This pumpkin pie coffee cake with crumbled pecan topping will be welcome at any fall breakfast or brunch.
I fought hard against the changing temperatures this year. Pretty as they are, I was not looking forward to the changing leaves. I wanted to close my eyes and stay in August forever, and then September was here, with its back-to-school busy and its cool breeze.
Slowly peaches turned to apples, and as my neighbors’ oak tree in the front yard starts to shift ever so slightly to a shade of red (as opposed to the yellow of last year), I’m remembering that it’s the changing of the seasons I appreciate most about where I live.
There’s something reassuring about life when you see plants go dormant for the winter, burrowing underground and waiting for the sun to warm again and then returning green and vibrant in the spring.
It’s in this seasonality that I find myself breathing deep, and now rather than wishing for August, I am instead looking to extend the mild autumn temperatures, where just a sweater can warm and there is no need yet for bulky winter coats and mittens that make even the smallest tasks like itching your nose awkward.
I will admit I’ve been buying apples for weeks now, stuffing them in lunch boxes and setting them out on the table for the kids to grab as a snack whenever they please, but it’s the pumpkins that make me think of fall.
Truth be told, I live with a husband who is not as interested in pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie fruit roll-ups as I am; however, I caught him going back for a second slice of this moist coffee cake when it was served alongside steak and eggs for dinner last night.
Filled with spices reminiscent of the coming holidays and topped with a pecan crumble topping, intended to caramelize just slightly in the oven, this coffee cake works well as breakfast, but don’t hesitate to call it dessert and serve it with a scoop of ice cream. (I know of a salted caramel variety that would pair nicely.)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crumbled pecan topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8×8″ square baking pan with parchment. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a stand mixer or using hand blenders, cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in pumpkin puree, sour cream and vanilla until incorporated. Slowly add in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, while mixing on a low speed.
Pour cake batter into prepared pan, spreading into an even layer. Prepare the topping. In a bowl combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut butter into small 1/2″ pieces and add to sugar mixture, cutting in with a pastry cutter or a fork. Stir in pecans.
Spread topping mixture over cake batter. Bake at 350° F for 40-45 minutes or until top starts to brown lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 9 large pieces.