Black Walnut and Cranberry Pumpkin Bread w/ Cream Cheese Glaze

black walnut hulls

Pumpkin Bread with a twist

I realize I am jumping on the Pumpkin Bread bandwagon late. Pumpkin recipes have dominated Pinterest for over a month now. Now that the weather has finally cooled in our area, I can start thinking about all the wonderful baked goods I love to eat in the fall. Unfortunately, during this time of year my diet has to take a back seat until New Years.

This year I decided to add black walnuts to my famous (well, famous in my family) pumpkin bread recipe. I’ll admit I was not an immediate fan of black walnuts. Its flavor is almost unidentifiable. If you have ever tasted one, you know what I mean. Unlike its mild English brethren, black walnuts have a robust, earthy, coffee/maple syrup taste. Its flavor is complex. I find you either like it or not.

Although I do not prefer to eat them straight up, I do like to add them to breads, cakes and cookies. I think they particularly pair well with cranberries. Normally I add pecans to my pumpkin bread…I do live in the deep south (we love our pecans). This time I thought I’d honor my husband’s wild West Virginian roots and add some earthiness to bread.

Black Walnut and Cranberry Pumpkin Bread w/ Cream Cheese Glaze

How to harvest black walnuts

If you have a black walnut tree in your yard and want to harvest your own, I will warn you that it is not a task for the for the weak. You have to wait until the bright green walnuts fall to the ground naturally. Once you collect them, you need to let them ripen a yellowish green and the hulls will begin to recede. Then you can strip away the hulls and crack the nut to get the fruit. I suggest you wear gloves before you strip away the hulls unless you want your hands stained a deep rich brown. If you are into natural dyeing, save the hulls and boil them to create a dye bath. Black walnut hulls make a beautiful dark brown. Alternatively, you can buy black walnuts at the store 😉

Black Walnut and Cranberry Pumpkin Bread w/ Cream Cheese Glaze

Black Walnut and Cranberry Pumpkin Bread w/ Cream Cheese Glaze


  • 1-15oz can of Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup black walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries(craisins)
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • Cream Cheese Glaze
  • 1-8oz package of cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 5-6 tablespoons of milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans or a 6 cup bundt pan. * I used a 6 cup bundt pan plus one loaf pan
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.
  5. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries.
  6. Pour into the prepared pans.
  7. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour in the preheated oven.
  8. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. For the cream cheese glaze
  10. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sugar and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add milk; mix on low speed until smooth. If glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once the bread is cooled, drizzle the cream cheese on top. I like to put the glaze in a gallon zip lock bag and snip an opening at one end. This makes an inexpensive piping bag. I then drizzle/pipe the glaze onto the bread. Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee (it goes very well with the black walnut flavor). Happy eating!


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