This Pumpkin Bread with Orange Glaze is so incredibly simple to make, no need to drag out the mixer!
oh... and the flavors! Wowza, they are spot on. If you are looking for the most PERFECT loaf of pumpkin bread, this recipe delivers.
It's super moist, perfect balance of spices, and the orange glaze really jazzes it up!
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Pumpkin Bread brings back so many childhood memories of my Mom in the kitchen, during the holidays, baking loaf after loaf of her homemade quick breads.
I would have to say her zucchini bread was my all time favorite, so moist and full of warm cinnamon flavors. Once I moved out of the house, I was determined to follow in her footsteps and make the BEST quick breads EVER... except that didn't happen.
No matter what I did or what recipe I followed, they just didn't turn out the way they are supposed to. You know how a really good quick bread has the perfect amount of moistness, it's full of flavor, not crumbly or dry and has that velvety feel in your mouth? Yeah... mine were never like that!
Truth be told, I stopped trying to make them because... let's face it, if you fail at something 100 times, why try 101? Then, when we were moving from Maryland to Tennessee, I came across a cookbook made by my mother-in-law. Remembering she also made incredible quick breads and used her mom's recipes, I turned to Jeff and said; "I hope Grandma Cella's banana nut bread recipe is in there"!
It was (I promise to share it soon). I went for 101 and I made it. It was perfect! YAY ME! I'm all grown up and I can make a
good great quick bread!
Now, I was determined to develop my own recipe for a REALLY GREAT quick bread and after several trials (and a few messes)... I did! This recipe is so super easy and the end result is just pure joy.
What is a quick bread?
Basically, in a nutshell, a quick bread is a bread that uses baking powder or baking soda and can be baked immediately. Quick breads do not contain yeast and therefore do not have a delay for rising time. When making traditional yeast breads, we allow time for the yeast to do it's magic and take a very dense ball of dough and turn it into an airy loaf of bread. It does this by consuming the sugar and turning it into carbon dioxide.
In quick breads, the baking powder and/or baking soda creates the carbon dioxide during the baking process and allows the quick bread to rise.
Tips for making the perfect quick bread
Don't overmix your batter.
That is one of the reasons this pumpkin bread recipe doesn't call for using a mixer. I'm pretty sure that's where I went wrong all those years I attempted to recreate my mom's zucchini bread/banana bread/pumpkin bread. I used a hand mixer or a stand mixer and overprocessed the batter.
When you overmix a quick bread batter, the end result can be a dense and tough bread. Not what you want after waiting anxiously for this glorious loaf of pumpkin bread to come out of the oven!
Don't let your batter sit before baking.
The reason you add your dry ingredients last when making a quick bread is because the baking powder and/or baking soda in the quick bread is activated when moistened. If you let your batter sit before baking, you will begin to see some bubbles forming. This is the Carbon Dioxide formed by the leavening agent (baking powder/soda).
If you let your batter sit for any length of time, when you go to transfer it to the baking pan, it will deflate. Although the leavening agent may still do some work and allow your bread to rise, you will most likely end up with a pretty dense quick bread.
Make YOUR perfect loaf of quick bread
One of the beautiful things about cooking and baking is making a recipe your own. I am 100% for this. I want you to be happy when you put that beautiful slice of pumpkin bread on your plate... or better yet, in your mouth! I want your family to be happy too!
There shouldn't be any problem with omitting the butter and replacing it with oil. I happen to LOVE butter and the rich nuttiness it brings, but it's not for everybody. Just make sure to use ½ cup of oil total or your bread may be a little dry.
I have not tested out this recipe using any type of flour other than white all purpose flour, so I cannot say what will happen if you substitute with whole wheat or another type of flour. If you do make this pumpkin bread with an alternate flour, please let me know how it turns out! I love experimenting with almond and coconut flours especially, but they can be a bit tricky in baked goods.
This pumpkin bread recipe calls for canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie mix), but you will really be impressive if you puree your own fresh pumpkin! I've done that a few times, I'm a huge proponent of fresh verses canned... but, you know... time. I didn't have it! If you do, here is a recipe from the Pioneer Woman for Homemade Pumpkin Puree.
