Everything but the kitchen sink: Pumpkin cake

by carlyjunehaase


I told you recently about making your own roasted “pumpkin”  in the place of using canned and I also told you about my intense pumpkin bread craving and my failed low fat, whole-grain, low-sugar version. I want to assure you that I didn’t forget about it- quite the contrary actually, I just hadn’t found a recipe felt right. This all changed last week as I devoured the recent posts of some of my favorite blogs and I went agog over Beth’s crème fraiche, cornmeal & pumpkin coffee cake +pepita streusel over at Local Milk.

It was the answer to my pumpkin prayers.

If you’re anything like me you’re probably reading this thinking woah, that’s a lot of stuff to throw in a pumpkin cake. It is, I can tell you- but it’s so worth it. You end up with a cake that is undeniably pumpkin but transcends the murky pumpkin pie flavor profile which I’ve decided is totally overrated. What really caught my eye with this recipe was the cornmeal. I LOVE cornmeal. Any chance I have to throw a little cornmeal in, I do. It adds such a lovely grainy texture and just the tiniest hint of crunch.


Interestingly enough, the recipe also calls for coconut oil instead of your standard vegetable oil of softened butter. I was a little skeptical at first, having never baked with coconut oil, and when I unscrewed the lid I was hit with such an overwhelming coconut smell I felt like I should be slathering this all over my body instead of using it in a cake. After baking though, I was surprised at how nuanced the flavor is. The cake is definitely pumpkin- the coconut oil keeps the crumb incredibly moist and there’s not even a whiff of anything resembling your beach-side pina colada.

I must say- I’m still thinking about using it as a moisturizing agent actually, I think I should do a little research first though- I wouldn’t want to break out in hives or anything. We’ll see how it goes.


I served this last weekend to Tim’s parents while they were visiting us in Hanover for the weekend alongside my favorite Red Currant Torte (had to play it a little safe). Because to be honest I was a little nervous that this cake might be too sweet for them. And let me just say, it is very sweet. I used my last reserves of precious American dark brown sugar (impossible to find in Germany) but it was totally worth it. I think in the future I might cut back on the sugar a bit. After nearly a year and a half in Germany my sensitivity to sweetness has certainly become heightened and the flavors in this cake are so developed that I really don’t think you need the extra sugar. Nonetheless a small slice with a cup of strong coffee is a winning pairing and the perfect way to indulge in the very best of Autumn’s  bounty.


Crème fraiche, cornmeal & pumpkin coffee cake +pepita streusel

Recipe adapted from Local Milk


For the cake

175 g all-purpose flour

75 g cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)

125 g coconut oil

240 g packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

125 g creme fraiche

125g homemade pumpkin puree

60 g buttermilk

For the streusel:

60 g brown sugar

50 g all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

6 T butter

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup roasted and salted pepitas


If you want you can add a buttermilk glaze to the cake after it cools by mixing 3/4 cup of powdered sugar with 2 T of buttermilk. I tried some glaze on part of the cake but after trying it decided to forgo the glaze since it was already so sweet. But that of course is up to you.



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius) and grease a 9″ cake pan or cast iron skillet.

2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the first 9 ingredients and then set aside.

3. In a second medium mixing bowl whisk together the pumpkin, creme fraiche and buttermilk. Set aside.

4. With a hand or standing mixer cream the coconut oil with the brown sugar until well combined. Then with the mixer on low add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.

5. In three additions alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the wet.

6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile make the streusel.

7. Combine all ingredients for the streusel except the pepitas. Using two knives cut the butter into the flour. Once the mixture resembles small peas add the pepitas and mix by hand.

8. After the 20 minutes have elapsed remove the cake and sprinkle the streusel evenly over the cake. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

9. Once the cake has cooled either serve as is with strong coffee or with the buttermilk glaze drizzled over the top.