Carole Yu

Drunken Pumpkin Bread

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Alternate pumpkin bread
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Your family will absolutely love this pumpkin bread

This Drunken Pumpkin Bread hides a little secret; an almost negligible splash of Cointreau. Or, if you love the orange scent and flavor, but don’t have any Cointreau around,  you can substitute Grand Marnier, your choice!

Your family will be none the wiser if you don’t let on.  They’ll just wonder how you got your pumpkin bread so soft and moist.  (Hint: It’s the liquor that gives the pumpkin bread it’s consistency!) And, their mouths will be too happy with all the textures from the toasted nuts, and different dried fruits.

So, not a Cointreau fan? You can also use other liquors!  How about trying Cognac, Brandy, Rum, or Bourbon?  But to tell the truth,  Cointreau is still my favorite.

This pumpkin bread is excellent for a healthy and filling breakfast for your kids before they head off to school, or their weekend sports games.  And, once they are off to their activities, you can enjoy your own taste of this bread with your relaxing cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy . Will this bite have the crunch of nuts, and the chewiness of the dried cranberries? Or, will the next bite be the softness of the pumpkin bread, combined with the crisp edge of the slice?

How to line baking tins and prep

Use one of two methods to line the loaf pans so the pumpkin bread batter doesn’t stick to the pans.

Method One:

Butter the pans and then dust with flour. I like to use the paper that the butter sticks come in.  This keeps your hands from getting too greasy, and uses up the butter that is left over on the paper.  Then, put a few tablespoons of flour into the pan, and then rotate the pan, shaking and tapping the flour around the pan. When all the butter on the pan is covered with flour, tap out the remaining flour into the trash. 

Method Two:

Spray the inside of the load pans with non-stick spray. I use the olive oil spray that I get at Trader Joes.  However, you can use any other spray like Pam.

Cut a piece of parchment paper using the inside length of the pan as the width of the paper.  Press it into the loaf pan, sticking to the non-stick spray.   Then, cut the opposite edges of the parchment so that the paper sticks out over the long edges of the pan.  (See the video at 0:44 for example)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sifting in Recipes

There are two ways to indicate if you should sift flour before or after you measure it out.

When a recipe tells you 3 1/2 cups sifted flour, as our recipe does here. First, sift the flour, and then measure out 3 and a half cups of the flour.

If the recipe says 3 1/2 cups flour, sifted, then, you measure out the 3 and a half cups of flour.  And, then you sift the flour.  This will give you a larger amount of measured flour, because there is now aeration in the flour, and it will take up more space when measured.

Drunken Pumpkin Bread method

This recipe is very straightforward. First, sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.  Then, make a well in the dry ingredients and mix in the melted butter, eggs, liquor and pumpkin.  Next, stir until there are no streaks of flour left.

 Finally, pour in the mix-ins; the toasted nuts, and dried fruit of your choice.  I like to use orange flavored cranberries, because they help to heighten the orange aroma and flavor of the Cointreau. But, if I’m feeling a little extra, I love using dried cherries, because they are plump and juicy, and give another nice,  chewy mouth feel to each slice of pumpkin bread!

Split the batter into the two loaf pans, and then, bake for 60-75 minutes.  After 60 minutes, test the middle of each loaf with a toothpick, skewer, or cake tester.  If the batter is still wet and clings to the tester, bake for another 5-8 minutes.  Then, repeat testing, and baking for another 5-8 minutes until the testers come out clean.


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Drunken Pumpkin Bread

This is the most moist and delicious pumpkin bread filled with tasty treats and textures.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast bread, Brunch, cointreau, drunken pumpkin bread, pumpkin, pumpkin bread, side dish, snack bread
Servings: 16 pieces
Author: Carole Yu


  • non-stick spray
  • cups sifted flour sift first and then measure
  • tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar can add up to 2½ cup if you like more sweetness
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter cooled to room temperature
  • 4 large eggs room temperature, lightly beaten
  • cup Cointreau can use cognac or bourbon whisky as you like
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree from a can or homemade
  • 2 cups walnuts or pecans toasted lightly and chopped
  • 2 cups raisins, orange flavored cranberries or other diced dried fruits apricots, cranberries, or dates


  • Butter and flour two loaf pans, OR cut parchment to fit.
    I measure the inside length of the loaf pan, and measure the parchment to fit the length, with the sides overlapping the edges of the pan. See the video for example at 0:44.
    Spray the inside of the loaf pans with non-stick spray and then insert the parchment paper, pressing against the sides of the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. This includes the pre-sifted flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and sugar.
  • Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
    Stir in the butter, eggs, liquor, and pumpkin until no streaks of flour are left.
  • Stir in the nuts and raisins or your choice of other dry fruits.
  • Bake for 60-75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center is clean, and has no uncooked batter clinging to it.


Makes two 9-in loaves.
This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz' recipe for persimmon bread.  His original recipe indicates bourbon, cognac, or brandy as the liquor.  However, I like the orange aroma, and sweet taste of Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
By pre-sifting the flour, and then sifting it together with the other dry ingredients, the pumpkin bread will be lighter and less dense than without the sifting. I promise you, it will be even more scrumptious! 
I love to use orange flavored cranberries available at most grocery stores, and split the amount with raisins.  The orange from the cranberries mimics the orange flavor and aroma of the Cointreau, or Grand Marnier.

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