Pumpkin pie spice loaf cake is a perfect fall quick bread full of all your favorite fall spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and ground cloves. All this without any pumpkin puree! Cover with a simple light dusting of confectioners sugar, or give it that pumpkin spice kick with homemade pumpkin frosting. The choice is yours! Either way, you’ll want to sink your teeth into this sweet autumn treat!
Making Pumpkin Pie Spice Loaf Cake:
Pumpkin Spice season is upon us, and over the years I’ve discovered that for all the people who love it- there are lots of people out there that don’t. Add my kiddos to that list. They just don’t find pumpkin puree to be their thing, even in sugary desserts.
But do you know what they love???? All the flavors that makeup pumpkin pie spice mix. Those autumn flavors that just scream comfort as the days get shorter and chilly. Their favorites:
Last fall I shared with you my go-to pumpkin pie spice mix that I whip up to have on hand for days we are craving that familiar spice mix. To cut time when making this recipe, I use this prepared mix rather than measure out each individual spice. While mixing the ingredients I was overwhelmed by how much the smell reminded me of chai tea. Such a wonderful fragrance!
In order for me to get my fall bake on, compromises had to be made. While I may long for a piece of moist pumpkin bread, my kiddos want nothing to do with that. So this pumpkin spice loaf cake was born sans pumpkin.
There were multiple recipe tests. Quality had to be met- moistness when puree is absent. A nice crumb without dryness. It had to be something that you’d see in a coffee shop display cake and feel the absolute need to have it. And this baby goes perfectly with your favorite cup of coffee. I *may* have consumed lots of maple cinnamon vanilla cupcake latte macchiatos with my slices.
Fresh out of the oven, it smells divine. The ripple dimple that runs the length of a loaf cake gives me all the feels. It’s my favorite part of baking banana bread too. Please tell me I’m not the only one finding joy in something so simple.
For a loaf cake like this, it is recommended to line your pan with parchment paper to make taking it out a little easier. Of course I was out of paper, so I simply greased my tin really well. After resting, it slid out like a dream. It isn’t the heaviest loaf cake, but it’s not super light and airy either.
You can give it a few minutes and dust it with powdered sugar and enjoy it warm in all its glory. Which is so very tempting. You’ve waited all those minutes while your house is engulfed in the smells of cinnamon and ginger. I wouldn’t blame you one bit for wanting to dig in.
Pumpkin Spice Loaf Shopping List:
- Pumpkin Pie Spice! Store-bought or homemade is fine – learn how to make Pumpkin pie spice! I’ve included a hack below in my tips and tricks portion if you don’t have any on hand.
- white vinegar or lemon juice
- vanilla extract
- softened butter
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- confectioner’s sugar
When you let the kiddos sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar on, a large level of snow might appear. My kids have no restraint when it comes to this.
This autumn treat is so perfect for your next breakfast indulgence or a quick afternoon snack. It’s delicious to bite into after a nice big bowl of soup for dinner. Unless you are craving something a little more dessert-like. Or you are missing the pumpkin flavor that you feel needs to appear in conjunction with the pumpkin spice flavors. And in that case…..
May I present…….
Pumpkin Pie Spice Loaf Cake with Homemade Pumpkin Frosting.
Because sometimes mama wants what her kids do not. I couldn’t resist. This homemade frosting is perfect to keep on hand in the fall months. I’ll be sharing the recipe later this week. It adds just the touch of sweetness, and more importantly, has actual pumpkin puree in it.
See what I did there? I snuck the pumpkin in. It turns out I’m not the only one who likes the bread this way. My mother in law ate not one, not two, but THREE slices of this spice loaf with pumpkin icing. I’m pretty sure that an approval like that from my mother in law is like 5 stars in the culinary world.
Quick tips for baking a pumpkin spice loaf cake:
- Be light in mixing. Do NOT over mix. Over mixing results in a dense bread. Soft and tender are what you are aiming for, and your mixing should be the same.
