Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Candied Ginger and Dark Chocolate

Every year around this time, the Pumpkin Bread with Candied Ginger recipe starts racking up hits on my blog. This is an update on that post from five years ago where the end result was two large loaves. I still consider it a perfect autumn recipe that produces a moist, sweet/savory pumpkin bread sure to impress, but I went the extra mile with a few tweaks.

This update makes five mini-loaves which can be gifted, or simply eaten amongst your family/house guests. The photos reflect my experiment in baking mini-loaves versus the larger size so you will see both in the pictures. If you decide to make one larger loaf in a 8/12″ x 4 1/2″ pan (shown below), plus three mini-loaves, keep in mind that you’ll have to cook the larger pan an additional 20-30 minutes to thoroughly bake.


A quick-to-assemble topping adds texture and keeps the loaves from getting soggy the next day. For the interior, crystallized ginger can be a bear to finely chop, so I use a spice grinder. In doing so, much of the ginger will become almost a powder, which is OK because the spice gets distributed throughout the batter.

As you stir the chocolate chips into the batter, some of them will start to melt lending an attractive swirl effect, while most of them will remain intact for those decadent bites. Don’t pat yourself on the back thinking these are “healthy” because of the pumpkin purée. With all of the sugars, cream cheese and nuts, they are definitely not lo-cal, so eat in moderation (if you can).

One other switch-a-roo I made this time around was substituting pecans for the walnuts—because as we know, The Mr. cannot abide the latter. If you prefer walnuts, go ahead and use them. 


Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Candied Ginger and Dark Chocolate

  • Servings: 5 mini-loaves
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print



  • 5 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 oz. dark chocolate chips


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate chips
  1. FOR THE TOPPING: Using fingers, mix all ingredients (except the dark chocolate chips) together in a small bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside while preparing bread.
  2. FOR THE BREAD: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease five, 5 1/2″ by 3″ mini-loaf pans. (If you have less than five pans, you will have to bake the loaves in separate batches.)
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
  4. Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1½ cups, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.
  6. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine.
  7. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK, although not nearly as many as shown below).
  8. Fold pecans, chocolate chips and crystallized ginger into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pans.
  9. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Sprinkle remaining 2 ounces of chips evenly over the five loaves.
  10. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Check at 35 minutes. (The larger loaves take anywhere from 60-70 minutes.)
  11. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 1 hour. (1 1/2 hours for the larger loaf.) Serve warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated making 2 large loaves without the chocolate.

3 thoughts on “Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Candied Ginger and Dark Chocolate

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