Pumpkin Spice Bread

5 stars from 1 rating of Pumpkin Spice Bread
A wonderfully hearty pumpkin bread
A wonderfully hearty pumpkin bread

A Few Changes Make for a Healthier Classic

This pumpkin bread is an irresistible fall favorite in our home. The original Bon Appetit recipe, published back in November 1995, is fantastic and decadently rich. With a few changes to cut calories and boost nutrition, this bread remains a crowd pleaser but emerges as a healthier classic.

I've reduced the sugar from 3 cups to 2 1/4 cups, so the sweetness remains but the spices can really shine. The original recipe called for a 16 ounce can of pumpkin, but I increased it to about 20 ounces for an extra punch of flavor. Canola oil, which is high in healthy monounsaturated fats, replaced the vegetable oil. I replaced one cup of all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour, which has a milder flavor than regular whole wheat flour but still packs extra nutrition. One thing to note about any whole wheat flour, though, is that it requires a bit of extra sifting to produce a more airy result. Unsweetened applesauce, in place of half of the oil, cuts fat but still maintains a moist result. The spices can be changed up; I've tried cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom to make up the 3 teaspoons of spices. My favorite combination, though, is the one I've listed in the recipe below. Feel free to experiment!

Cook Time

Cook time: 1 hour 10 min
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 2 loaves


  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 20 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Beat sugar, oil and applesauce in a large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture gradually, in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.
  2. Divide batter equally between prepared loaf pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool for 10 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife, turn loaves onto racks and cool completely.
  3. Pumpkin loaves can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Comments 2 comments

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 6 weeks ago from Home Sweet Home

wow, your pumpkin bread looks good, can i opt out the spices?

Becky Callahan profile image

Becky Callahan 6 weeks ago Author

Yes, I've found that the spices can be reduced or increased according to preference; I've tried several spices, and have used different amounts than the 3 teaspoons included in the original recipe. Whether or not you use the spices, I would still recommend including the vanilla; I think it really complements the pumpkin flavor.

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