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Flourless pumpkin bread that avoids the pitfalls of gluten-free baking

  • Author: Kim Sunée
    | Alaska cooking
  • Updated: November 12, 2020
  • Published November 12, 2020

Maple almond pumpkin bread (Photo by Kim Sunée)

This recipe is all about trying to make a flourless pumpkin bread that’s neither too dense nor too sweet but has the added moisture and flavor from ground almond flour, which also happens to be gluten-free.

Often with gluten-free baking options I find that results are mixed; the center often remains slightly undercooked, so I decided to take on the challenge of finding the right ratio of pumpkin to almond flour. Because my pantry is stocked with lots of canned items these days, I used canned purée (not pie filling), but 'tis the season for fresh pumpkin and squash, which make for excellent homemade purée.

Admittedly, it’s annoying to open a can of something and only use part of it, so for my first attempt I used a full, 14-ounce can of pumpkin purée, which resulted in a heavy, wet center. Then I made a loaf with 6 to 8 ounces, and that seemed to be the best option. (You can save any unused pumpkin purée for pancakes, waffles, curries, dinner rolls, etc.)

The result is a tender, deeply-flavored bread that slices nicely once it’s cooled enough. To really lighten things up, another option is to separate the eggs; combine the yolks with the maple syrup and whip the whites into medium peaks before gently folding in at the end. Great as is, or you can finish it with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar or a light citrus glaze.

Maple almond pumpkin bread (Photo by Kim Sunée)

Maple almond pumpkin bread

Makes 1 (9-inch) loaf

2 cups almond flour/meal (220 grams)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

4 large eggs, lightly whisked

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

6 to 8 ounces / 3/4 cup packed pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling), canned or homemade

For the citrus glaze:

1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Grated zest of 1 orange or lemon

Juice of 1 orange or lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons, depending on size of fruit)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9- by 5-inch loaf pan; line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on either side of the pan to help with easy removal of bread after baking.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and pumpkin; mix until well-combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until no clumps remain, being careful not to overmix. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pan and using the parchment overhang on either side, carefully lift out loaf onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.

If making glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, zest and juice. If you want a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar. If too thick, thin out with more lemon juice or a little bit of milk. Drizzle over loaf as it’s cooling.