6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature, plus more for coating the pan
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)
Pumpkin purée makes for an aromatic, moist pumpkin bread, but it can also give the bread a soggy texture, so we use paper towels to blot away the moisture before baking. Gild the pumpkin-bread lily with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting.
1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter; set aside.
2Place the flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine and aerate; set aside.
3Spread the pumpkin purée into a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover with a triple layer of paper towels and press until the towels are saturated with moisture (don’t worry—they won’t stick to the purée). Peel back the paper towels and discard; set aside the baking sheet with the pumpkin.
4Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium high until light in color, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating on medium high until the mixture is light in color and large clumps have formed, about 3 minutes.
5On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the reserved pumpkin purée and vanilla and mix on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
6With the mixer on low, slowly add the reserved flour mixture in three additions and mix until just combined, about 2 minutes total.
7Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in any loose flour and the nuts, if using. (Do not overmix.) Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top.
8Bake until the bread is puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and let it cool completely on the wire rack, about 30 to 40 minutes.