remove the brown butter from the heat and allow it to cool completely. If you try to make the frosting while the butter is hot, it will separate. I waited about 15 minutes.
Then, stir in 1 to 1½ cup powdered sugar (start with 1 cup and add more as needed), and 2 Tbsp maple syrup until it becomes the right consistency for spreading. You can add milk or water a few drops at a time if frosting is too thick.
Wait until loaves are completely cool before frosting.
I suppose we could say there are actually 4 ways to serve this bread, because it’s fabulous with no topping at all. When I make it this way, I keep one out to serve immediately, and freeze the second loaf to use later. It thaws well, and nobody would ever know it wasn’t baked the same day.
Plus, cutting it into nice thick slices, dipping in an egg batter, and frying, makes the most indulgent fall-inspired French Toast. 😜
- 3½ cups flour
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cloves
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ⅔ cup water
- Pre-heat oven to 350°.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Using another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, oil and water.
- Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
- Pour into two greased loaf pans, or approximately 24 muffin cups. Using a pan that formed mini-loaves, I got about 18 loaves.
- Bake time will vary depending on pan size/type. For loaf pans, bake for approximately 45 minutes. I baked my mini-loaves for about 25 minutes. Be careful not to overbake. You want these to be moist.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
To Make the Maple Brown Butter Frosting:
- In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup butter over medium-low heat until melted. Continue cooking, watching butter carefully, until it sizzles and begins to turn amber in color, about 4-5 minutes. Watch it carefully, because it can burn very quickly. When butter looks caramel-colored and has a nutty smell, it's done. Remove butter from heat and cool completely. Then, stir in 1 to 1½ cup powdered sugar (start with 1 cup and add more as needed), and 2 Tbsp maple syrup until it becomes a consistency for spreading. Add milk or water a few drops at a time if frosting is too thick.Wait until loaves are completely cool before frosting.
To Make the Crumb Topping:
- Mix together using a pastry cutter: 1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over loaves before baking.
For the Pecan Topping:
- Pecans go well with pumpkin bread, but walnuts, pistachios, hazlenuts or even pumpkin seeds would make a great crunchy topping for this bread. Simply chop and sprinkle on top of each loaf before placing in the oven.
Happy Pumpkin Season,
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This is the mini loaf pan I used. I’ve had it for years, and often use it for baking little loaves at Christmas time to give as gifts.
These are the baking cups I used, but I bought the brown onces, which don’t appear to be in stock right now.
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