Dig Baton Rouge

Retro Recipe: Basic Pumpkin Spice Bread

Images: Ailsa von Dobeneck

This bread is as basic as its latte cousin – the only difference is this recipe is historic.

A favorite of the penny-pinching John Quincy Adams’ White House, this bread was on the dessert table during their weekly parties in the 1820s. He saved his party budget for the wine (I totally get it) and made the most of little left to create an inspired menu with local produce.

Basic or not, let’s embrace those fall flavors we all love to hate. After all, winter is coming.


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin, mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and beat well until well blended. Transfer batter into 2 well-oiled 5 x 9 – inch loaf pans. Bake 1 hour. Remove breads from pans and place on their sides on a wire rack to cool.

Adapted from Famous White House Recipes, Volume 1, American Collection Cookbooks

My Notes:

  • For the cooked pumpkin, do not use pumpkin pie filling as it is already spiced
  • Add a handful of chocolate chips to the batter for some extra magic.
  • For serving, try cinnamon brown sugar butter. Add equal parts brown sugar and cinnamon to softened butter (twice the amount of butter to the additions). Melt it over the bread when warm.




Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular