Pumpkin Spice Bread

Sophomore year of college found me slugging through a chemistry minor, spending many an evening and weekend with my dear friend organic chemistry.  I was a regular on the 7th floor of Davis library, hunched over problem sets under the glare of fluorescent lighting with a vigilant eye kept out for the infamously rumored library streaker.  But when I’d had enough of my study cubby or when I wanted to “study” without really studying, I would escape campus and set up study shop at Foster’s Market, a quaint little food market and cafe down the street.  Favorite sandwich in hand, unlimited refills on diet coke and I would be set for hours.  I don’t recall that the time was particularly productive, but I always left happy and never without stopping by the dessert case lined with over-sized cookies, scones, slices of coffee cake and southern classics like coconut cake and banana pudding.  I was usually too jacked up to partake after consuming an amount of caffeine that now would most certainly kill me, but it was exceptional eye candy and never disappointed when an indulgence was made.  It wasn’t until a friend gave me the Foster’s Market cookbook that I discovered Sara Foster’s pumpkin bread recipe, which now, 11 years later, is marked with the signs of a well loved classic: bits of dried batter, egg whites and splashes of vanilla.



Like anyone else with taste buds, the fall baking season gets me pretty jazzed.  I say this from the lingering edges of my food coma following last night’s hosting of Friendsgiving, an event that culminated after a week of prep and a grand total of 20+ hours in the kitchen.  Current state is between jazzed and fuzzily, happily exhausted.  This pumpkin bread is a front runner in my fall rotation and, while I don’t subscribe to the the pumpkin spice everything association, it keeps it subtle enough that I keep a few cans of pumpkin tucked away in the pantry so it can make an appearance throughout the year.  It’s by far the easiest recipe I make, with the bonus of a two loaf ending.  One loaf for the work potluck, one loaf for me.  One loaf for a friend’s birthday, one loaf for me.  One loaf for you and (by proxy) your new baby, one loaf for me.  And that’s just the last 6 weeks.  Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit like a solid win-win.

So here’s to you, Thanksgiving festivities and the best thing to come out of Ochem.  Cheers!

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Ever so slightly adapted from Foster’s Market Cookbook


  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon (optional)
  • 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1, 15oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 water
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two 9×5 inch loaf pans
  3. Whisk together sugar, eggs and oil, then add pumpkin, water and vanilla.  Mix well.*
  4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamon into the wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined.
  5. Separate batter evenly into the two pans.  Bake 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Rest for 10-15 minutes before removing from pans.


  1. I find that my hand mixer works perfectly well for this recipe.  It comes together easily, so I avoid pulling out the stand mixer.  If yours is more conveniently accessed than mine, I’m sure it would work just as well.
  2. Wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, these will stay fresh for a few days if not consumed by the masses before then.

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