A table and wooden chairs with plates of pumpkin load with white frosting
Photography, Erin Scott

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Fluffy vanilla cream cheese icing turns this pumpkin loaf into a truly decadent treat.

I love Fall flavours, and this recipe has all of those warm spices, plus crunchy nuts and my absolute-favourite cream cheese icing. This recipe is flexible as well. If walnuts aren’t your thing, substitute toasted pecans, chocolate chips, or chopped candied ginger instead. All would be wonderful additions to the pumpkin and spices. –Heather Hardcastle

A table and wooden chairs with plates of pumpkin load with white frosting

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Heather Hardcastle's recipe for gluten-free pumpkin walnut bread frosted with fluffy vanilla bean cream cheese icing.
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course bread, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine British, English, gluten-free
Servings 1 9-inch loaf


Cream Cheese Icing

  • 16 oz cream cheese softened (see note)
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

  • 7 tbsp butter softened
  • cup vegetable oil
  • cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 15 oz can (1½ cups) pure pumpkin purée
  • cups white rice flour
  • ½ sorghum flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg plus more for garnish
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp kosher
  • ¾ cup raw walnuts chopped


Cream Cheese Icing

  • After all the powdered sugar has been added and the icing is completely smooth and lump-free, add the vanilla paste and salt. Mix briefly to combine.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until fully mixed and no lumps remain, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix on low speed to start, increasing speed as the sugar is incorporated, for about 4 minutes total. Scrape the bowl after each addition.
  • Set the icing aside at room temperature until you’re ready to use it. You can make the icing well ahead and store it in the refrigerator but it does set up as it chills. You’ll need to soften it in the microwave and re-whip it before applying it to your cake. Otherwise, the icing will be hard and difficult to spread on a fresh cake without tearing it.

Pumpkin Walnut Loaf

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, vegetable oil and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add pumpkin purée and mix until smooth.
  • Add white rice flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and salt to the bowl and mix to combine. Stir in walnuts and mix on low speed until evenly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure all the butter and sugar is evenly combined.
  • Spray a loaf pan with baking spray. Using a spatula spread the batter evenly into the pan, pushing gently into the corners and levelling the top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is an earthy medium brown and springs back when pressed gently with your finger, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. The cake will appear darker when fully baked as the pumpkin and spices in the batter lend a naturally darker colour to the finished cake. Not to worry, it will be soft and moist on the inside.
  • Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a baking sheet or cooling rack to cool completely. This cake can be delicate when warm so make sure you allow it to fully cool before icing it. Cover the top with cream cheese icing and sprinkle with ground nutmeg to finish. Chill until firm enough to slice with a serrated knife, about 2 hours or overnight.


The key to a smooth cream cheese icing, free of pesky lumps, is starting with very soft cream cheese. You want it to be the same consistency as room temperature butter before you begin mixing it. Make sure you mix it thoroughly with the butter before adding the powdered sugar.

A cookbook cover with a peach galette in a light tan frame

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