Orange You Glad You Made This Pumpkin Bread

Side View - Pumpkin Bundt

This recipe is based upon my desire to bring a pumpkin dessert to Thanksgiving dinner that covers four bases:

  1. Tastes great,
  2. Looks impressive,
  3. Is easy to make,
  4. Isn’t pumpkin pie.

This bread is in the spirit of autumn and all its pumpkin spice greatness; the cheesecake layer adds an element of tart richness people appreciate around the holidays. Bonus: it really is easy to make, and it’s delicious with coffee (breakfast, anyone?)

Ingredients

Step 1: Cheesecake Layer

  • 1 package (8 oz) of cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbls all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp orange extract

Don’t be intimidated by the orange extract. It adds a mild hint of flavor that gives depth to the cheesecake layer.

Step 2: Pumpkin Layer

  • 1 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not ready-made pie filling)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

Step 3: Orange Glaze

  • 1 ½ cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 325º. Grease a Bundt (standard 12 cup) or standard (9″ x 5″) loaf pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients of Step 1: cream cheese, ½ cup sugar, egg, 1 tablespoon flour, and orange extract. Using a hand mixer, beat at medium speed until smooth and set aside.

Using the ingredients in Step 2: Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pie spice, and salt into a medium bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, and sugar, beat on medium speed until well blended. Fold in the spiced flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until just combined.

batterAdd approximately half of the pumpkin batter to the pan, gently smooth the surface of the batter to ensure an even layer. Top the pumpkin batter with dollops of the cream cheese mixture, using a spoon or small scoop; again smoothing to ensure there’s a cheesechake layer throughout the bread. Top the cream cheese layer with the remaining pumpkin batter.

No need to swirl the layers – the idea is to have a yummy, creamy layer of cheesecake in the middle!

Bake for approximately 60 minutes (slightly less time for the Bundt pan, slightly more for the loaf pan) until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to slightly cool. If using a Bundt pan, invert to a wire rack to continue cooling after about 10 minutes cooling in the pan.

For Step 3, the orange glaze: Sift the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice, mix well. Slowly add additional orange juice until the glaze is a thick, yet pourable consistency. Drizzle atop the cooled pumpkin bread, add sprinkles if desired. (Tip: if cooling on a wire rack, set the bread, on the rack, in your sink, then drizzle with glaze. The extra glaze will drip into the sink, allowing easy clean up!)

Store loosely covered at room temperature – if chilled, allow to warm slightly to ensure the cheesecake layer softens.

The Real “Pumpkin Spice” Cheesecake

Slice of Pumpkin Spice
Slice of Pumpkin Spice

Who says you can’t enjoy pumpkin after thanksgiving?

If it’s cold outside, I’m enjoying pumpkin spice.

I’m sure you’ve heard about Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte not containing actual pumpkin, at least until this year when they decided to add it… well, I’m here to assure you there are plenty of holiday recipes made with real pumpkin and spice.

The beauty of real pumpkin spice recipes is you can adjust the “spice” to your liking. Cloves have a real punch, so many opt to leave it out altogether… I used the full amount in this recipe, only 1/4 teaspoon, and found it plenty adequate. Cinnamon comes in many varieties, so you can alter the flavor of your favorite recipes simply by purchasing a different type of cinnamon. My favorite spice shops are Penzeys and The Spice House, both of which have a variety of fall spices.

This Pumpkin Cheesecake is baked in a water bath, but I’m sure you’re a pro at that by now, if you’ve followed my blog thus far! A few tips:

  • Plan ahead, as this should refrigerate overnight. Still tasty after three days, if kept refrigerated and covered.
  • You’ll need a 10-inch springform pan, which is an inch larger than the seemingly “standard” 9-inch. I have both sizes, but if you only have a 9-inch pan, you’ll need to increase the baking time.

For the Crust

  • Crust Ingredients
    Sweet + Cinnamon
    Crust Crumbs
    Crumbly Perfection

    9 whole graham crackers (about one sleeve in a box, 4 oz)

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Prepare the springform pan by wrapping heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bottom, to keep the water bath from seeping through.

Blend graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground. Slowly add melted butter, pulsing until crumbs start to clump. If you don’t have a food processor, place graham crackers in a ziplock bag, crush with a rolling pin (or soup can, or whatever you have… hey, I’ve been there), then mix the remaining ingredients thoroughly until the mixture will clump when pinched with your fingers. Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, and allow to cool.

For the Filling

  • Half of the Finished Cheesecake... It Goes Fast!
    Half of the Finished Cheesecake… It Goes Fast!

    4 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, softened/room temp

  • 1 1/2 cups  sugar
  • 1 fifteen (15) ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

(note, spices are in ground form)

  1. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, beating in one at a time.
  2. Add pumpkin, cream, vanilla and spices; beat until incorporated.
  3. Pour filling into prepared crust. Place filled springform pan into large roasting pan (see water bath post for hints!). Fill with enough water to come halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  4. Bake until slightly puffed, golden and softly set, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath and set on rack to cool.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  6. To serve, run a thin plastic knife around the sides of the springform pan, then release the latch to open the pan. Serve as-is or with whipped cream.