Packed with fall flavor and some unexpected zest thanks to the lemon glaze! This cozy and nostalgic Pumpkin Harvest Loaf is a perfect treat.Jump to Recipe
According to Agresti Family Lore, my mother won a baking contest with a stunning Pumpkin Harvest Loaf at the tender age of eight or so. It’s a story I’ve heard so many times that I decided to ask my mom if she still had the recipe. After much googling, we were unable to find the original recipe. So I set out to replicate it. I used this recipe as a guide (my mom said this one was close but not exactly right, so I made some changes based on our taste tests).
Pumpkin Harvest Loaf Ingredients
Pumpkin Purée: Not pumpkin pie filling! You’ll use a whole can (so no awkward leftovers).
Neutral Oil: Canola, vegetable, avocado, refined coconut…they all work!
Sugar: I’ve tested this with white sugar and brown sugar, and either are delicious.
Eggs: For proper structure.
Vanilla Extract: To enhance the whole loaf.
Flour: Use all-purpose for best results. I haven’t tested a gluten-free option, but I would guess a 1-to-1 all-purpose flour would do the trick.
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Salt: Fall spices for obvious reasons.
Baking Powder and Soda: So the loaf rises properly (this bread really is quite delightfully fluffy!).
Walnuts: Pecans would work too.
Lemon Juice and Powdered Sugar: To make a quick lemon glaze!
Baking Tips for Success
- Measuring the Flour: Make sure to spoon your flour into the measuring cup and then level it with a knife. If you pack the flour into the measuring cup, it will cause the loaf to be dry.
- Use the Right Measuring Cups: Glass measuring cups such as these are for measuring liquid. The stackable measuring cups such as these are for dry ingredients. For example, you’ll want to use liquid measuring cups for things like oil, honey, etc. and dry measuring cups for ingredients like flour, sugar, or even semi-liquid ingredients like pumpkin purée and yogurt.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder: Make sure you’ve purchased both in the last six months for best results. They lose their effectiveness over time.
- Mixing Your Batter: Don’t over-mix! Some small lumps are okay. If glutinous flours are mixed for too long, it can create a gummy and overly chewy baked good. No thank you!
- Oven Time: Ovens are finicky and they are not all the same. Temperature can vary fairly significantly depending on what oven you have. I recommend beginning to check your pumpkin loaf at the 45-minute mark.
- Sift the Powdered Sugar: It makes such a difference and takes only an extra minute. If you don’t, your lemon glaze might be pretty lumpy. I use a cheap mesh strainer like this one that I got at Ikea.
If you make this Pumpkin Harvest Loaf, be sure to leave a rating and review! This encourages other readers to try it out and helps a ton with Google rankings. Plus, it really makes me happy to see folks enjoy the recipes. You can also connect with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok.
More Fall Baking
- Vegan Apple Oatmeal Cream Pies
- Pumpkin Beer Bread (Easily Vegan)
- Amazing Cinnamon Pumpkin Cornbread
- Vegan/Gluten-Free Pumpkin Tahini Muffins
- Gluten-Free Brown Butter Cinnamon Apple Bread
Pumpkin Harvest Loaf with Lemon Glaze
- 9×5 loaf pan
- Hand or Stand Mixer (optional)
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin purée
- ½ cup neutral oil (such as canola, vegetable, avocado, or refined coconut oil)
- ½ cup sugar (white or brown sugar works!)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ½ cup raw walnut pieces
For the Lemon Glaze:
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup powdered sugar sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F and line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease with cooking spray to ensure nothing sticks.
- In a large bowl, add pumpkin purée, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and fold together until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Finally, fold in walnuts.
- Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tester or toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. I would recommend beginning to check your loaf around the 45-minute mark, as ovens vary a bit.
- Let sit in pan for 20 minutes before transferring to cooling rack to completely cool.
- Once the bread has cooled, make your lemon glaze! Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl until smooth and pour evenly over the loaf. Enjoy!
Photography by Hope Agresti
Brings back memories of my Girl Scout days ! It is true I won 1st place with the recipe and made it so many times. Glad you spent so much time resurrecting it. 🧡