Dark Chocolate-Espresso Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

So, last time I promised you a part 2 to the pumpkin bread, and here it is. Finally.

Dark Chocolate-Espresso Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce.  That’s a mouthful! I don’t think I could have possibly squeezed one more of my favourite things in there if I tried. But it works, and it works well. I never miss an opportunity to add salted caramel.

I’m not sure how this happened, but I have never made or eaten bread pudding before. To be honest, it never seemed like the most appealing thing. Boy, was I wrong.

Bread pudding; it’s all kinds of wonderful. When I made the pumpkin bread, I told you it was amazing. And it is. But seriously folks, soak it in eggs, milk, cream, pumpkin, sugar, all kinds of wonderful spices, bake it, and you have one heck of a dessert. But wait, then you douse it with salted caramel, and it becomes a serious winner. (The salted caramel is optional, but not really.). I have no idea what took me so long to make this, but this is not the last you have seen of bread pudding. Promise.

After a few bites, I decided that this could totally replace pumpkin pie for me at Thanksgiving. I mean, how nice would it be to change things up and serve this? Go for it!

Dark Chocolate-Espresso Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: one 9-by-13-inch pudding, or 8 to 16 ramekins.

A perfectly decadent bread pudding using dark chocolate-espresso pumpkin bread.


    For the Pumpkin Custard
  • 2 large eggs, plus 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 cups half-and-half, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups pure pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • generous pinch fleur de sel


    Toast the Bread
  1. Once you have baked and cooled your bread. You have to toast it.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
  3. Slice the loaf into 1-inch slices, and then each slice into 1-inch cubes. It should yield about 7 cups of cubes. Gently spread the cubes onto the baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes. Halfway through baking remove the tray from the oven and gently flip over all the cubes using a fork or spatula, then return to the oven to finish toasting.
  4. Once finished toasting, cool the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. For the Pumpkin Custard
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and brown sugar until combined. Add in the half-and-half, pumpkin puree, 5 tablespoons of the melted butter and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the espresso powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla extract.
  7. Gently stir in about 6 cups of the toasted bread cubes until all the cubes are coated with the custard.
  8. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes, gently mixing about every 10 minutes.
  9. Assemble the bread pudding
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9x13 inch dish (preferably glass), or ramekins. The ones used in the photo were about 8 oz, and you would probably need about 8.
  11. Toss the remaining 1 cup of bread cubes with the remaining melted butter.
  12. Pour the custard into the prepared dish or divide evenly amongst the ramekins. It will appear that you have too much liquid, but use it all. Scatter the buttered cubes over the custard. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for about 25 minutes or so, but serve warm.
  13. For the Salted Caramel
  14. Place the sugar in an even layer in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium heat. When the sugar starts to melt, use a heat proof spatula to push it towards the centre of the pot, then gently even the layer back out. Keep doing this until the sugar is all melted. Let the sugar come to a boil and remove from the heat when it becomes a dark amber colour.
  15. Whisk in the butter, then the heavy cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble vigourously. If there are any bits of sugar, return the pot to the stove over low heat and mix until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
  16. The caramel will thicken as it cools. This will make more caramel than you need, but just store it in the fridge in an airtight container. You can use it on everything: pancakes, ice cream, waffles, in coffee, etc. Trust me, it won't go to waste.
  17. Serving
  18. Serve the pudding warm, drizzled with salted caramel. And if your feeling a little crazy :), top it with some lightly sweetened freshly whipped cream.
  19. Note: The pudding is best served fresh from the oven, however you can reheat refrigerated leftovers in a 225 degree oven until warm, or the microwave, which is what I did. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, well wrapped.
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Jessica’s Notes:

  • Although this recipe seems fairly involved, all the components are quite easy. The pumpkin bread, and the caramel can be made ahead of time which will make assembly easy. I froze my bread, then brought back to room temperature to toast. The caramel can be made, refrigerated, then warmed slightly in the microwave before serving.
  • The caramel recipe will make more than you need, but just save it in airtight container and use it for other things.
  • I used only half the bread, and halved the custard recipe and it worked out perfectly.



Adapted from Baked Elements.

Disclosure: This post contains an amazon affiliate link.

  • Leslie

    I think I just found my Christmas dessert!

  • Cheryl

    I would like to make this for a dinner party. Normally you cook bread pudding in a hot water bath to evenly cook the custard…Just checking to make sure this is not the case for you recipe.. Looks fantastic! I am very excited to make it!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Cheryl, sorry for the late response. This bread pudding is cooked without a water bath. To be honest, most recipes I’ve seen are without one but now you have me intrigued. :) I hope you enjoy and thank you for the comment!

  • Lauren_44

    I want to make this using an actual pumpkin, how would I change the recipe to make that work? Thank you!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Lauren, you want to use a real pumpkin for the purée portion of the bread? If so, there should be a link to homemade pumpkin purée on the bread recipe or you can search my site for homemade pumpkin purée. Hope that answers your question, and if not let me know. :)
      Sent from my iPad

  • Beth Whisnant Thomerson

    This looks like a great dessert to take to a relative’s 90th birthday party; I’d like to try to make this in a big 11 x 13 pan – thoughts on whether I could just use whole portions of the ingredients and that it’d work? I’d appreciate your help in adapting it to serve a crowd. It looks amazing.

