Pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting

This easy-to-make pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting is full of warm spices and topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It bakes up perfectly moist and the frosting takes it from good to great. This is the pumpkin bread you have been looking for.

pumpkin bread with cream cheese topped with pecans sliced on white plates.

Have you ever had pumpkin bread and it was kind of bland or just okay? Boring perhaps? I certainly have, so I made this recipe to include a lot of spices and topped it with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. And, let me just say this is not boring! I love the addition of toasted pecans to top it off, it adds a nice crunch. My kids do not like nuts, so good thing this recipe makes two loaves, one will have nuts and the other won’t.

It is a typical sweet quick bread, similar to raspberry and white chocolate loaf cake in that it is leavened with baking powder and/or baking soda instead of yeast.


Pumpkin Bread with cream cheese frosting ingredients
  • Pumpkin: I like to use Libby’s pure pumpkin. There’s one full 15 oz can of pumpkin in this recipe because it not only adds the pumpkin flavor but moisture as well. And, I happen to hate recipes where you don’t use the whole can. Make sure it is not the pumpkin pie filling.
  • Oil: Adds moisture which makes the crumb of the cake tender.
  • Spices: Here comes the pumpkin spice. The spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves and these spices complement the pumpkin flavor perfectly.
  • Eggs: need to be at room temperature, this helps incorporate the ingredients.
  • Buttermilk: I love using buttermilk in baking as it enhances flavor along with adding moisture. You can use sour cream, a full-fat plain yogurt, or greek yogurt as a substitution. Why buttermilk? Buttermilk helps tenderize gluten, giving baked goods a softer texture and more body and it helps with the rise. Please do not make a buttermilk substitute that you can find on the internet with milk and lemon.

See recipe card for quantities and see below for cream cheese frosting.

How to make pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting

How to make the cream cheese frosting

pumpkin bread frosting ingredients.
This cream cheese frosting takes only a few ingredients to make the best topping for the pumpkin bread. I added some cinnamon for some warmth.

Once the cake is cooled, spread on the frosting and top with toasted pecans if desired. Slice and serve.


  • Spices: You can use 1 teaspoon store-bought or a homemade pumpkin pie spice instead of nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Be sure to still add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the batter.
  • Fresh Pumpkin Puree: If you’re interested, here’s how to make pumpkin puree. Make sure you reduce some of the moisture of the homemade pumpkin puree. Simply measure your homemade pumpkin puree, then squeeze out some of the moisture with a paper towel. This is not necessary if using canned pumpkin.
  • Oil: Adds incredible moisture and lightens up the crumb. Vegetable oil is best, but you could substitute melted coconut oil instead.


  • To store leftover slices of pumpkin bread without cream cheese frostingPlace the pumpkin loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Then transfer pumpkin bread to the fridge for up to another 2 days.
  • To store leftover slices of pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting: Place the pumpkin loaf in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Since the frosting has cream cheese in it, it needs to be refrigerated.
  • To freeze pumpkin bread without cream cheese frosting: Wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil.
  • To freeze pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting:  I like to slice it and put the slices onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and place the sheet pan into a freezer for an hour. Transfer the frozen slices into a ziplock bag. Pull out a slice and let it come to room temperature or warm in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. If freezing the whole cake, I would do the same by freezing the whole cake first without any covering first so the frosting freezes too. Once the frosting is frozen and firm, wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. This cake freezes well for up to 3 months. Defrost frosted cakes by letting them warm up on the counter or in the fridge overnight.
  • To thaw the pumpkin bread: The easiest and best way to thaw the whole frosted or unfrosted pumpkin bread is by letting them warm up on the counter or in the fridge overnight.

Success Tips

  • Measuring Ingredients  I recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It is the most accurate way to bake.
  • Spoon and Level – If you are not weighing your ingredients and are using a measuring cup, then use the spoon and level method to measure your flour. This means that you should use a spoon to fill the cup and level it off. Go to this link here for instructions.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. Once the flour is added, mix the dry and wet ingredients just until everything is incorporated. Mixing flour with liquids activates the gluten proteins that give baked goods their structure. Over-mixing can lead to bread that is tough, gummy, or unpleasantly chewy. Whisk until the flour has disappeared.
  • Room temperature ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients is important when making any kind of cake. This will help ensure your ingredients mix properly and helps produce a fluffy baked good.
  • Oven Temperature: Oven temperatures can vary. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 44-54 minutes depending on your oven.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make pumpkin bread out of actual pumpkin?

Yes, you can make pumpkin bread out of actual pumpkin puree. Here is a recipe for making pumpkin bread with puree. And here is a recipe using shredded pumpkin.

Is pumpkin bread made from pumpkin?

Pumpkin bread is a type of moist quick bread made with pumpkin; using canned pumpkin renders it a simpler dish to prepare.

Why is my pumpkin bread sticky on top?

There are a few causes for overly moist pumpkin bread. Not measuring the wet ingredients accurately and adding more than required will result in overly moist bread. Other causes include not removing excess liquid from homemade puree, not baking the bread loaf for long enough, and not adding enough dry ingredients to absorb the moisture.

What happens if you put too much pumpkin in pumpkin bread?

Adding too much pumpkin puree can cause under-baking in the center of your bread.

Pumpkin bread with cream cheese topped with toasted pecans sliced on gray plate.

If you make this pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting, be sure to leave a comment and review then here on the blog! I love hearing from you and this helps others find the recipe too!

pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting topped with pecans sliced on a gray plate

Pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting

Sarah Allison
This pumpkin bread with cream cheese frosting is filled with pumpkin spice and topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 24



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (220 grams)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (112 grams)
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (60 grams)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (57 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon soften unsalted butter (14 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of diamond crystal kosher salt (1 gram)
  • 1 ½ cups of confectioner’s sugar (170 grams)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)* See note below


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Generously grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour (alternatively, use a baking spray with flour in it, such as Pam with Flour or Baker’s Joy).
  • Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl.
  • Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla together in a medium bowl for about 35 seconds until a light yellow color. Add the pumpkin, oil, and buttermilk until whisk until combined.
  • Pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk together. There will be a few lumps and it will be thick.
  • Pour batter evenly between the two prepared loaf pans. Spread out the tops with a spatula.
  • Bake for 44-54 mins. or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • In a large bowl, with a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add the confectioners' sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and milk. Mix on low until combined. Scape down the sides if necessary and mix on medium until the icing is light and fluffy.
  • When loaves are completely cooled, frost the tops of the loaves with an offset spatula or knife and top with *toasted pecans if using. Slice and enjoy. Place the pumpkin loaf in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Since the frosting has cream cheese in it, it needs to be refrigerated. See blog post for further storage options.


*How to Toast pecans:
In the oven: Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Spread chopped pecans on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 8–10 minutes at 300°F (150°C). Let them slightly cool and spread over the cream cheese frosting. 
Stove-top method: Toast in a skillet over medium heat until browned (one shade darker than they originally were) and fragrant, about 2 to 5 minutes.


Calories: 209kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 2gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 169mgPotassium: 81mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 3013IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this Recipe? Leave a comment & recipe rating below. Tag @thesassandsalt on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece!

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