This moist and tender gluten free pumpkin swirl bread is packed with fall spices and will fill your home with the best smells of the season.
The most wonderful time of the year ?
I consider fall to be the most wonderful time of the year. Not only is school back in session (I'll take the chaos of back-to-school over the chaos of teenagers with too much unstructured time), but there's a chill in the air, and every candy in the world has miniature sizes for sale ?.
If you love pumpkin, then this gluten free pumpkin bread recipe is a must. If you don't love pumpkin, but even just like it, I think you'll love this recipe. If you really don't like pumpkin, go on and hit the recipe index for another recipe entirely. ?
What sort of pumpkin ? is best for baking?
I rarely make fresh pumpkin for baking, since I just don't think it's better than canned packed pumpkin. And of course, it's much more work than just purchasing an inexpensive can of packed pumpkin.
So for me, the best pumpkin for baking is the kind that comes in a can! But if you'd like to make your own, in my recipe for homemade pumpkin butter, I discuss how to roast a fresh pumpkin.
I've found that the best pumpkins for baking are small “sugar pumpkins,” preferably ones that are around 5 pounds. When baked, they have dense, soft flesh that isn't stringy.
The large pumpkins that you use for carving jack-o-lanterns are just the worst for baking. But the easiest, and often the best, pumpkin is canned.
True, the canned stuff might not always be pumpkin, but instead might be butternut squash. Either way, it tastes like true pumpkin and that's all that matters—especially when it's paired with all the flavors and aromas of pumpkin pie spice.
Why add a swirl?
I've been making a beloved recipe for gluten free pumpkin bread for years. It's moist and fork-tender, as well, and melts in your mouth.
I was inspired by the cinnamon swirl in this banana bread to try adding a swirl to pumpkin bread. Adding a swirl of cinnamon-sugar (or here, pumpkin pie spice) not only sneaks more flavor into a seasonal favorite recipe.
The cinnamon-spice swirl creates the most wonderful crust on top of the bread that almost splinters in your mouth. I dare you not to pick that topping off the top of the bread before it even gets to the plate.
The pumpkin pie spice in this recipe is plentiful, with a total of 3 teaspoons between the bread batter and the swirl. If you're concerned that it's too much, feel free to dial it back in either portion of the recipe. I wouldn't go below 2 teaspoons total, but it's completely up to you.
Ingredients and substitutions
Dairy-free: To make this recipe dairy-free, you'll need to replace the butter in both the bread batter and the swirl, and the buttermilk in the bread batter. I recommend replacing the butter with virgin coconut oil (triple-filtered coconut oil has no coconut odor or taste).
My favorite nondairy buttermilk replacement is similar to my favorite dairy-containing buttermilk replacement. Simply replace the 2/3 cup buttermilk with 1/3 cup nondairy milk and 1/3 cup plain nondairy yogurt.
I haven't tried these substitutions, but I have made them in similar recipes and feel reasonably confident that they will work well.
Egg-free: Since there are only two eggs in this recipe, you may be able to replace them each with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). If you prefer a “flax egg,” you should even be able to use that in this recipe without suffering a typical unpleasant flax taste since the other ingredients and spices in this bread are so flavorful.
Corn-free: In place of cornstarch, you can use potato starch or arrowroot.
Pumpkin butter: I often prefer baking with pumpkin butter to baking with plain canned pumpkin. It has a much more concentrated flavor and less liquid than plain canned pumpkin.
I always used to make my own homemade pumpkin butter, since I rarely saw prepared pumpkin butter for sale. These days, I see prepared pumpkin butter on many grocery store shelves, including my local (beloved) Trader Joe's.
If you need to make your own pumpkin butter, just be sure to plan ahead. You'll need to make the pumpkin butter, and allow it to cool to room temperature before baking with it. Make a big batch, though, as you'll want to bake with it all season, and it's delicious eaten on toast.
Pumpkin pie spice: To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine the following ingredients in this ratio (simply multiply or divide all ingredients equally to make more or less):
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Gluten Free Pumpkin Swirl Bread
For the pumpkin bread
2 cups (280 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
2/3 cup (5 1/3 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature
5 ounces pumpkin butter (store-bought or homemade), at room temperature
For the swirl
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (73 g) packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan, line it with a sheet of parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang two sides. Set the pan aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, eggs, buttermilk, and pumpkin butter, and mix to combine. The batter will be very thick. Set it aside briefly. To make the swirl, place the melted butter in a small bowl. Add the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice, and mix to combine well.
Transfer half of the pumpkin bread batter to the prepared loaf pan and spread it into an even layer. Top with half of the swirl mixture, and spread that into an even layer. Follow with the remaining pumpkin bread batter, spread into an even layer, and then the remaining swirl mixture, spread into an even layer. With a butter knife or offset spatula held perpendicular to the bottom of the loaf pan, swirl the batter from one short side of the pan tot he other, back and forth in a looping pattern (watch the video for a visual of this motion). Smooth the top of the swirled batter into an even layer.
Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue baking until the bread is firm when pressed gently in the center, at least another 20 minutes. If the bread still isn’t firm in the center, lower the heat to 300°F and continue baking for up to another 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing thickly and serving. Leftovers can be wrapped very tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days in a cool kitchen, or frozen for longer storage.