Recipe: Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

updated May 1, 2019
Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl
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(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always liked my quick breads — be it pumpkin or banana — toasted and slathered with butter and a dollop of cream cheese. This recipe is the best of both worlds, with the cream cheese hiding neatly inside!

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Autumn is all about hearty baked goods, whether you’re selling cookies at a school bake sale or offering muffins to weekend guests arriving after a long drive. Either way, a warm piece of quick bread and a cup of coffee rustles up memories of pumpkin patches, amber leaves, snuggly blankets, and crackling fireplaces. It’s amazing what something homemade can do to turn around even the dreariest of days.

While most folks have a family recipe they turn to again and again, I’m always on the hunt for better and best. If you don’t have a cherished favorite, this oh-so-simple pumpkin bread just might be it. It can do no wrong, whether it’s for breakfast when I’m in a rush to get out the door or an after-work snack when I’m craving a sweet treat.

This is a classic quick-bread recipe, adapted from the (world’s best!) banana bread recipe from the Flour Bakery cookbook. There’s no secret ingredient here, but canola oil keeps it ultra moist, and a healthy splash of vanilla packs a little punch. I also added a swirl of my favorite cream-cheese frosting, but it’s hiding inside! (Shhhh.)

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

Makes one (9x5-inch) loaf

Nutritional Info


For the pumpkin bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups

    (7 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 cup

    (8 ounces) sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    (4 ounces) canola oil

  • 1 cup

    (8 1/2 ounces) pumpkin purée

  • 2 tablespoons

    sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon

    vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 2 cups

    (8 ounces) powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so there is an overhang on each long side. Coat the parchment paper with baking spray or butter and flour.

  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium or large bowl and set aside.

  3. Combine the egg and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Turn the speed down to low and, pouring very slowly, drizzle the oil down the side of the bowl. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. (Alternately, this can be done with an electric hand mixer.)

  4. Turn the mixer off. Add the flour mixture and fold in by hand until just combined. Transfer the mixture back to the bowl used for the flour, and set aside.

  5. Rinse out and dry the bowl of the stand mixer and the paddle attachment in order to make the filling. Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup of the pumpkin batter, and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly. Spoon the cream cheese filling over the batter and smooth it out. Cover filling with remaining batter.Bake the pumpkin bread for 1 hour, or until the center springs back when pressed with your fingertip. (If your finger sinks, bake 10 to 15 minutes longer.) Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then pull the loaf out using the parchment paper “handles” to cool completely.

  7. The pumpkin bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to three days, or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Thaw overnight at room temperature before serving.