Don't forget the add-ins
Nuts, raisins, cranberries, dates, chocolate chips, white chocolate chunks... hey, if you think it would be delicious in YOUR loaf of pumpkin bread, add it in! The first time I made this recipe, I used toasted crushed pecans and raisins. I'm not a huge fan of nuts in bread or desserts (I'm weird) even though I love most kinds of nuts, so I omitted them the second time and just did raisins. I do like the sweetness and the varied texture that raisins gave the bread, but in my last loaf I was a purist and didn't add anything... although, now I'm thinking some white chocolate chunks and orange zest might have paired really well with the orange glaze! Oh well... there is always next time!
To glaze or not to glaze... your choice! I've had a piece with just a bit of butter and it was yummy. I also tried the pecan bourbon glaze that I use on my Ginger Pumpkin Brownies (that's a must-try recipe). But... I'm really in love with the orange and white chocolate glaze in this recipe. I find the touch of citrus is just dazzling on this pumpkin bread. Which one or none?... that is the question only you can answer!
Give the Gift of Homemade
I love to give (and receive) food gifts; its always great to taste the deliciousness that everyone is baking up around the holidays. You could easily make up a little basket with tea bags or coffee, a cute mug and a loaf of this pumpkin bread. Wouldn't that be perfect for the kid's teacher or a neighbor... or everyone! It's easy to make ahead in these mini loaf pans, wrap and freeze!
How to make Pumpkin Bread with Orange Glaze
Pan Grease: This is one of the best things to use with all your baked goods! You can find the recipe from Gretchen's Bakery right here.
Sugar: I used a combination of dark brown sugar and white sugar. Did you know that the only difference between white sugar and brown sugar is molasses? Yep! So you can always make your own if you have white sugar and molasses. Simply add 1 tablespoon of molasses per cup of white sugar for brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses per cup of white sugar for dark brown sugar. So... it would make sense that if you have brown sugar, but the recipe calls for dark brown sugar just add 1 tablespoon per cup, sitr it up and you have your dark brown sugar.
Vanilla: I really recommend using real vanilla. It's pricey, but worth it! Did you know you can make your own? Here is a recipe from Jett's Kitchen that shows you how easy the process is. I recommend using 1-1.5 ounces of vanilla been per 8 ounces of vodka. That would be about 5 vanilla beans per 8 ounces vodka. I'm going to order these vanilla beans and start my extract!
Eggs: I used Large eggs in this recipe.
Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, salt.
Pumpkin puree: I used Libby's pure pumpkin in the can. The 29 ounce can made (almost) 3 batches. Make sure you don't accidentally get the pumpkin pie filling. If you bake a lot with pumpkin, think about adding this deal to your next Amazon order. Of course you can always make your own pumpkin puree and I provided a recipe link above.
Flour: For this recipe, I used white all-purpose flour. Although I have not tested this, I think you could safely substitute whole wheat flour for up to half of the white flour. You will want to sift your flour before combining with wet ingredients. Sifting flour prior to baking aerates it and makes it lighter. This allows the flour to blend in to the wet ingredients easier and prevents you from overmixing the batter. You can use an actual flour sifter or do what I do and use a fine sieve strainer like this one.
Baking Powder: If you don't have baking powder, but have baking soda, you can make your own. For 1 Tablespoon of baking power combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of cream of tarter.
Water: I used ½ cup of water to get the perfect consistency. You may need a little less if you made your own pumpkin puree and it is thinner than the canned stuff or if your eggs are larger. You want the batter to be thick, but pourable.
Pre-heat your oven to 350° F. Don't forget to pre-heat your oven! You will want to put this bread in the oven as soon as you mix it up or the baking soda will start to work it's magic and you might end up with a flat, dense loaf of pumpkin bread. Melt your butter. I usually put the oil and butter in the microwave for about 15 seconds (depends on temp of butter) until it is almost melted. Give it a stir and the rest should melt without increasing the temperature too much. I let this sit while I get the rest of the ingredients together. Grease your pan and set aside. This recipe makes 1 9"x 5" (6 cups) loaf pan or 3-4 mini loaf pans depending on size. The rule of thumb is to fill your pan ⅔ of the way to allow room for the bread to rise and not make a total mess of your oven!
