Pumpkin Coffee Cake

by Jess on November 27, 2013

in Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

We’re going big on the holidays this year.  We have family in town for Thanksgiving which makes even our Thai turkey-day feel so authentic and festive.  Frank broke one of his holiday rules and started playing Christmas music the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I’ve been putting pumpkin in everything and splurging on Christmas decorations that we have done without these past three holiday seasons in Bangkok.  We’re even going to bite the bullet and buy a big (although still fake) tree.  For the past couple years, we decorated a $15 Charlie Brown Christmas tree that we bought at Target the day before we the movers came to put our belongings on a boat to Thailand.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

So as not to miss out on a single minute of the festivities, I’m going to keep this short.  There’s still no denying that we live in the tropics, so we’re headed to the beach today through Saturday to celebrate with drinks by the pool and walks in the sand.  But before I go, I wanted to share this Thanksgiving twist on my favorite coffee cake.  On a whim, I substituted a simple, lightly sweetened pumpkin-inspired layer for the raspberries that usually go on top.  The resulting layers swirled together in a beautiful pumpkin-cinnamon work of art.  It was perfect for the season, and just the right balance to be a sweet breakfast or brunch or a welcome dessert.

However you are celebrating this year – I hope it’s a good one.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A twist on two classics - pumpkin pie meets coffee cake.
Recipe type: Breakfast, Dessert
Serves: 10
For the Crumb Topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
For the Cake:
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Filling:
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  1. To make the crumb topping, whisk flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in nuts. Add butter; using your fingertips, work butter into dry ingredients until large, moist crumbs begin to form. Refrigerate topping until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
  3. To make the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ¾ cup sugar and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, 3–4 minutes longer.
  5. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients to bowl in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Pour half of batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Whisk remaining 3 Tbsp. sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over batter in pan. Spoon remaining batter over; smooth top.
  6. To make the pumpkin filling, in a small bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the egg and egg yolk and whisk until evenly combined. Stir in the heavy cream. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth. Pour the pumpkin filling over the coffee cake and gently spread evenly over the top.
  7. Sprinkle crumb topping over pumpkin filling.
  8. Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
  9. Store in airtight container at room temperature. (This is a great make-ahead cake. I think it tastes even better the day after being baked.)
Adapted from Old-Fashioned Blueberry Coffee Cake by Eric Wolitzky, Bon Appetit September 2012.



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Claire @ Claire K Creations November 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Jess! Enjoy your little break. I think the fact that you’ve been so restrained for 3 years means that you have to go even more over the top this year especially having family around! Beautiful looking cake.
Claire @ Claire K Creations recently posted..Coconut and lime bundt cakeMy Profile


2 Erin @ The Emerging Foodie November 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Uh, yes please! This looks fantastic!! So glad you have family there… have the best day celebrating!
Erin @ The Emerging Foodie recently posted..Peanut Butter Brownie Batter PopcornMy Profile


3 Liz November 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Thank you, Jessie. Sounds wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving!


4 Monica December 1, 2013 at 10:01 am

Sounds like it must have been a great Thanksgiving (beach and all)! : ) Love the layers and the injection of pumpkin in your coffee cake. We’ve also put up our tree, started the holiday baking, and Christmas song-playing over here as well!
Monica recently posted..Orange-dark chocolate-vanilla bean scones (aka, my first scones)My Profile


5 Ashley December 1, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Happy happy Thanksgiving!! We’ve been decorating all weekend for Christmas which makes me so very happy! This coffee cake looks amazing – love that pumpkin layer!
Ashley recently posted..Turkey, Cranberry and Apple QuesadillasMy Profile


6 Debra December 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I am so making this. I just roasted one whole pumpkin yesterday and made two kinds of pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bars AND pumpkin soup. (Sending most of the treats to our work places.) I wish I had had this recipe yesterday….er, maybe not. I was about to OD on pumpkin. (But, I am pinning this for later use!)
Debra recently posted..Gifts for FoodiesMy Profile


7 Alexandra @ Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker December 9, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Wow Jess, this coffee cake sounds incredible! I love that thick layer of pumpkin filling in the middle, and the generous crumble topping. Recipes like this one make me think we should just do away with the whole “pumpkin only during the fall” rule!
Alexandra @ Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker recently posted..Confession #140: Honey Butter is my Guilty Pleasure… Honey and Beer CornbreadMy Profile


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