Cream Cheese Swirled Pumpkin Bread

I’m not a big breakfast person, and probably in keeping with my sweet tooth, more often than not, you’ll catch me reaching for a pastry over an omelette. This was my nod at being seasonal and keeping my weekday breakfast interesting: a loaf of pumpkin bread with cream cheese swirled in the middle.

This was a delicious bread, kind of like a banana bread (which I’m sure we’ve all had before), but well, pumpkinny instead of banana-y, and richer in color. I included some of the usual suspects as far as pumpkin-friendly spices and a mix of nuts (walnuts, pecans) and chocolate chips. I’ve had images of deliciously frosted pumpkin cupcakes in my head for a while, so I also thought a swirl of cream cheese throughout the loaf would go nicely while still making a decent claim at this being breakfast friendly and not all out dessert. 😉

I’m also submitting this autumny bread to Art You Eat – Autumn Edition.

  • Bread Batter
    • 1.5 cups flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp cloves
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1.5 cup crunchy things (chopped walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, pepitas–whatever!)
  • Cream Cheese Swirl
    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 1 egg
    • 1 Tbsp sugar

I like to prepare my pumpkin puree well ahead of when I need it. Its an easy task, but its even easier if you do it a day ahead. 😉 Just lop the pumpkin (a small, flavorful, cooking friendly variety–not big Halloween decorative pumpkins) in half, scrape out the seeds and stringy bits (and save those seeds!), and cook in a roasting pan with ~1/2-1 inch of water, cut side down.

After ~60 minutes (give or take 15 minutes) in a 350°F oven, the pumpkin should be fork tender, at which point, you simply let it cool, scrape out the flesh, puree it, and allow to strain for about an hour or two (a lot of water could drip out). Tada, fresh pumpkin puree! I do 2 or 3 pumpkins at a time. You can easily freeze the leftovers. Yes, there’s canned puree available, but why wait for last year’s pumpkins to come in “season” at the store when you could so easily use actual, fresh pumpkins that don’t have a tinny taste?

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt in a bowl. Set this aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter (which is at room temperature). Then, add in the sugar, mixing until integrated, followed by the eggs one at a time, vanilla extract, and finally, the pumpkin puree. Add half of the dry mixture, mixing just until integrated with the wet, and finally add the rest, mixing only as much as needed to form the batter.

With the batter prepared, fold in the nuts/chips.

In another bowl, beat the cream cheese (which has come to room temperature for an hour or two). Once creamy, add the sugar and egg, beating until totally integrated. At this point, the cream cheese mixture should be very easily spreadable, almost pourable. What you see in the photo above is how it would look if you used straight, unwhipped cream cheese (call this learning experience/loaf #1). It works, but its difficult to spread on the batter and the baked result becomes crumbly and not well integrated with the bread. It makes a surprising amount of difference!

In a buttered bread pan, pour about a third of the bread batter followed by a half of the cream cheese. Repeat with the remaining batter so that you have two layers of cream cheese. Since my bread pan is a bit smaller than the recipe (why did I buy this thing? Its about 8 inches long, for reference), I pour some batter in my muffin pan–enough to make two muffins. Otherwise, I risk major bread overflow in the oven (there’s a mess!).

With the bread pan ready to go, stab it with a knife here and there to give the cream cheese a bit of a swirl through the batter (I forgot to do this in loaf #1, lol–not very dramatic to slice into later). Then, bake this in a 350°F oven for 1 hour (and if you’re doing muffins with extra batter, take those out earlier–figure around 30 minutes).

Give it some time to cool down after the oven, and either dig in now, or save it for breakfast during the week (like me!). Whenever you dig in, enjoy!

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42 Responses to “Cream Cheese Swirled Pumpkin Bread”

  1. Ning Says:

    This looks delicious! You inspire me to try baking more :) Maybe if we add yogurt, its going to be moist?

  2. linda Says:

    Looks more like a pretty layer cake with the cream cheese inside, delicious!

  3. Y Says:

    Awesome looking bread. Looks like they make great muffins too!

  4. ruhama Says:

    Oh, man! I thought I had my snacks all figured out for the craft open house I’m hosting on Saturday… now I may have to reconsider. Yum!

  5. Ivy Says:

    I have two large pumpkins to use and this is the best recipe I have read up to now. You are a genius adding that cream cheese in the middle.

