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Sincere Acts of Sweetness

January 23, 2010

Matched: Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

I've been making pumpkin bread for many years, even before I ever started baking with any confidence. This was mostly due to how easy this recipe is to make. All you do is dump all the ingredients into a bowl, mix it until it's all blended together, pour it into prepared loaf pans, and bake at 350 a little more than an hour, and eat. It's that easy!
A few weeks ago I was in Starbuck's and overheard two customer's praising the pumpkin loaf. Being the ever so curious person that I am, I had to get a peek of the wondrous loaf myself. It looked very similar to my pumpkin bread and I wondered if it tasted the same too. So I bought a slice, you know, for research purposes. ;)

The most obvious difference were the pepita seeds that adorned the top of the slice I purchased. Not only did it give a the bread a little visual appeal, but it added just the right amount of texture and a little hint of nutty flavor. However, inasmuch as the bread had a pleasant flavor, it was milder than my pumpkin bread and the texture was a bit denser too. It's not to say that it was bad in any way, it was just different. Overall though, in a blind taste test, I'd like to think that based on freshness of flavor and texture, I am not sure my pumpkin bread would win, but I think it would be a very close match. If nothing else, at $2 a slice, my pumpkin bread is a lot less expensive and it makes your whole house smell divine when it's baking.

Nevertheless, this is one of my favorite go-to recipes and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do. One of the things I love about this recipe is that by just changing the method in which you mix the ingredients together, you can get two very different treats. You'll find the two variation in the recipe that follows.

Pumpkin Bread:2 Ways
Yield: Makes 2 large loaves, or 5 mini loaves, or 24-30 cupcakes or muffins

1 cup of canola or vegetable oil
1 cup of water, at room temperature
1 15oz can or 2 cups of 100% pure pumpkin
4 eggs
3 cups of sugar
3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/4 to 1/2 cup of roasted pumpkin/Pepita seeds (optional)

"Dump & Mix" Pumpkin Bread
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two large loaf pans (I use Pam with Flour).

Dump all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix to blend everything together. Add all the dry ingredients and mix together for about a minute until well blended and all batter looks one color and one texture.

Evenly distribute the batter between both loaf pans. Scatter a few handfuls of Pepita seeds (optional) over the top of the bread and push down slightly them to ensure that they stick to the batter. Bake for 70 minutes to 90 minutes, until the center comes out clean when tested with a wooden toothpick. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes and then remove from the baking pan to cool completely. Keep covered or wrapped in plastic. Or wrap in heavy foil and freeze for up to 4 months.

"Light and Fluffy" Pumpkin Cake
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.

Combine all the dry ingredients together into a bowl and whisk until evenly combined (or sift if you'd like).

In the bowl of the stand mixture, mix together the oil, water, and pumpkin for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 1 minute each. Slowly add the dry ingredients in two or three parts, stopping just when they are absorbed. Don't over mix.

Evenly distribute the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes (check every 3-5 minutes after 20 minutes) until the center comes out clean when tested with a wooden toothpick. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes and then remove from the baking pan to cool completely. Eat plain or frost with your favorite frosting.

Would I Make This Again? Yes and I do every year!


  1. Yummy yummy, I am wishing I had a piece of this wonderful looking cake right now. Great pictures too!

  2. i love copycat recipes!!! this one loooks amazing!

  3. I can't wait to try this! I bought a large hunk of pumpkin squash cousin (not exactly sure what it is, but the closest thing to pumpkin I find here in Costa Rica) and Husband says he doesn't want any more pumpkin soup. Perfect change. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sounds good Julia and I love nuts and seeds ON TOP of my breads.

  5. Update: I just pulled out one of my loaves from the oven, sliced off the end and LOVE it! Great recipe. I can't wait until it cools, so that I slice and share. Thanks a million.

  6. One last update: loaf one is missing 1/3. Chew. Chew. Swallow. Yum!

  7. Yumm! I have seen a few pumpkin recipes lately and now I am craving it!

  8. I have not had pumpkin bread with Pepita seeds. It does really add a nice touch to the top!

  9. I would love to know how to make panera's pumpkin muffies. I love them!!!

  10. There's no comparison. Homemade is definitely better than Starbucks. I think they're overrated.

  11. Hi, I run a baby shower website and I am hosting a cakes/cupcake contest, which just started today. I am looking for entries to display on my site. The contest will run throuhg 3/26/10, and the prize is a $50 gift card. If you are interested, I have linked directly to the contest page. Thank you.

  12. I don't particularly like pumpkin in baked goods, but I'm sure I would prefer your homemade version over Starbucks'. It looks great :)

  13. looks delicious and your right when any kind of sweet bread baking is the best way to make your house smell terrific!


  14. I could go for a slice right now - pumpkin is my favorite! I invite you to enter my Valentine giveaway - you could win a pink, bead-knitted purse, hand-knit by me, with a chocolate bar charm.


  15. I love copy cat recipes. I can't wait to try this one out!

  16. Hi Julia, about a year ago you posted something on my blog asking for a recipe, so after having a baby, moving and all sorts of crazy things I can't remember if I sent you the recipe. Pernil or Pork Roast is a dish eaten in the Dominican Republic usually during the holidays. Everyone has their own way of making it, but here is a website with many Dominican dishes. Enjoy!! http://www.dominicancooking.com/meat-seafood-eggs/1399-puerco-asado-pork-roast.html
    Also, since you are so good at making cakes try this http://www.dominicancooking.com/desserts-beverages/1446-bizcocho-dominicano-dominican-cake.html
    It's awesome!!

  17. Great recipe! Been trying to find one that wasn't too dense and has flavor. Thank you!

  18. "Butong kalabasa" that's what it is in our native language. Kids here are always busy eating that seed. It must be delicious topings on that bread.


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