Harvest Loaf Cake

A few days ago in the Holiday Meme, I mentioned that Harvest Loaf Cake was one of our favorite holiday desserts. I had originally gotten the recipe from a friend when I had it at her house. She and I both moved away and lost touch, and, even though I have given this recipe out to individuals, I felt a little funny putting it out there in cyberspace: I didn’t want to be giving away some cherished family recipe to the whole world. Plus I was the only person I knew who made it, so there was a little bit of wanting to keep this as one of my signature dishes. Then my friend DeAnna mentioned searching the Internet for the recipe. I had never thought of that, so I searched, and, lo and behold, I found several copies of it with a few slight variations. So, since it is already “out there,” I decided to post the recipe I have:

Harvest Loaf Cake


1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. pumpkin, canned or cooked
3/4 c. chocolate chips
3/4 c. nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cream butter or margarine in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add sugar. Cream at high speed with mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. At low speed or by hand add and mix in dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin; begin and end with dry ingredients, blending well after each addition. Add chocolate chips and 1/2 c. nuts. Pour into pan and sprinkle with 1/4 c. nuts. Bake 65 to 75 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Drizzle with glaze. Let stand six hours before slicing. (Recipe will also make three small loaves; bake 50-55 minutes.)


1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 to 2 tbsp. milk

I use canned Libby’s pumpkin for this, and one can will be enough for two batches, so I always make two at one time (or six small loaves). (There is always a dollop of pumpkin left that I never know what to do with. I used to save it until it became green and fuzzy: now I toss it. Any ideas for an extra 1/4 – 1/3 c. of pumpkin?) This recipe also freezes extremely well. (By the way, we have never let it stand six hours before slicing. πŸ˜€ )

I have to admit I am not the best of cooks: I alluded to baking disasters in an earlier post. Even though I follow the directions exactly, oftentimes my end result is not what the finished product is supposed to look like. But this comes out perfectly every time (a credit to whoever invented this recipe in the first place). Here is one of the small loaves from a batch I made last night:

Harvest Loaf cake

Harvest Loaf cake

Even though the name sounds more like an autumn recipe, we like to use it for the holidays. I don’t make it at Christmas because we have all those pies then, but usually some time in early December I make some for us and some for gifts.

And Sheri, if you ever read this, thank you for this recipe! It has become a treasured family favorite and a favorite to give as well.

(Sharing with Hearth and Soul)

27 thoughts on “Harvest Loaf Cake

  1. Thanks for sharing this! It does look wonderful and I am going to try it as well. Thanks for submitting it to my “Cookies Desserts & Traditions” carnival! πŸ™‚ It will be posted on Monday 12/18

  2. Thank you so much. I found this recipe years ago in a magazine and it instantly became a holiday must for my kids (who are now grown with children of their own.) Unhappily, I lost the original recipe 5 or 6 years ago and have had no luck replicating it or finding it. At Last! We will have the real deal this year.

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  11. I will have to try this, we love pumpkin at our house. There has been a shortage here in MI since last fall but I started seeing canned pumpkin back in the stores last week. I am doing a little hoarding. πŸ™‚

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