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Iced Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Molasses

by on September 17, 2009 · 16 comments

Today’s treat was inspired by Austin Java Company in the Austin Bergstrom International Airport – the first place I stop after I go through security.

Austin Java’s coffee is pretty good, but the real reason I go there is because they have this cake I like to look at. It appears to be a pumpkin loaf with a big, drizzled matrix of white icing or possibly white chocolate. I’ve never actually bought a piece because I’m afraid it might look better than it tastes. Instead, I always tell myself I’ll make it at home. But then I forget about it, because I go away on a trip and come back thinking about other things besides pumpkin cake.

So yesterday, after finding a tempting pumpkin loaf recipe that called for molasses, butter and lots of spices, I decided it was finally time to make a loaf that looked like Austin Java’s. But because the recipe was for “mini loaves”, well, I did minis.

If you have some mini loaf pans, this one’s worth a try. It’s very moist so even though there’s less surface area, the loaves won’t be dry.
The original recipe called for 9 mini loaves (2 ½ by 3 ½ inches), but my mini loaf pans are somewhat bigger (3 by 5 and 3 by 6) so I used those and adjusted the temperature a bit.

iced pumpkin loaves

Iced Mini Pumpkin Loaves with Molasses
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Mini pumpkin loaves with molasses in the batter
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 9
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (150 grams)
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar (140 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup molasses (75 grams)
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (5 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (5 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (5 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (2 ml)
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (3 ml) – if using salted butter, use ¼ tsp
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 14 ounces canned pumpkin puree (solid pack, not pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
Lemon or Orange Icing
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (24 grams)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed
  • 4-6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini loaf pans with flour-added cooking spray or grease and flour. I used 4 loaf pans that were about 3 ½ by 5. You can make these smaller (see cook times at bottom)
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in molasses. Stir together flour, ginger, baking soda and baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and pepper; stir one-third into butter mixture. Stir in pumpkin. Stir in another third of the flour mixture; stir in buttermilk, then remaining flour mixture.
  3. Scrape batter into prepared pans and bake on center rack. If using 2 ½ x 3 ½ loaves, check at 30 minutes. For slightly larger loaves, check at 37 minutes. For one giant 9x6 inch loaf, test at 40 minutes
  4. A toothpick or chopstick (I use a chopstick) inserted should come out clean. Let cool. Turn from pans and let cool completely. Ice when cool.
  5. To make the icing, melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the sugar and stir to coat it with butter – it will be thick and pasty. Slowly add the lemon juice one tablespoon at a time, mixing well and adding more juice until you get the consistency you like. I mix it so that it flows off a spoon, then I let it stand for a bit so that it’s thickens up slightly. When the pumpkin loaves are completely cool, drizzle the icing on top or put it in a heavy duty zipper bag, snip off the corner, and drizzle it over in a lattice shape.

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Published on September 17, 2009

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise September 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Maybe the cake is even better than it looks. After all, they have it all the time. I think you should get some the next time you are there. It might be a nice treat to eat on the plane. :-)

VeggieGirl September 17, 2009 at 5:17 pm

What a unique source of inspiration – cool, haha :-D Looks delish!

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is September 18, 2009 at 9:02 am

Wow I just found your blog and this recipe looks yummy. I love making mini-loaves. I will give it a shot!

Emily September 18, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Yummm Anna. These look amazing!

Trish September 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm

This might be the right thing to make this weekend for the hubby and I….mini loaf and all. Looks terrific there!

Tiffany September 19, 2009 at 8:13 am

Oh yum! That glaze looks perfect.

Gloria September 20, 2009 at 9:41 am

I wish I would have used your lemon glaze with the honey cake I made the other day…I”m on this site all the time….what was I thinking???? The cake that usually is terrific sort of bombed (over baked while I was searching addicting food blog sites!!!) so I tried to cover it up with a glaze ….Oh well. Pumpkin makes me think Fall, but Fall has not come to Minnesota yet and by now the temp is usually in the high 60s. It’s been in the low 80s! I hear Fall is due here next week.. Now I must make breakfast out of Katy’s Favorite Blondies! Diet starts tomorrow….

Martha September 20, 2009 at 4:56 pm

I wanted to try this recipe before holiday baking time, so I made one standard loaf. I had no allspice & didn’t make the icing. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. The batter was very thick so it rose & cracked like a yeast loaf – not a bad thing, and took 55 min to bake. Like most quick breads it needed an overnight sit for the flavors to mellow. It was moist & had a gingerbready fragrance. Next time I’ll increase the spices – nutmeg & ginger.

Anna September 20, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Hi Martha,

Too bad about the crack, but thanks for giving the baking time for the full loaf.

The small loaves didn’t crack, so maybe it works better as small loaves. And if those crack, you can just cover them with icing.

Jani September 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Just curious – did you use orange or lemon icing with your pumpkin loaves??

Anna September 20, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Jani, I used lemon. I think orange would have been wonderful, but I didn’t have any oranges.

Tanis September 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

Did anyone see the really cute pumpkin cakes on the recent cover of Southern Living? I wonder if anyone has tried any of their recipes of bought the neat pumpkin mold.??

Mrsblocko September 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm

How did I miss this? Thanks for telling me about it on my blog. I’ll have to give it a try. Have you tried freezing the loaves? I’m wondering if it would be better to freeze them before they are frosted.

Gloria October 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Finally made cupcakes and used this icing. Best lemon icing I’ve made or tasted!! Haven’t tried the pumpkin loaves yet…

Katherine October 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm

This is delicious fall treat. I made it this morning with a few changes. I swapped the flour for white whole wheat. I used 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice instead of ginger, and omitted the black pepper. I baked it in a bundt pan. It took 45 mins. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and spice and it’s super moist and tender. I topped it a glaze of powder sugar and orange juice. I will be making this again over the Holidays!! Also, it’s great with a cup chai tea.

Anna October 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Hi Katherine,

Thanks for the review! I’m about to post yet another pumpkin recipe this afternoon.

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