Pumpkin Tea Bread Recipe

Related: RW&G Recipes

Pumpkin tea bread on a plate from my late mother-in-law's house. The sugar cubes were picked up in a French grocery store back in April.

This is one of my mother’s recipes. She says that she clipped it from a Houston-area newspaper in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

This fact makes me think of a game that she played with me as a child, “Chronicle, Press or Post.” She’d say one of the words–each a name for old Houston papers–as she touched my forehead, nose and chin, working from the top of my face down. Then she’d point to my nose and ask, “What did I say this is?” I’d giggle and say “Press!,” and she’d gently press my nose. (This was a reference to the old Houston Press, which was different than the one up-and-running today.)

We also played this same game but called it “Hen, Pullet or Rooster.” I believe that one is English in origin. You can figure out what the “pullet” part without having to know a whole lot about chickens.

Back to the recipe…

Apparently folks in the ’50s loved shortening in a deep, abiding way. Because we’re a shortening-free household, I’ve adapted Mom’s recipe by using butter. I also tried adding a few dried cranberries in a couple of my loaves, just to see how they’d turn out. (You could use nuts if food allergies aren’t an issue for you.)


3 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin-pie spice (here’s a homemade version)
1 can (1 lb.) pumpkin
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup butter
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 350.

Grease loaf pans. You can use six small ones like I did or two large ones. Dust lightly with flour, tapping out excess. (Or cheat and use Baker’s Joy.)

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and pumpkin-pie spice in a bowl. Mix. Working with a cup of the mixture at a time and a sifter, sift the mixture on to wax or parchment paper. (Kids love this part. I did. My son does.)

In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin and water. Set aside.

Combine butter, sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat at high 3 minutes. Slowly add the pumpkin and flour mixtures, alternating between the two and beating after each addition until batter is smooth. Pour into pans.

Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pans on rack about 5 minutes. Turn loaves out onto rack; cool completely.


Ingredients assembled!
I try to remember to put the date on a newly opened pantry item. ("Try" is the operative word.)
Teamwork on the sifting of the dry ingredients.
Once sifted, dry ingredients may be returned to bowl while you work on other parts of the recipe.
Mixing water and pumpkin.
After the mixing, the pumpkin looks a little lighter and fluffier.
Sugar, butter and eggs. If you can find them, local eggs are the best.
After creaming the butter, sugar and eggs, you'll wan't to add the dry ingredients and the pumpkin blend a little at a time. Be sure to scrape the sides, too.
You can fold in dried fruit or nuts, if you'd like. But the bread doesn't really need it.
If you plan to mix in nuts or fruit, you can mark the tops of the bread to indicate which is which.
Into the oven. These took 45 minutes at 350, but ovens and pans vary.
Fresh from the oven, these loaves catch some sunlight.
I find it hard to wait to cut fresh baked goods. Note that if you use shortening instead of butter, your bread will be fluffier.

Explore More:

• I’m working on preserving my mother’s recipes. You can read what I have thus far here.

Thanks so much for your visit today. You’re invited to subscribe to the RedWhiteandGrew.com feed and to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. You are very welcome. I found your recipe on Pinterest, from one of my followers! It looks delicious, so I wanted to share.

    Thanks for the visit, Rachel!

  2. I just made this and enjoyed a slice with my lunch. Finally, a pumpkin recipe that’s not “heavy” or dense. Delish!

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