  6. Anali Says:

    Yum! I love breakfast, sweets and pumpkin. What a great treat that satisfies all three! That cream cheese swirl looks so good! If I could just have a little bitty piece…. Please… ; )

  7. Tracy Says:

    This looks divine. Autumn is my favorite season, probably because of all of the pumpkin recipes! Yum.

  8. Sam Says:

    That sounds, and looks unbelievably good! Great idea.

  9. nina Says:

    The bread looks so crunchy on the outside….I need a big cup of coffee and real farm butter for this one.

  10. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    I’m not crazy about pumpkin, so I often substitute butternut squash puree for pumpkin puree in recipes. I’ll do that here!

  11. Sandie Says:

    Ahhh, so this is how you satisfied that cream cheese addiction of yours! Nicely done, Mike (love the layering).

  12. Peter Says:

    Mike, the cream cheese/pumpkin combo reminds of carrot cake and I like it. With cakes like this, I’ll forgo omelets too!

  13. Deborah Says:

    everything is better with a cream cheese layer! This looks fabulous!

  14. shayne Says:

    can I say oh baby

  15. Lisa Says:

    I’d eat that anytime of day! What a perfect autumn bread and the cream cheese just makes it all that much better.

  16. Alexa Says:

    I laughed when I saw your post… I have to bring pumpkin bread to my son’s class for a halloween party and I was planning on making it tomorrow. My plan was to be clever and swirl cream cheese inside the pumpkin batter. Needless to say, I like the way you think (lol). Your brilliant bread looks delicious!

  17. kittie Says:

    Wow – that first photo is so tempting. Even though I have just stuffed myself with pizza!!


  18. Leonor de Sousa Bastos Says:

    This bread must be delicious!!

    It looks so golden and tender that I’d like to eat it all!

  19. RecipeGirl Says:

    Mmmm… I love the cream cheese swirl. I’m a breakfast person, and this looks like a good fall breakfast!

  20. Katie Says:

    Yum! I love the layering and the step-by-step photos.

  21. Hélène Says:

    What a great submission. I like the layers. Beautiful!

  22. Heather Says:

    This is the perfect balance of sweet/earthy and creamy/savory. Sounds like the best brekkie to me!

  23. noble pig Says:

    Layers of cream cheese and pumpkin, I think I need it for Halloween Breakfast! Thank you.

  24. mikky Says:

    what a treat!!! another way of enjoying pumpkin which i never tried before… :)

  25. grace Says:

    if you ask me, pumpkin bread’s only worth eating if there’s cream cheese involved. and really, who wouldn’t go for a pastry over an omelet? :)

  26. Heather Says:

    ohhhh yum, that looks good!! i love cream cheese in baked goods!!

  27. Lynn Says:

    Hide the cream cheese inside and call it healthy? You’re a genius! This looks fabulous.

  28. Joy the Baker Says:

    That’s some good looking bread!

  29. Larissa Says:

    Eeee! That looks so good! I swear, if it weren’t for the calories, I’d live off pumpkin bread from September till December.

  30. Bunny Says:

    I love this bread, I love that there’s cream cheese in it!

  31. Toni Says:

    Oh dear……….another terrific use of pumpkin. I just figured out that they’re not only for pies. Now I think I have to buy another one to make this bread!

  32. Jude Says:

    Looks breakfast, lunch, and dinner friendly to me. That’s a cool way to assemble quick breads.

  33. clumbsycookie Says:

    How nice the stripes! Love that that cake/bread comes with an icing-like in the middle!

  34. Aparna Says:

    Its really raining pumpkins all over food blog world. And for a change its bread and not pie.:) Lovely.
    Though I would probably keep it for dinner. For breakfast I need savoury and nothing else will do.

  35. maris Says:

    Hi! This is my first time stopping by your blog but your recipes sounds so savory and the pictures look great!

    I love pumpkin bread too..a definite must have for this time of year!

  36. Cyn Says:

    I made your pumpkin bread and took it into the office today and everyone was raving about how great it was. I’m glad I saved a piece for myself, it was delicious. Thanks for the great recipe.

  37. anudivya Says:

    This looks amazing… swirl, or no swirl, I would be happy to make and eat those!

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  42. Hillary Says:

    Mike, this bread recipe was divine! I brought it to my kids’ weekly playgroup, full of health-conscious-but-food-loving moms, and even with a few tweaks to “health-ify” it (by substituting whole wheat and oat flour for some of the white flour, and also cutting half the cream cheese and substituting yogurt) it was still amazing. I wish I would have made a double batch! Definitely going to keep this one in the fall rotation. Thanks!

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