- Your pan size matters. Double-check the size you are using and realize you might have to keep an eye on it in the oven if it varies in size. Standard US sizes are 4.5 inches wide (at the top), 8.5 inches long, and 2.5 inches tall. If your pan is bigger than this, it probably will bake a little bit faster and won’t rise as much out of the tin. If your pan is smaller, make sure you do not overfill it. You’ll want to stop at about 2/3rds full. You don’t want it to rise out of the pan and make a mess! I usually put a sheet pan on the rack below to catch any spills. I’ve baked this recipe in standard and larger sizes. If using the standard, use a knife to level the batter evenly. I have yet to have it rise out and spill.
- Your type of pan matters too, but not that much. If you are like me, you might have a variety. I have silicon, glass, and metal as well as vitrified pottery. I find that the silicone won’t brown as well. I tend to grab my metal tins the most cause they are light and easy, but glass is nice because you can see if the edges are browning. The #1 trick is to grease well to avoid sticking. Run a knife along the edges before inverting to remove the bread loaf.
- You don’t have to use pumpkin pie spice mix if you don’t have it on hand. I would sub 1.5 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, and just a tiny sprinkle of cloves. Easy peasy.
- If you have buttermilk on hand, use it to replace the lemon juice/vinegar/milk in the recipe. I don’t tend to purchase it, but I know lots of people do!
- Other topping options: You can dust with a mix of granulated sugar mixed with a bit of cinnamon. You can use a simple confectioner sugar glaze, some homemade apple butter, or you could even top with my maple cinnamon frosting. Serving plain is just fine too!
Other Fall Recipes Like Pumpkin Pie Spice Loaf Cake:
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Pumpkin Pie Spice Loaf Cake
- 2 tsp white vinegar **you can sub lemon juice if needed
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- .5 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder not baking soda! Make sure it is baking powder!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 11 TBSP salted butter softened
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3 eggs large size works best. If you only extra large, use 2 whole and 1 egg yolk.
- Always start by preheating your oven! You'll need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease your loaf pan (either standard size or a 5 x 9 size) with either non-stick spray or butter
Making Homemade Buttermilk:
- Buttermilk will give a slightly different texture to your bread and will keep it nice and tender. It's easy enough to make homemade if you don't have any on hand. You'll want to start this at the beginning so it has time for the acid to work it's magic.
- Mix either white vinegar or lemon juice into the milk. Stir and set aside.
Sift your dry ingredients:
- Place a sifter over a medium sized bowl. Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder. Sifting will get rid of any clumps and introduce a bit of air and lift. If you don't have a sieve, you can use a whisk. I like to double sift, but just once works too.
Creaming the wet ingredients:
- You'll want your butter to be soft and pliable but not too soft and runny. Using a paddle attachment, beat the sugar on a medium speed for about one minute. I use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer or even a wooden spoon will work with enough elbow grease. You'll want the butter to turn a slightly lighter color, and be nice and even, with no clumps.
- With the mixer on the slowest speed, slowly pour in the vanilla extract. After incorporated, slowly sprinkle in the pumpkin pie spice. Mix until it has been evenly distributed.
- Still on low speed, slowly pour in sugar. Cream this mixture until it's fluffy and well mixed.
Adding in Dry ingredients
- For all the mixing you do to introduce air into the wet ingredients, you'll want the opposite for the dry ingredients. For this we are going to mix until just combined. If you over beat, you'll have a dense loaf.
- With the mixer on slow, add in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture. Stop when 90% has been mixed in. (Only about 20-30 seconds).
- Still on slow speed, slowly pour in 1/2 the buttermilk mixture.
- With the mixer on slow, add in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture. Stop when 90% has been mixed in. ( Again - only about 20-30 seconds).
- Slowly pour in the last 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture.
- Add in the last of the dry ingredient mixture. Stop when 90% has been mixed in. For the rest, stir with a light hand until just combined.
Ready to go in the oven!
- Make sure you greased your pan!
- Place your batter into your greased pan. Level off with the back of your spoon or a knife. Place on the middle rack of your preheated oven.
- Bake in the oven for just about an hour and check with a toothpick. Keep an eye on the edges if you are using a glass pan. The sides should be browned but not burnt. The top will look a bit under done, but the toothpick should come out clean when done. A typical loaf in an oven takes 57-65 minutes.
- Place your loaf pan on a cooling rack for about 15-20 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges before popping the loaf out of the pan.
- You can slice and eat warm - it can be hard to wait!
- Once cooled, top with powdered sugar or homemade pumpkin frosting!
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