Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

Halloween Dessert Alert!!  If you’re going to consume a lot of sugar this Halloween, why not do it with this Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl?  At its most basic level, it’s a spicy pumpkin cake with a thick cream cheese frosting swirled through the middle of it rather than slathered on top.  Shortly out of the oven (while still a little warm), the top layer is a little hard and crispy, but when you break through that layer, underneath it lies the cream cheese swirl which is rich, smooth, creamy, and sweet.  The pumpkin bread layer below that is super tender, cinnamony, and reminiscent of all things good about fall baking and the holidays.    I encountered a few issues while making this recipe, one being that the cake wasn’t very good looking when it came out of the oven (as a result of the cream cheese swirl seeping up to top, foaming, and then cooling to hard, crispy shards that I then peel off from the top of bread), and it’s also a bit of a guessing game as to when it’s ready to take out of the oven (the top layer of my bread had crisped up, but the cream cheese filling below had seeped up through the top batter and was causing the bread to have a weird bounce when I pressed down on the top for doneness).  That said, this bread is absolutely delicious and will give you a sugar rush like no other.

I was a little annoyed that it wasn’t very pretty out of the oven.  The lighter areas of the cake are where the cream cheese frosting seeped up through the top batter.

Pumpkin Bread w cheesecake swirl- kitchn1

But slicing it open revealed some deliciously beautiful layers.

Pumpkin Bread w cheesecake swirl- kitchn3 Pumpkin Bread w cheesecake swirl- kitchn7

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

(from the kitchn)
Makes one (9×5-inch) loaf
My notes are in [italics] below.


Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 cup (8 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) canola oil
1 cup (8 1/2 ounces) pumpkin purée [I only used 7.5 ounces of pumpkin puree which is half of a 15 oz can]
2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (8 ounces) powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper so there is an overhang on each long side. Coat the parchment paper with baking spray or butter and flour. [I forgot to coat the parchment paper and my bread still released easily.  Don’t omit using parchment though; if you do, your cake will be a mess to get out of the pan.]
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the egg and sugar.  Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  5. Turn the speed down to low and, pouring very slowly, drizzle the oil down the side of the bowl.
  6. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
  7. Turn the mixer off.  Add the flour mixture and fold in by hand until just combined.
  8. Transfer the mixture back to the bowl used for the flour, and set aside.
  9. Rinse out and dry the bowl of the stand mixer and the paddle attachment in order to make the filling.
  10. Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup of the pumpkin batter, and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. Pour half the pumpkin bread batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading evenly. [Make sure you divide the batter evenly.  If you don’t have enough batter for the top layer to fully cover the cream cheese filling, you’ll have a bit of a mess on your hands.]
  12. Spoon the cream cheese filling over the batter and smooth it out.
  13. Cover the cream cheese filling with the remaining pumpkin bread batter.
  14. Bake the pumpkin bread for 1 hour, or until the center springs back when pressed with your fingertip. (If your finger sinks, bake 10 to 15 minutes longer.) [I baked mine for 1 hour 5 minutes, but it was difficult to tell if the bread was ready to be taken out of the oven.]
  15. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then pull the loaf out using the parchment paper “handles” to cool completely.

Note: The pumpkin bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to three days, or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Thaw overnight at room temperature before serving.

3 thoughts on “Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Streusel Coffeecake | Eat Sweets and Be Merry

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