Trying Out A New Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake

I am someone who is a big fan of seasonal flavors. I like eggnog in the winter, floral flavors in the spring, fresh watermelon and tomatoes in the summer, and of course, pumpkin spice and warm apple-y flavors in the fall. So this Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake by Handle the Heat seemed like the perfect thing to make. Plus, everything I’ve made from her has been banger, so I was excited to try this recipe.

Here is everything you need:

Ingredients laid out on a counter. There's Crisco vegetable oil, two brown eggs, Domino light brown sugar, Daisy sour cream, pecan pieces, granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder.

Athena ScalziJust kidding! My forgetful self completely left the butter and can of pumpkin puree out of the picture. Even though it’s PUMPKIN spice coffee cake. So, just pretend there’s a 3tbsp knob of butter in the photo and a big can of pumpkin puree, okay? Thanks.

For this recipe, I actually didn’t need to buy anything! I literally had everything on hand, which was surprising because I usually don’t have pecans, and sour cream is a pretty inconsistent item in my household, too. I had bought the pecans for a salad I made a while back, but it’s definitely the first time in a while I’ve had something like that on hand. As for the pumpkin puree, I specifically bought several cans as soon as I saw it come into stores so I could make seasonal stuff for the next couple weeks. This was my last can, though, so I’ll need to restock soon.

Moving on, the first thing I needed to do was make the streusel. All this required was melting the butter in a bowl and add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans to it. I just used a fork to mix it together and got this:

A glass bowl of the brown sugar and pecan streusel mixture.

Simple enough!

After that came the dry ingredients, which I just threw together in a bowl:

A white mixing bowl containing flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, brown sugar, and white sugar.

I actually found this recipe’s dry ingredients interesting, because it had me add the brown sugar and white sugar to the mixture. In most recipes, sugar gets added to the butter, eggs, vanilla, and other wet ingredients. It’s very rare for sugar to be included in the dry ingredients bowl, in my experience.

As for the wet ingredients, it was just the pumpkin puree, oil, sour cream, and eggs:

A white mixing bowl with a bright orange liquid-y mixture in it. There's also an off white rubber spatula sitting in the bowl with the mixture.

Another interesting thing about this recipe was that it had me add the wet ingredients to the dry. Usually it’s the other way around, but this one even had me make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients specifically to pour the wet ingredients into. I’m not sure it really matters which way you do it.

Anyways, it came together perfectly and I poured it into a parchment paper lined 8×8 metal pan:

A square baking pan containing the orange coffee cake mixture.

After pouring it all in at once, I realized I was supposed to have poured half in, then added half the streusel, and then add in the other half of the batter, followed by the rest of the streusel. Since I poured it all in at once, I just decided to put all of the streusel on top! Easy enough fix, I figured.

And wouldn’t you know it, it covered the top perfectly!

The orange coffee cake mixture now covered up by a generous layer of the pecan streusel.

I put it in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes. My house started to smell totally amazing, and finally I took this beauty out of the oven:

The fully baked pumpkin spice coffee cake, sitting on the stove.

Well, I guess you can’t really see what it looks like since it’s mostly just streusel.

While it was cooling, I made the maple glaze, which was literally just powdered sugar and maple syrup. I used Domino powdered sugar and Crown maple syrup, and whisked it together in a small bowl:

A small glass bowl with a light beige icing mixture in it. There's a small whisk sitting in the bowl with the glaze.

Definitely not that impressive looking, but once I put it on the freshly cut coffee cake, it looked damn good.

Three squares of the coffee cake with maple glaze drizzled on top, sitting on a black plate.

This coffee cake was literally fan-flipping-tastic. I really had to sit there and contemplate if this coffee cake was the single greatest thing I had ever made. And honestly, it might be. It was warm, perfectly spiced, wonderfully sweet, incredibly moist from the sour cream. This gets said a lot, and I mean a lot, but it tasted like fall.

Five squares of glazed coffee cake arranged in a single layer on a black plate. Behind them sits a cookie jar and a dark red crochet pumpkin.

I really cannot recommend this recipe enough, it was surprisingly easy, and the results are just amazing.

Both my parents tried the cake and said it was super good, and my friend I gave it to asked if I had bought it from an actual bakery.

