Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

pumpkin-coffee-cake-with-maple-glaze

Hey there! How was your weekend? Mine was perfectly autumn-y. It was a wonderful combination of blustery, rainy weather and radiant, colorful sunshine. Plus, hubby and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary on Saturday, which was fun. Hard to believe it’s been 5 years already! I’m sure we’ll say the same thing at 50, God willing. In honor of our anniversary, I let Justin pick which recipe I would post first this week. He totally surprised me by choosing this pumpkin coffee cake with maple glaze. Justin proclaims himself to be pumpkin-ambivalent. He reckons that he is above the pumpkin-spice-everything craze that runs rampant this time of year. But. One bite of this pumpkin coffee cake…. Actually, one taste of the spiced maple glaze that I offered while finishing the cake, and all that went out the window. I offered to send the leftovers with him to work, because this recipe makes a very generous 9×13 pan of decadent coffee cake, and he declined. Which means he plans to eat the entire 9×13 pan of pumpkin coffee cake over the upcoming week. Don’t worry, he’s training for the Philly marathon in November, he’ll burn it off. #wifebrag.

This pumpkin coffee cake fits perfectly into the autumn of my dreams. The one where I host a lovely outdoor brunch for friends and family on picnic tables under vibrantly colored trees with an expertly selected menu of cozy, seasonal fare. The centerpiece, of course, would be this coffee cake. Surprisingly light and incredibly tasty, this cake is decadent and wholesome. Sweet enough for dessert but totally acceptable for a weekend breakfast. Hey, pumpkin is a vegetable, right? While I may fall short of my fall brunch goals this season (the days are flying by! we just finally bought our mums this weekend!), this coffee cake will not disappoint. Don’t hate me for suggesting that this would be a fantastic breakfast while the whole gang is in the house come Thanksgiving.

pumpkin-coffee-cake-with-maple-glaze

I hope it goes without saying that this pumpkin coffee cake with maple glaze is delicious. But in addition to being delicious, it’s also fairly simple to make. There are a few steps, between making the cake batter, mixing the streusel and preparing the glaze, but nothing is very complicated and it all comes together pretty quickly. The result is so worth it. The cake itself is warmly spiced and tender. Not at all heavy or dense, as pumpkin confections can sometimes be. The classic streusel topping is what makes it coffee cake, which means you’re well within your rights to pick sweet, buttery pieces from the top of the cake as it cools. And the maple glaze… Well, that’s what makes this recipe truly worthy of a special occasion. Powdered sugar, pure maple syrup and heavy cream combine to make a divine topping for an already heavenly cake. The glaze recipe makes a generous amount, so drizzle about half over the cake once cooled and reserve the rest to drizzle (or,  um, douse) individual servings. I might give Justin a run for his money this week. I’m already planning to have a piece of this coffee cake with a cappuccino after work tomorrow.

pumpkin-coffee-cake-with-maple-glaze

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp salt

For Streusel:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter,cut into small cubes, at room temperature

For Maple Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream, plus more as necessary
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, add eggs, sugars, pumpkin and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until combined, about 3 minutes. In medium bow, whisk together dry ingredients. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients to wet in 3 batches, allowing each to incorporate into wet ingredients before proceeding. Pour batter into prepared pan.

In medium bowl whisk together the following streusel ingredients: flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add butter to bowl and incorporate into dry ingredients, using either pastry blender or fingertips. Mix until mixture resembles coarse sand and holds together when pressed but will still easily crumble. Sprinkle streusel over top of cake batter. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes, or until skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before adding glaze.

To prepare maple glaze, add all ingredients to medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined and glaze drizzles easily from whisk. Add additional cream if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle about half of the glaze over the coffee cake and reserve the rest to drizzle over individual servings. Or just go for it and put entire glaze recipe over cake.

