This flavourful pumpkin gingerbread loaf is light and fluffy and is infused with gingerbread spices which give it the most amazing aroma. You can prepare this recipe in under 30 minutes and the loaf keeps well so you can snack on it for days! The brown butter caramel glaze absolutely steps it up another level!
This post was originally posted on 9th November 2020 and has been updated with more recent tips and information.
There is nothing better than sitting and cosying up with some baked goods at this time of year, am I right? This pumpkin gingerbread is something you just need to get in on. It’s light, fluffy, beautifully spiced and oh so moreish. The recipe is adapted from my amazing Maple Pecan Banana Bread, which if you haven’t tried yet, what’s holding you up?!
I'm sure you've already got a million ways to use up your pumpkin purée, like these chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. But you've just got to try this pumpkin gingerbread, it's perfection!
I know you'll love this pumpkin gingerbread recipe, let me know how much you do in the comments and don't forget to leave a rating!
This pumpkin gingerbread uses very simple ingredients and are readily available at most supermarkets. This is what you'll need:
Canned pumpkin purée - use the best quality purée you can get your hands on. I like Libby's as it has the most consistent quality. You could also use homemade!
Plain flour (All-purpose flour) - it's important to use the accurate amount of flour otherwise the bread can turn out too dense if the batter is too thick.
Unsalted butter - I always use softened butter at room temperature for this recipe, it helps when whipping with the sugar and gives the bread a lightness. Although not tested for this recipe, you could substitute for a vegan version.
Eggs - use the best quality eggs you can get hold of. I use UK large eggs, which is the equivalent of US extra large egg. I don’t believe it would make much of a difference if using US large though.
Molasses - the extra thick amber coloured molasses adds the classic colour and flavour that is commonly associated with gingerbread. It gives a lovely tan colour to the bread.
Ingredients for the brown butter glaze
Salted butter - salted butter gives the glaze a nice rounded salted caramel flavour, if you don’t have it you can use unsalted butter and add a pinch of salt instead.
Sweetness - dark brown sugar adds depth of flavour as well as colour, helping to make a really intense caramel. You'll also use icing (powdered) sugar, which is essential for all glazes!
Milk - to help make the caramel and thin the glaze out a little.
We all love to mix things up so here's some suggestions:
Spices - Want to make this quicker? Use a tablespoon of pumpkin spice instead of measuring out the individual spices. Make your own batch of pumpkin spices from my pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Mix-ins - If you want to mix it up, throw in a handful of chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, or maybe even chocolate chips if you want to make it extra indulgent. You might want to leave off the glaze if adding chocolate chips, but you do you!
Molasses - I wouldn't recommend using blackstrap molasses as this would add too much bitterness to the pumpkin gingerbread.
Muffins - you can easily split this mix between muffin cases and make individual muffins if you prefer. Although not tested, this recipe should make 12 muffins; bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
How to make it
This pumpkin gingerbread is really quick and easy to make. It takes a bit of time to bake, but it is so worth the wait!
Firstly preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Once that’s set, prepare a 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan by lightly greasing it and lining with parchment paper. If you use a different sized loaf pan, you’ll need to adjust the baking time.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
- Next crack in an egg one at a time and beat together after each one until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the maple syrup, molasses and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined.
- Add the pumpkin puree and mix until fully combined.
- Pour the flour, baking soda, spices and salt into the wet ingredients
- Gently stir together until just combined. You don’t want to overwork the gluten which will make the bread dense.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-65 minutes, depending on your oven.
- Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
How to make the glaze
- Heat the butter in a saucepan or small frying pan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the butter begins to foam and darken and smells nutty. Be very careful not to burn it! It changes very quickly - so it is worth only focusing on this one thing whilst doing it.
- Once browned, immediately add in the dark brown sugar and milk whilst keeping the pan on the heat. It should immediately come to a bubble and thicken whilst you are whisking it.
- Stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and icing sugar until smooth and well combined.
Follow these tips to ensure you get the most out of this pumpkin gingerbread!
Pumpkin purée - Libby's is very good, but some brands can be a bit wet, if so, you can dab it with kitchen paper to soak up a bit of the extra moisture.
Split mix? - Don't worry if the mixture is a little split, once the dry ingredients are added it will sort itself out and re-emulsify. It won't affect the end result.
Mixing - Don't overmix the pumpkin gingerbread loaf batter as it will make the end loaf very dense.
Caramel - The caramel may come out a little thick so feel free to add extra milk ½ teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. I like it to be a thick pourable caramel, not too stiff as it sets fairly quickly once it cools. Use it straight away as it will set on cooling.
Baking time - Start checking for doneness after 50 minutes - you want a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the pumpkin gingerbread to come out clean. If it’s not ready, return to the oven and continue to check in 5 minute intervals. Ours comes out perfect after 55 minutes.
How to serve?
Ensure you let the cake cool properly before slicing as the texture will be more compact and dense if you slice too early! Trust me, it’s worth the wait! I recommend using a serrated bread knife and sawing the loaf rather than cutting it straight down with a chef's knife as you can see from the image above! Totally recommend having this with your favourite hot drink, cosied up as its the perfect seasonal snacking bread. Annnnnnd, don't forget the glaze! Pour the glaze over as soon as you've made it. The glaze will set after a little while, or just dig in whilst it's still soft!
The most important tip for this, is to not over work the gluten when adding the dry ingredients. Gently stir in the dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined. No more. If you do, you’ll end up with a chewy dense bread. We want light, moist and airy. The other tip is to ensure a light creamy texture of the butter and sugar being whipped together (before adding the eggs).
Once cooled and the glaze has set, wrap in cling film and keep for 3-5 days at room temperature. The bread will gradually get more moist the longer it sits. If you live in a warmer climate, I would recommend storing the loaf wrapped up in the fridge.
You could store leftover slices in the freezer. Wrap them up well in cling film and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. I would recommend freezing without the glaze.
More cosy baking recipes
I hope you love this pumpkin gingerbread as much as we do. If you make it, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag #eatloveeats on Instagram! I love to see your creations!