This pumpkin cream cheese bread is pumpkin bread elevated! A delicious pumpkin spice bread batter is layered with smooth sweetened cream cheese. For some contrast of texture, the bread is topped with a crunchy brown sugar streusel. This quick bread is easy to make and doesn't even require a mixer if you don't have one!
Why is this the best pumpkin bread?
We all know there are a million and one pumpkin bread recipes out there. It's a really easy bread to make and fulfills that nostalgia for all the fall things. So of course there would be a bunch of delicious recipes for it.
Well this take on pumpkin bread is just a bit elevated! Here's why this pumpkin cream cheese bread is one of the best!
- No mixer required! Just grab a whisk and a couple bowls and you'll have the batter whipped up in less than 10 minutes.
- Cream cheese layer. In addition to the lovely fragrantly spiced pumpkin bread, you get to add a velvety cream cheese layer. The cream cheese is just lightly sweetened with a little sugar and provides a nice contrast to the spices of the bread.
- Brown Sugar Streusel Topping. The "icing on the cake" for this bread is the crunchy streusel topping. The pumpkin bread itself is incredibly moist due to the pumpkin puree and it being an oil-based bread. The cream cheese adds another creamy layer as well so having a crunchy topping provides the best texture contrast to the moist bread.
Tips for the best pumpkin bread
This is an easy and quick bread to whip together and there's not too much that can go wrong, but follow these tips to make the perfect pumpkin bread!
- Mix until the flour is just incorporated so that the bread remains light and not tough or chewy.
- Use pure pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling! Pumpkin puree is just pumpkin and nothing else while pumpkin pie filling has spices and sugar added already.
- Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before trying to mix it with the sugar. If it's still cold, the cream cheese will be lumpy instead of smooth. You can just use a whisk to mix the cream cheese and sugar.
How to assemble the bread
Assembly is quick and easy. Simply whip up the batter for the pumpkin bread. Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the 2 long sides.
Pour half of the pumpkin batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Dollop the cream cheese mixture over top the pumpkin batter and smooth it out covering the batter.
Cover the cream cheese with the other half of the pumpkin batter, again smoothing the top.
Crumble the streusel on top of the batter evenly. Now it's ready to bake!
How to know when the bread is done
To check for doneness, keep an eye on the clock but as you approach about 45 minutes, begin to check the bread for doneness.
Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the bread. You want to see a few moist crumbs still sticking to the toothpick when you pull it out. You will also see some of the cream cheese mixture on the toothpick so don't mistake this for the bread not being done.
Mine was done at exactly 55 minutes but due to differing ovens, your bread could take more or less time.
If you notice the streusel getting too brown (I didn't have this problem) then simply cover the top of the pan with some foil.
After removing it from the oven, let it cool in the pan completely.
Can I use homemade pumpkin puree?
Yes! Some years the pumpkin crop is late and if you didn't stock up on canned puree last year then you could have a difficult time finding it in stores.
You can still get your pumpkin bread fix by making your own pumpkin puree. You will need to source a small sugar pumpkin (may also be called a pie pumpkin) from the store or farmer's market.
Slice off the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits from the middle. Slice the pumpkin in half and sprinkle the cut sides with a little kosher salt.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pumpkin cut side down on the sheet. Bake the pumpkin at 400 degrees F for anywhere from 30 to 55 minutes (depending on the size of the pumpkin) until you can pierce the skin with a fork easily.
Remove from the oven and allow the pumpkin to cool enough to handle it. Scoop off the flesh from the skin of the pumpkin and then puree it in a blender or food processor until it's smooth.
This will make a few cups of pumpkin puree so you can keep the puree in the fridge for about a week or freeze it until you are ready to use it.
Subbing pumpkin pie spice for the spices
If you don't have all the spices called for in the recipe or don't want to purchase individual spices, you can just purchase pumpkin pie spice instead. Sub in 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
How to store pumpkin bread
Because this is an oil based bread, it will stay moist for a long time. The bread will keep for a week (if it lasts that long!).
Store it on the counter for a couple days or in the refrigerator for longer than that. Make sure it is tightly covered or in an airtight container with any exposed sides covered.
Can I freeze it?
Yes! The bread freezes well. Just wrap the whole loaf in plastic wrap and then in a layer of foil. It will keep for about 3 months in the freezer.
To thaw the bread, place it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter.
For more fall recipes, check out:
- Apple Cinnamon Babka
- Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
- Pumpkin Nutella Babka
- Apple Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Tag me on Instagram @themarblekitchenblog if you make this and leave a star rating and comment below! Thanks and enjoy!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup solid pack pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Brown Sugar Streusel
- ⅓ cup flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on the 2 long sides (alternately, butter and flour the pan).
- Whisk sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl until combined.
- Add the egg and pumpkin and stir to combine.
- Combine flour and the next seven ingredients through baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Mix together softened cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer or by hand. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
- Pour about half of the pumpkin batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the pumpkin batter, covering it completely.
- Pour the remaining pumpkin batter into the pan and spread out evenly to cover the cream cheese.
- Top evenly with the brown sugar streusel.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean mostly clean with a few moist crumbs (look for the pumpkin batter on the toothpick and not the cream cheese).
Brown Sugar Streusel
- Combine flour, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl. Using your fingers or a fork, smash the butter into the flour mixture until small crumbs form throughout.
- Store covered on the counter for a couple days or longer in the refrigerator.
- Bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap in plastic wrap and then foil before freezing.