Mind-Numbing Pumpkin Bread

When I started this blog, I was so determined to post at least twice a week … and here I am, a little over three weeks since last writing. D’oh! In my defense, I have been fervently getting ready to welcome a new baby. And by fervently, I mean thinking about it a lot, not necessarily doing anything to prepare. I still haven’t packed my hospital bag, and my kitchen floor is begging to be mopped — among other, more important things screaming for my attention.


So in a few short weeks (if not sooner), I’m going to have two kids. Two. That’s double the number I currently have, if you’re keeping count. It’s kind of overwhelming. I find myself thinking, “How did I get here?!” I feel like I just graduated from college and started my first job, then I blinked and ended up married with a mortgage and two kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but it sure is flying by quickly! And I don’t really plan on having any more babies after this one, so I’ve been kind of mourning not being pregnant again. It’s a weird thing. I feel so very “done,” and am looking forward to having a more agile and comfortable body again soon, but there’s also something really special about carrying a baby. I’ll miss it in an odd way. Especially the kicks. There’s just something about the kicks.

I also have been a little weepy about my solo time with Lucas coming to an end. For his first 13 months of life, I wanted nothing more than to leave my full-time job and stay home with him. I was so unhappy at work and missed my baby to the point it physically hurt. And so I finally did quit, and these past 15 months with him have been the most special, happy months of my entire life. I am overjoyed to bring a sibling into this world for him, not to mention having a new child in our family, but change can be tough and scary. Soon, I am sure that I barely will be able to remember our family as it currently is with only three members. But that will take time, and I never do very well with the unknown. So a couple of days ago, as I stared out into a dreary, grey day, mourning summer, the end of my [probably] final pregnancy, and thinking about how odd it is to try and patiently wait for one’s entire life to be turned completely inside out, I decided to make pumpkin bread. Because it seemed like the thing to do. Thankfully, it worked. I felt totally relaxed and the baking process managed to take my mind off life. And Lucas was happy because it’s his absolute favorite. I have to hide it from him. Seriously.

I’ve been making this recipe for several years and it’s one of the easiest, tastiest things in my regular fall/winter rotation. It puts Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf to shame, and that’s saying a lot, because I love Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf. This recipe is slightly adapted from the Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread recipe on Allrecipes.com. I’ve also made a healthier version with whole wheat flour, half the sugar, and applesauce instead of oil/butter. It’s decent, but the real thing is much better. So if you’re not counting calories, go for the original.

Mind-Numbing Pumpkin Bread


  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans or two 9×5 loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, melted butter, water, vanilla, and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes (three 7×3 pans) or 70 minutes (two 9×5 pans) in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

13 thoughts on “Mind-Numbing Pumpkin Bread

  1. Jenny

    Pumpkin bread is a favorite around here, too. Life will soon be busy for you but you will absolutely love watching the sibling process. It’s pretty amazing to watch your kids become friends!

  2. Missy

    This is a great post, Hillary. And mind-numbing is the perfect word! TWO kids!? I’m not ready for it either. Best not to think about it and keep eating pumpkin bread. XO

  3. jane

    I’ll never forget an afternoon with cate, shopping in the little boutiques on Cedros in Solana Beach, CA. it was the day before my mom was due to arrive as we awaited baby #2’s birth, so I knew it was my last day truly alone with cate. it was such a special day with her (at the time 3 years old)…I’ll never forget looking at her in the rearview mirror on the way home and totally crying. there’s just something magical about that one-on-one time with your first child. soak it up!

  4. stephanie

    I made this, this weekend = FABULOUS! Thank you! As for the kiddo thing – you’re going to love it. 🙂

    1. Hillary Post author

      So glad you liked it, Stephanie! And thanks for the encouragement with our expanding family. 🙂

  5. Kim

    I have very egg-allergic children. How do I substitute applesauce for the egg. We can’t use butter or margarine either because of dairy and soy allergies. Can I just use olive oil instead?

    1. Hillary Post author

      Hi Kim — Apologies for the late reply to this. I don’t have a lot of experience with food allergies and hesitate to give you any advice, since it sounds like you have a very sensitive household. I have used applesauce as a substitute for oil/butter before, but never for eggs. This site looks like a great resource that may be helpful to you: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=104 If you try this with multiple substitutions, please write back and let me know how it goes!

  6. Linda Eklund

    Hi…can I decrease the sugar by half? I have diabetes and any baking I do , I cut the sugar by half. Three cups of sugar, that’s more than one cup per loaf…more than a normal person should have. Thank’s LIN

    1. Hillary Post author

      Hi Linda, Yes, I’ve also made a healthier version with whole wheat flour, half the sugar, and applesauce instead of oil/butter.

  7. the Wanna Be

    I’m an on-again, off-again blogger myself so I can commiserate with you on posting less frequently than you’d like. I appreciate the recipe and look forward to a morning with the yummy smell of pumpkin coming from the oven.

  8. Lauren

    Seriously–this is the BEST pumpkin bread I have ever made, and I have made a lot of pumpkin bread. It was sweet, spicy, moist in the outside with a crunchy exterior. Thank you! I have finally found my go-to recipe 🙂

  9. Phyllis

    You are so right. I made this loaf tonight, it is the best ever. My husband said it even taste like pumpkin.
    It did go together fast. I had just canned 12 pints of pumpkin two days ago, wondering it the pint was the 15 oz. the recipe called for. yep, right on. weeew! It smelled so good while baking. We just had to taste it.
    Thanks for the recipe. We have company coming so we can test it out on them too.


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