Whisk your eggs into the butter/oil. Make sure your butter/oil is not too hot or the eggs will begin to cook. I lightly whisk them until the yolks are broken up. Add in sugar and give it whisk to combine. Add in vanilla, pumpkin, salt and spices. Stir or whisk to combine. Add ½ of the sifted flour/baking soda. Add water. Lightly stir or whisk. Add your raisins or nuts or mix ins of choice to the remaining flour and stir to combine. Add in remaining flour with mix ins to batter and give a quick stir just enough to blend the ingredients. Remember, resist the urge to overmix the batter.
Bake in pre-heated oven as follows:
1 large loaf pan will take anywhere from 50-60 minutes. I start checking my bread at the 50 minute mark by inserting either a toothpick or this nifty tool. When it comes out clean, your bread is done. If you notice that edges are browning too much you can cover with tin foil.
3-4 mini loafs will take about 40 minutes to bake.
Allow your bread to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn over on a cooling rack. Cool bread completely before glazing.
To make the orange glaze: In a heavy bottom small pot add ½ cup of heavy cream & 1 Tablespoon of orange zest.
Simmer on low heat until you see bubbles forming at the edges. You do not want the cream to boil. Turn off heat and let sit for one hour.
After an hour, strain the cream into a bowl. Rinse the small pot and return the cream. Heat over low heat until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and add white chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts. Let sit until it is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
*** If you want a stronger orange flavor, add ½ tsp orange extract to the cream before adding the chocolate and stir ***
Glaze the Pumpkin Bread
Place a sheet pan or cookie sheet under the cooling rack. Line with parchment for easier clean up or to make orange chocolate bark out of the chocolate that runs off the bread. Either spoon or drizzle the cake with glaze allowing it to run down the sides. Let sit in fridge for 30 minutes if you want the chocolate to set up a bit more. If you have the self control to do this, I commend you... I dove right in and sliced off a piece. YUM!
*If freezing for later; I recommend freezing uncovered overnight, then wrap in plastic wrap followed by foil and put back in the freezer until you are ready to eat it. Remove the foil and plastic wrap and allow to thaw in the fridge.
Pumpkin Bread with Orange Glaze
Pumpkin Bread Batter
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup salted butter melted
- 2 eggs large
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup water
Optional Add Ins
- 1 cup pecans or walnuts see notes
- 1 cup raisins see notes
- 1 cup white chocolate chips see notes
- 1 cup whatever sounds good to you! see notes
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp orange zest one large orange
- 4 ounces white chocolate chips
Pumpkin Bread Batter
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Grease pan (see notes in post regarding pan grease). In large mixing bowl, combine oil & melted butter. Make sure the mixture is not too hot before adding eggs. Add 2 large eggs and whisk for 15 seconds. Add in brown and white sugar. Mix to combine.
- Add in pumpkin, salt & spices. Stir to combine. Sift flour and baking powder. Add ½ flour and baking powder. Stir to combine. Add the water and stir. *If using add ins (nuts, raisins), add them to the remaining flour and mix. Add remaining flour to batter and stir just until combined. Do not over mix the batter.
- Pour batter into pan and bake on 350° F for 50-60 minutes (see notes in post if using mini loaf pans) or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes and turn out onto cooling rack to completely cool.
- Zest orange to get 1 Tbsp of zest. In a heavy bottom small sauce pan, add heavy cream and zest. Heat over low heat just until the cream begins to bubble at the edges. Remove from heat and let sit for one hour.
- Strain the cream into a bowl. Rinse the heavy bottom pot to remove any remaining zest. Pat dry. Return cream to pot. Heat over low heat until bubbles begin to form. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until combined. Let cream sit until it becomes slightly thick, but pourable.
- When pumpkin loaf is completely cool. Place cooling rack on a sheet pan or cookie sheet covered with parchment. Pour chocolate over pumpkin bread. Allow to chocolate to set up at room temp or place in fridge.