Spiced pumpkin and date loaf.

Because sometimes you want pumpkin and spices but don’t feel like pie.


Recipe based on Joan’s Pumpkin Loaf by Made About Maida.

2 + 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups mashed pumpkin*

1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

(Dragonfruit is unrelated.)


  1. Preheat the oven to 175° C and butter a 2L square Pyrex baking dish or large loaf tin.
  2. If you’re starting from a whole pumpkin, peel, chop, steam and mash the pumpkin now.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  4. Chop the dates and walnuts and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with the paddle attachment, if you have one) or a large bowl with a hand mixer, lightly beat the eggs.
  6. Add the sugars and continue mixing til combined.
  7. Add the oil and ditto.
  8. Set aside the mixer and switch to a wooden spoon. Add the pumpkin and mix until combined.
  9. Stir in the dates and walnuts.
  10. Add the flour about one-third at a time, mixing with the wooden spoon until you have a smooth (well, smoothish) batter.
  11. Transfer to the baking dish or loaf tin and bake for 70–80 minutes, or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The pumpkin can make it very moist, so reduce the heat to about 150° C and cook for a little longer if it’s still a bit gluggy.
  12. Remove from the oven and leave in the dish/tin on a cooling rack until it’s about room temperature (to keep in the moisture) before turning it out to finish cooling en plein air.

This freezes even better than the banana bread. When completely cooled, cut into single portions, wrap in cling wrap, and freeze until needed/wanted. It’s soft enough to eat straight from the freezer (and the dates will be extra chewy).

(It’s also good when still warm from the oven, spread with soft, salted butter…)

*If you’re lucky enough to live in the US, go ahead and used canned pumpkin. If you’re in Australia (where we have to do things the hard way) peel, steam and mash a small butternut pumpkin. Use what you need for this recipe, and keep any leftover for pie, ice-cream, pudding, whoopie pies…

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