This cake is an easy way to impress your friends, family, coworkers, even strangers will be blown away by this delicious coffee cake. I made another batch like two days later. I will probably make several more over the course of the next couple months. The recipe says I can just double it in a 13×9 and add like five minutes to the cook time, so I might try that next time.

Do you like pumpkin spice? Are you a fan of coffee cake? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!


25 Comments on “Trying Out A New Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake”

  1. That looks like “winner-winner chicken turkey dinner for Thanksgiving dessert!

  2. Looks yummy ans=d amazing! I love good pumpkiny things, although some of the ‘let’s add pumpkin to regular products’ ideas don’t work.

  3. Athena,

    I enjoy the food posts, and may try making this one.

    If you are not already aware of them,

    is a great source for fresh, high quality, fresh, inexpensive spices and other items. Online, and they have storefronts.

    Seriously, spices in supermarkets are often….not very good. And often not very fresh. And frequently overpriced.

    We’ve used them for years, and never been disappointed.

  4. It looks gorgeous, and yes, yes I do like all of the things in it so I’m not surprised it was a winner. Not sure if it beats the cheese bread, I’d have to do a side by side taste test.

  5. I don’t even like coffee cake, this recipe might change my mind. Another fantastic result!

  6. It looks delicious and I think I’ll try this recipe. I like the directions include weights for the dry ingredients. Thanks.

  7. Oh, that looks amazing! I’ve got some pumpkin puree that I cooked from fresh last year and froze, and I think I know what I’ll be doing with some of it. I haven’t made a coffee cake in a very long time (to be fair, we also haven’t had anyone over for brunch since the Before Times) and this looks like a great way to get back to it.

    Seconding Joseph Howard Dougherty III’s recommendation of Penzeys – that’s the only brand of seasonings we’ll buy. They are excellent.

    Really loving your baking posts, Athena – thank you for letting us vicariously follow you around your kitchen!

  8. It’s nice to see that you are continuing to bake, and getting better at it, and really enjoying it. Congratulations.

  9. Wow, that looks tasty, will try soon/ish! Q: Did you do the layering of the streusel subsequently? If so, any notable tasting difference?

  10. Do not be afraid to mallet your trolls. :)
    Or kitten ’em—that’s always entertaining.

    I do not like “pumpkin spice” if it contains cloves at all, or allspice or mace in more than tiny amounts. Or nutmeg in somewhat less tiny amounts. Cinnamon and ginger are great, though. This recipe’s “pumpkin spice” seem pretty good.

    Also, my sister keeps spoilering your baking posts to me. But she managed not to spoil your Just kidding I forgot the pumpkin, so I laughed aloud at that.

  11. Ah, the Muffin Method! Combine dry ingredients thoroughly in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Make a crater in the dry ingredients, pour in yer eggy glop all at once, and mix only enough to combine the two. Good for pancakes, autumn-themed coffee cakes, or anything else where a soft, coarse, moist crumb is wanted.

    The idea is to work the flour very lightly so as not to develop its gluten, yet still ensure that no unappetizing clumps of salt, baking powder, etc. remain in the batter. (Gluten is the protein that gives bread its latticelike structure.)

    In practice it doesn’t make an enormous difference whether the wets are added to the dries or vice versa. What does make a difference are things like mixing butter and sugar at high speed — this incorporates air — or folding separately-beaten egg whites into batter right at the end, which also adds air.

    Your cake looks fabulous, and I’m tempted to give this a go!

  12. Another great baking review. Love the commentary and pictures. Pumpkin spice is a favorite of mine, as is coffee cake, so I must make this soon. (And yes, Penzeys spices are wonderful!)

  13. Also, I forgot to say, based on your photo of all the streusel on top, I’m gonna double that streusel amount when I try to remember to put half in the middle.

  14. That looks great and I bet it made the house smell amazing! I can’t wait to try it. I have all the ingredients except sour cream but I usually sub plain yogurt for that in recipes, since we always house yogurt in the house.

  15. Cana, I bet it would work with canned or baked sweet potatoes (like Red Garnet yams), or even carrots.

  16. Another non-cake eater here who’s actually considering giving that a go. At the very least I can impress my co-workers.

    @Jazzlet: If you’re going to do Science then you need to do it properly. Multiple replicates!