Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel

Pumpkin season is here again for the year, and I'm loving it! Fall baking is my absolute favorite, especially fall baking with pumpkin. I really do love all things pumpkin, as long as they're not over spiced. It's a pet peeve of mine when people tell me they don't like pumpkin, because it is so too spicy for them. I like to tell them that pumpkin actually has no spices, it's just a squash, they just don't like what is often put with the pumpkin. I think it's very hard to dislike pumpkin on it's own, it doesn't have much flavor, especially when baked into something sweet and buttery and delicious. Something like this absolutely fantastic coffee cake. Trust me, this one is a keeper.

A moist, delicate pumpkin cake topped with a hearty amount of brown sugar and pecan streusel, and finished with a simple icing. This is one of the best new things I've baked recently, I just loved it, and will probably make it again before the fall is over!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel
From Williams Sonoma
For the streusel:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (see note below)

For the batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides.

To make the streusel, in a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss in the butter and, using 2 table knives or a pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Alternatively, whir the ingredients in a food processor. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.

To make the batter, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and mix with the spatula. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick.

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the streusel and spread the thick batter as best you can. Top with the remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the sides from the pan and slide the cake onto the rack.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Cut into thick wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch coffee cake

Baker’s note: To toast pecans, preheat an oven to 325°F. Spread the nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

Spicy Party Mix

If you know me at all then you know that I love munchies and finger food. I know I'm fighting a losing battle when confronted with a bowl of anything that just pops into my mouth too easily. This mix does just that. A bowl full of pretzels, nuts and chex covered with a sweet and spicy glaze. A little bit of heat, a little bit of sweet, and a whole lot of crunch creates a beautiful fusion of flavors and textures.

I think this is the perfect mix for the cool weather; the flavors are warm and comforting. Pull it out at Thanksgiving or Christmas and watch it disappear. If you're looking for something a little different to serve before or after dinner to satisfy your munching cravings, this is the mix for you. I found this recipe in the book The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, an excellent book for anyone interested in food and Paris. The only thing I changed this time around was adding some Chex. He originally calls for two cups each of nuts and pretzels, but I love the airiness and crunch of Chex, so I decided to add some in, and I think it was a good addition. So go ahead, throw this mix together and be amazed. In the book, David Lebovitz writes, "it makes an excellent nibble." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Sweet and spicy and irresistible

You need some maple syrup, 

make sure it's the real stuff

Pour it into a bowl to start

Start adding some delicious flavors,

first up, cinnamon

A little bit of cocoa powder

And the chili powder

A little brown sugar and some butter

round out the yummy glaze

Grab your nut mixture, 

I chose almonds, cashews and peanuts

Mix it all up with the chex and pretzels and bake

Ready to party!

Spicy Party Mix
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

  • 1 1/3 cups (275 grams) raw nuts - any combination of pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashews and hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (100 grams) small pretzel twists
  • 1 1/3 cups corn Chex cereal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, chili powder, maple syrup and cocoa. 

Stir the warm nuts into the spice mixture to coat them completely, then sprinkle on the salt. 

Mix in the pretzels and Chex, then spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the nuts are well glazed and browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cool, break up the clusters and serve.

(If you would rather leave out the chex and follow the original recipe, increase the nuts and pretzels to 2 cups each and omit the chex.)