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The Best Pumpkin Coffee Cake

It's a simple recipe, brimming with fall flavors, topped with a cinnamon streusel, and a powdered sugar icing that is just perfect. It keeps well and freezes wonderfully.

 

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

Units

For the streusel:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh, see note)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • OR use 3 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix instead of the cinnamon, ginger and allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose or cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk

Instructions

For the streusel:

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Add butter and work with your fingers or pastry cutter until you have a crumbly, clumpy mixture. Don’t let the butter start to melt.
  3. Refrigerate while preparing the cake batter.

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.
  2. Grease or spray well a 7x11-inch cake pan (or 9-inch square or round pan) and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Beat butter in a large bowl and gradually add sugar. Beat for 3 minutes, until creamy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Add pumpkin, spices, and vanilla and mix just until combined.
  6. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over this batter (you can do it directly or sift them in a different bowl before adding) in 2 parts, alternating with the sour cream. This means that you add half the dry ingredients, the total amount of sour cream, and the rest of the dry ingredients.
  7. Mix lightly with the beater each time to incorporate, and at the end with a spatula only until combined and no dry spots remain, especially in the bottom. Don't overbeat at this point to ensure a light crumb. 
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.
  9. Add the cold streusel over it.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out dry. The top will be dark because of the cinnamon and brown sugar, but it's not burning. You can cover the cake for the last 5-10 minutes with a piece of foil to prevent it from turning very dark.
  11. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and carefully run a smooth blade knife around the edges. 
  12. Lift the paper carefully and transfer the cake to the wire rack to cool completely then peel off the paper very carefully.
  13. Drizzle with the icing, let dry out a little, cut into squares and enjoy!

For the icing:

  1. Mix both ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
  2. Adjust liquid to get the desired consistency (more for a more runny icing, less for a thicker). 

Notes

  • Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
  • Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes are as accurate as I they can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 
  • Sugar: brown sugar is the first choice, but you can use white granulated sugar (it doesn't add as much moisture to the cake) or even muscovado (it doesn't sweeten as much) if that's all you have.
  • Yogurt: if needed, you can substitute Greek yogurt (the thick, tangy one) for the sour cream.
  • Pan sizes: I used to make it as a tube cake (similar to a bundt cake) with two layers of batter and two of streusel. It was way more laborious, but this recipe is enough for 1 tube cake. It's a very nice idea if you plan to serve it at a brunch table. You can also make a 9-inch round or square cake.
  • Make ahead: you can freeze the cake, well wrapped for a month. I recommend icing it after you thaw it so it stays fresh. But you can freeze iced leftovers. Defrost at room temperature.
  • Variation: this cake can be easily made with sweet potatoes or yams instead of pumpkin. Delicious alternative!
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/10
  • Calories: 421
  • Sugar: 41.9 g
  • Sodium: 226 mg
  • Fat: 17.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 64.5 g
  • Protein: 4.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 79.6 mg

Keywords: pumpkin cake, pumpkin coffee cak