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Beth. I would likely just make a double batch of the pumpkin bread and use about 1 1/2 loaves for the bread pudding and make a 1.5 batch of the custard. So 3 large whole eggs, 6 yolks etc. the recipe will work fine that way. You should be fine with the caramel recipe as is because it makes quite a bit. Hope that helps. Let me know if you need anything further. Hope you enjoy! :)

      • Beth Whisnant Thomerson

        Thank you so much! I really appreciate the quick reply. :)

        • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

          You are very welcome!

  • Mandy

    That sounds delicious! But where’s the dark chocolate?

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Mandy. The dark chocolate is in the pumpkin bread itself. There is a link to the pumpkin bread in the recipe. :)

  • Michael Trofern

    I am shocked that women will spend hours baking something that will take only minutes to eat. They spend hours coming up with these yummy recipes that full of butter and sugar. No wonder Americans are rolling balls of fat and dies of cancer, heart disease, diabies, etc, at rates 10x that of Mexicans and most other people in the world.

  • Soso

    911 none of the links to step one works and i’ve been wanting to make this since yesterday when the site was under construction. please link it!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com Jessica

      Hi Soso,

      Sorry about that- everything should be working now! Thanks for your patience.

  • Susan S. Bradley

    Sooo beautiful! I want to reach in and grab one of those. :-)

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks


  • Mclovin0132

    What size ramekins do you feel would work perfect for serving guests? 7oz? Or 5 oz?

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      It really depends on how many people you need to serve. I would probably do a 7oz, but you could always bake it in a 9×13 inch pan and let people take what they want :) Hope that helps!

  • Becki

    I’d love to make this for Thanksgiving. Do you think leaving the cinnamon out would change the dynamics too much? Several of my family members are allergic.

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Becki,

      Shouldn’t be a problem! I’m sure it will taste great either way!

  • Austin Ferrari

    looks sooo good!

  • Lisa

    Where’s the chocolate at in the recipe? Am I missing it?

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      It’s in the pumpkin bread portion of the recipe. There is a link to the post with the recipe (at the top of the recipe)

  • Karen | Citrus and Candy

    I’m absolutely swooning; swooning so hard I’m about to faint. Look at that caramel! Oh how it glistens!

  • Lora @cakeduchess

    I normally don’t go gaga for bread pudding. This would change me and I want a bowl as soon as possible-love this:)

  • http://twitter.com/RoxanaGreenGirl Roxana GreenGirl

    I love my Baked cookbooks and i have to tell you a little secret, I had only one bread pudding and wasn’t that impress but yours look so good I might have to rethink the whole bread pudding thing. After all, just like you said, it’s fun to change things once in a while

  • Vespa Woolf

    Bread pudding doesn’t normally grab my attention, but your photos have my mouth watering! With all these delicious autumn spices and salted caramel sauce this one is bound to be a winner. I’ve marked it to try soon. Thanks!

  • jules

    absolutely over the top delicious

  • Jean

    This has got to be the prettiest and most appetizing bread pudding I’ve seen in a long time. I love all the individual components on their own but together, this must be amazing!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much, Jean!

  • http://twitter.com/YouMadeThatblog Suzanne Platt

    Wow the photo of those mugs full of bread pudding just looks so delectable! Wanting to reach right in for a taste!

  • Lisa

    This dessert is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I just wish I had a bowl right now. I host a lunch for my direct reports each year in January and I think I have now found my dessert to serve. Thank you!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.darroch.9 Angela Darroch

    That sure gets me drooling. Stunning!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com Jessica

      Thank you, Angela!

  • http://tartineandapronstrings.com/ Jen Laceda

    I’m not typically a bread pudding gal, but yours might be the most appetizing one I’ve seen in a long time! This is restaurant-quality – a definite winner!

  • http://www.theardentepicure.com/ Magic of Spice

    That looks amazing and I bet it tasts even better…wow!

  • http://twitter.com/Dinnersdishes Dinnersdishesdessert

    Holy cow – this is so decadent and amazing!

  • http://twitter.com/BakerByNature Ashley

    holy pumpkin! this looks incredible! happy to have “found” you and your delightful blog!!!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thank you so much, Ashley!

  • http://damndelicious.tumblr.com/ Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Oh my goodness, I think I’ve died and gone to pumpkin caramel heaven!

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne (eats well with others)

    I definitely just fell in love. Hard. My boyfriend should probably be concerned.

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com Jessica

      Lol. I’m sure if you share, he won’t mind.

  • Patty

    Congratulations on your bread pudding- this is a stunning dessert!

  • http://www.unegaminedanslacuisine.com/ Valerie

    I would devour every last drop of this bread pudding (I’m not above licking the caramel sauce off the cup either!). 😀 Love!!

  • Sarvani @ baker-in-disguise

    oh my gosh!! part 1 was brilliant.. but part 2 is simply incredible… gorgeous!! and that salted caramel sauce.. insane!!!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much, Sarvani! Have a great day!!

  • http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/ Erin@theLawStudentsWife

    AHHH, part II of this looks INCREDIBLE!!!! I adore bread pudding (and sometimes serve it at bfast, masquerading as “French toast bake” lol). I plan to make this bread for my fam at Thanksgiving. I definitely need to double the batch so that we can enjoy part II as well.

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Lol! I love the way you think Erin! Hope you enjoy!

  • http://www.keepitsweetdesserts.com/ Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    I almost never make or eat bread pudding but wow, this looks so worth it!

  • little kitchie

    oh wow! this is truly everything delicious all in one dessert! love, love, love!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much!

  • http://twitter.com/Tutti_Dolci Tutti Dolci

    This is one stunning dessert! I love that you used your pumpkin bread in the bread pudding and I think I could eat the caramel sauce by the spoonful!