Pumpkin Espresso Bread

pumpkin espresso bread

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Another home run. Make this bread right now. I mean it. It couldn’t be easier and your taste buds will thank you, as will anyone else who gets a bite. I brought some of this to work with me and had someone come back for thirds. Who says you have to wait for fall to bake with pumpkin?

And the topping…to think I almost didn’t include it. How dumb that would have been. The bread is a wonder unto itself but the topping adds a bit of crunchy magic. I made a few changes to the recipe, but the credit really belongs to a beautiful blog called Pastry Affair that gave me reason #85279 to love Pinterest and the internet.

In a medium bowl, I whisked together pumpkin, milk, eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, oil, and yogurt.

ingredients in orange bowl

My first change was to be rather loose with the 3/4 cup of brown sugar, I didn’t really pack it in and as I was using a 1/4 cup to measure, I didn’t fill it each of the three times I used it. I also took out half the oil, and subbed in some low fat vanilla yogurt. I tried to approximate just over 1/8 of a cup. I photographed it so I’d know how much to use the next time


I whisked all of that together with great anticipation.

liquid ingredients mixed with sugar

Separately, I got the dry ingredients together. I used whole wheat white flour instead of all purpose, and added baking soda, espresso powder, cinnamon (generous, heaping teaspoon), nutmeg, salt, and cloves. The recipe said to use half a teaspoon of cloves, but that made me nervous. Cloves are such a strong, dominating flavor; if you’ve ever tasted something with too much of them, you remember it. I tapered that down to slightly above a quarter teaspoon, maybe a little more.

dry ingredients, not whisked yet

I whisked that together, then hemmed and hawed about the topping for a bit. Flavor won out. In one of my favorite little glass bowls, I mixed together brown sugar, espresso powder, and cinnamon. (I think it was the espresso powder that won me over.)


Mmm, topping.

Then, in traditional format, I poured the liquid ingredients into the dry, and incorporated.

liquid ingredients ready

liquid ingredients pouring

batter, all mixed

I poured it into a loaf pan, and sprinkled the topping on it. Actually, it wasn’t so much a sprinkling as a layering. There was a lot of it! I didn’t end up using all of it, but it was still pretty thick.

pumpkin espresso bread batter in pan with topping

Recipe said to bake for 50-60 minutes. I set the timer for 40 and was done shortly thereafter.

Some of the topping fell off when I flipped it over, but not too much, and while I usually have enough patience to let my baked goods cool and settle, I knew from the smell that I wasn’t going to be able to wait very long.

pumpkin espresso bread, baked

I didn’t. I ate a big piece that night. Did I remember to take a picture of the middle, of the perfect crumb, most but fluffy? No. But I remember the taste. The espresso provided just a hint of darkness to offset the pumpkin, the topping gave it an edgy sweetness, and despite its lack of decadence I think it would make a great birthday cake. It’s just that good.


My version of Pumpkin Espresso Bread (adapted from Pastry Affair)


3/4 (scant) cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 – 1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup 1% milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Heat oven to 350 and spray or grease a loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, oil, milks, eggs, and vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, espresso powder, spices, and salt.

Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry just until properly incorporated. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

Mix the topping together and spread evenly across the top of the loaf.

Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Try to wait until it’s cool to start eating it, if you are able.

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