My pumpkin coffee cake recipe is perfectly sweetened, outrageously melt-in-your-mouth, and flavored with all the best spices of Fall. It’s topped off with a rich brown sugar streusel crumb and drizzled with sweet vanilla glaze.
The Perfect Fall Bake
Every now and then I re-visit an old recipe to the blog to make sure it’s still up to my baking standards. I’ve learned a lot in the 7 years that I’ve been developing recipes professionally, so occasionally I just take a peek back at something I haven’t baked in a while and see if I can improve upon it. This pumpkin coffee cake was my most recent re-test, published 5 years ago, and much to my relief, I found that my efforts were completely in vain.
Not trying to toot my own horn here but this pumpkin coffee cake is more than a 5-star recipe. It’s 10 stars! I’d developed it to be a festive Fall spin on my classic coffee cake, and that it is. Irresistible, perfectly spiced with an incredible texture, and it’s devoured within several hours of coming out of the oven every. time.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It is the epitome of Fall baking! Cozy spices wrapped up in pumpkin and blanketed with a brown sugar streusel and vanilla glaze.
- The flavor and texture is unparalleled. Moist without being heavy, soft, and perfectly balanced with Fall spices.
- It’s easy! You can certainly use a mixer, but one is not needed!
- It keeps well. Make it a day or two in advance of your next potluck or get-together and marvel at the still-outrageously moist crumb once served
No changes were needed to the recipe, but I did decide to give the photos a facelift (minus the one above, preserved for posterity 😉) and added weight measurements to the original recipe (I initially only used cups, but if you’ve been here a while you know how important using a kitchen scale is to me!). I hope you’ll give this one a try!
Ingredient Overview 🥚🧂
The ingredients are quite similar to what I use for my pumpkin muffins, but you’ll find a few small edits. The muffin recipe was designed to have a lighter, well, muffin-like texture, and for a good pumpkin coffee cake (or any coffee cake) you need a denser crumb (but it must never be dry and should practically melt in your mouth!).
- Pumpkin. Use 100% pumpkin puree and avoid cans that are labeled “pumpkin pie filling”. Annoyingly, the two are often sold side-by-side and the packaging is very similar.
- Spices. I start with pumpkin pie spice (don’t forget you can always make your own pumpkin spice, if you don’t have any on hand) and add a bit extra ground cinnamon.
- Sour cream. I went back and forth with this ingredient before discovering that a mere two tablespoons packs a punch and makes this pumpkin coffee cake outrageously good. You’d think all the moisture from the pumpkin puree would be sufficient, but a big spoonful of sour cream makes the crumb moist (but not wet) and gives the cake a well-rounded flavor.
- Sugar. There’s surprisingly little sugar in today’s recipe (well, it seems that way to me, anyway), thanks to the natural sweetness of the pumpkin and the streusel topping.
- Butter. Butter is used in both the cake and the crumb topping, and in both instances I melt it first. Melting the butter makes for a more moist and butterier final crumb (and, as a bonus, removes the need for an electric mixer).
Tips for Making Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- Mixing matters! When combining the wet ingredients, I do so in stages and ensure the wet ingredient are thoroughly combined (it’s OK if the mixture looks a bit piecey, but it should be uniform). An electric mixer isn’t required, but is fine here. When whisking the dry ingredients, again ensure they are well-combined. But once you combine the wet and dry ingredients, do so gently and by hand. Don’t over-mix or the end result could be a too-dense and dry pumpkin coffee cake.
- The pan you use matters. I tested this recipe in a metal 9×9 baking pan and found it consistently needed 30 minutes to bake, give or take a minute or two, max. If you opt to use a ceramic or glass pan, the baking time will likely be longer than is indicated. Keep an eye on the cake and use a toothpick to test for doneness (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with moist crumbs!).
- Don’t over-bake. This is a cardinal sin of baking, and something I stress in recipes ranging from my chocolate chip cookies to my yellow cake. Over-baking your pumpkin coffee cake means it will be dry (it should never be dry!) and crumbly. It’s best when the toothpick you use for testing comes out with moist crumbs (not wet batter) and not dry. The cake will continue to bake in the pan as it cools, so removing it on the cusp of under-doneness (with moist crumbs) means it will finish baking perfectly as it cools. Once the toothpick is dry, it means you may be on the cusp of over-doneness. Get that cake out of the oven on time!
Frequently Asked Questions
Other readers have made this recipe in a 9×13 pan. To keep it from being too thin, I recommend doubling the recipe
I recommend making my pumpkin bread, instead, which was specifically designed for a loaf pan. However, some readers have commented that they have made this recipe in a loaf pan and that it took approximately 55 minutes to bake.
Yes! After cooling completely, slice and individually wrap the pumpkin coffee cake before freezing. It should keep several months in the freezer.
I hope you love this pumpkin coffee cake as much as everyone in my household does! If you try it out, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think! 💜
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Pumpkin Coffee Cake
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted (allow it to cool several minutes after melting, you do not want it to be too hot or it will melt your sugars) (170g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
- ¼ cup brown sugar tightly packed (50g)
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten (room temperature preferred)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling (240g)
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (156g)
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (125g)
- ¾ cup brown sugar tightly packed (150g)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoons salted butter melted (see note for unsalted butter)
- ½ cup powdered sugar (63g)
- 2-3 teaspoons milk plus additional if needed. Use whatever type of milk you have in your fridge.
- ¼ teasspoon vanilla extract
- 9×9 baking pan
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease the pan with baking spray.
- Combine melted butter and sugars in a large bowl and stir until well-combined
- Add eggs, stir well
- Stir in pumpkin puree, sour cream, and vanilla extract until well combined. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that all ingredients are well combined.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Using a spatula, gradually add dry ingredients and wet and stir gently until just combined — do not over-mix!
- Spread batter evenly into prepared 9×9 pan. Set aside while you prepare the streusel topping.
- Prepare the crumble by whisking together flour, sugars and cinnamon.
- Pour the melted butter into the mixture and, using a fork, stir until crumbles form.
- Evenly sprinkle streusel topping over the top of your pumpkin batter.
- Transfer pan to oven and bake on 350F (175C) for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool before adding glaze.
- If desired, make glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and milk. Start with 2 teaspoons of milk and add a third if it isn't thin enough to drizzle. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Drizzle over cooled pumpkin crumb cake.
- Cut and serve. Enjoy!
Baking PanI use a metal 9×9 pan for this recipe and my cake is always finished at 30 minutes. If you are using a glass or ceramic pan your cake will likely take longer to bake. Readers have reported that it takes approximately 45-50 minutes (total) in a glass pan, but use the toothpick test and keep an eye on it!
Streusel – butter noteIf you only have unsalted butter on hand, simply add a scant ¼ teaspoon of salt with the sugars.
StoringI usually store my pumpkin cake directly in the pan, covered with foil. It will keep for up to 4 days this way or in an airtight container at room temperature. You may also tightly wrap and freeze for several months. Recipe note: I first published this recipe over on The Stay at Home Chef, but loved it so much that I wanted to make sure that I shared it here with the rest of my recipes, too!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
This recipe was originally published in October of 2017 but I have updated it to include more helpful information and new photos.