Serves 12-16, depending on size of pieces.

pumpkin-coffee-cake-with-maple-glaze


Pumpkin Bread with Sweet Cream Cheese Butter

pumpkin-bread-with-sweet-cream-cheese-butter

Between us, I was all about pumpkin way before the current pumpkin-spice craze. An early adopter, if  you will. For starters, I was obsessed with those little mellowcreme pumpkins as a little girl (not really pumpkin, but still.) I’ve always been a pumpkin pie enthusiast and would beg my grandma to let me help her bake Thanksgiving pies…or at least lick the bowl. I live for pumpkin pie for breakfast. Pumpkin pancakes, too. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is my second favorite Peanuts special (A Charlie Brown Christmas is number one, obvs.) I put Pumpkin Pie Spice in my coffee all year round. If pumpkin ravioli are on the menu, that’s what I’ll order. When the horrific pumpkin shortage threatened fall baking, I hoarded as much as my pantry could hold. My point is, I really, really love pumpkin and have for a long time. Also, for the record, Hocus Pocus was my favorite fall movie WAY before it was cool.

Pumpkin bread can be overshadowed by its’ more glamorous and fancy compadres, like cupcakes and pies. But when done well, it’s a real treat. There’s nothing like a warm slice of pumpkin bread and hot cup of coffee on a quiet autumn morning before the rest of the house is awake. A few moments of delicious solace before the craziness begins. Of course, those moments are ruined by dense, bland, overly sweet pumpkin bread. My beloved pumpkin deserves better. Unfortunately, since pumpkin is by nature so moist and thick, many recipes result in a heavy pumpkin brick, rather than a little slice of heaven.

Luckily, I happened upon this recipe and now rest assured that wet, heavy and bland pumpkin bricks are a thing of the past. This bread is substantial but not dense. The earthy, sweet flavor of pumpkin shines through, complemented by the traditional spices. I’ve used pumpkin pie spice to simplify things, but of course you can create your own mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. The pumpkin and spices are cooked on the stovetop to evaporate moisture and concentrate pumpkin flavor. Cream cheese is added to the batter to add richness and a little edge to cut through the sweetness. The topping is cinnamony, brown sugary goodness. And, while completely optional, I added a cream cheese butter that flirts dangerously with the idea of being frosting. But if we call it butter, then it’s appropriate to put it on bread which means it is a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Right? Right. You can always count on me for a good rationale 😉

This recipe makes two loaves, which means there’s plenty to share. Keep one for yourself and give another to a neighbor or co-worker. Or eat one now and keep one in the freezer, in case of a pumpkin emergency. Happy fall baking!

pumpkin-bread-with-sweet-cream-cheese-butter

Pumpkin Bread with Sweet Cream Cheese Butter

Ingredients:

Topping

  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp softened butter
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Bread

  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk, mixed with 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice and allowed to sit 5 min (or buttermilk)

Sweet Cream Cheese Butter

  • 4 Tbsp softened butter
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Combine ingredients for topping in a small bowl with either fingers or a spoon until the butter is incorporated into dry ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare loaf pans. Spray two 9 by 5 (or 8 1/2 by 4 1/2) inch loaf pans with baking spray. Place loaf pans on a rimmed cookie sheet and set aside. Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a medium saucepan, cook pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice over medium heat about 6-8 minutes, until thickened and slightly dark. Turn off the heat and add both sugars and vegetable oil. Using your fingers, break cream cheese into small pieces over pumpkin mixture until all cream cheese has been added. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to warm the cream cheese, then whisk until no lumps of cream cheese remain.

Whisk eggs and milk/acid mixture (or buttermilk) together, then whisk into pumpkin. Add flour to pan and gently fold into pumpkin mixture until combined. Divide batter evenly between pans and sprinkle topping over the pans.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to sit in loaf pans for 15-20 minutes. Then carefully remove loaves from pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make sweet cream cheese butter: whisk all ingredients together until smooth. You can also mix ingredients with hand or stand mixer.

Makes 2 loaves and enough sweet cream cheese butter for each loaf.

Bread recipe slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen