Pumpkin bread thrives on substitutions


Making Ripples

Even though I’ve been an alternative baker for half a decade, it’s a rare gem of a recipe that can handle the kinds of substitutions required by my family. This pumpkin bread recipe by RhiansRecipes.com is capable of adapting in so many ways, and comes out fluffy, moist and delicious even if you make it vegan and gluten-free! In fact, it’s more of a formula than a recipe, which is why I’m sharing it with you.

Not vegan? Use animal products. Allergic to nuts? Use chocolate chips if you want. Can’t handle refined sugar? Maple syrup is divine. This recipe can handle it all. The only thing I can’t recommend doing is baking it inside a sun oven (solar cooker) unless you’re comfortable baking multiple batches on different sunny days and possibly having a sub-optimal texture. Baking with the sun is challenging due to humidity and clouds passing overhead. Other than that, feel free to experiment with the ingredients!

My own substitutions to Rhian Williams’ recipe are shared below, with alternatives suggested each step of the way. I found it turned out well even though I was recklessly throwing in leftover things found in my refrigerator, and it got rave reviews from all five samplers!


1/4 cup coconut oil (substitute olive or vegetable oil, butter or vegan spread, just be aware that various oils will change the flavor and vegan spread can affect the baking process)

2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used a 50/50 ratio of unsweetened dairy yogurt mixed with unsweetened chocolate almond milk because they happened to be open already and needed to be used up)

1 cup pumpkin purée (sweet potato purée works too!)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (substitute lemon juice, fresh or bottled).

8 tablespoons maple syrup (or agave nectar, or regular sugar if that’s not an issue for you)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

1 1/4 cup flour blend (I used 1 cup brown rice and ¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 ratio baking mix, but you could use any kind of flour you want)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves)

½ teaspoon ginger (I used part of a liquid ginger shot)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I used a toaster oven with mini loaf pans, and the loaves turned out great! If necessary, melt the oil or butter. Combine all wet ingredients and any ground nuts you want to use, such as almonds or walnuts. Then sift in the dry ingredients. Mix well; batter should hold together but be runny. You can add more milk of choice if it looks too dry. Grease your loaf pans and pour (or plop) the mixture inside.

Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for a few minutes, then flip loaves upside down to prevent the bottom of the bread from becoming too dense. After a few more minutes, flip rightside up and allow to cool completely before slicing. If you can’t wait to slice them, they’ll be crumbly and not hold together. The loaves keep well in the cupboard for a few days, or covered in the fridge. Williams suggested reheating slices of bread in the toaster, but that is one thing I haven’t tried!

Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at www.RipplesBlog.org.

Categories: Making Ripples