The ultimate pumpkin coffee cake recipe — topped with a crunchy streusel and cream cheese drizzle, and perfectly cozy and delicious.
If you ask me, there’s nothing better on a crisp fall morning than starting the day with a warm cup of coffee and something sweet and and nice and pumpkin spiced…
…such as this delightful pumpkin coffee cake. ♡
It’s a seasonal riff on my favorite sour cream coffee cake recipe, which I know that so many of you have made and loved over the years, made this time with a generous amount of pumpkin purée and the perfect hint of pumpkin spice. Then if you feel like a little indulgence, I highly highly recommend adding this (optional, yet completely irresistible) crunchy, chunky, pumpkin spice streusel crumb topping on top. And hey, while we’re going all out, a drizzle of my favorite cream cheese icing too for the win.
Truly, this recipe is everything you could want in a coffee cake (well, technically a crumb cake, in this instance) and more. So if you feel like doing some fall baking this weekend, pop in the pantry to grab a can of pumpkin and let’s bake some coffee cake together!
Pumpkin Coffee Cake Ingredients
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make this pumpkin coffee cake:
Butter: As always, be sure that the butter is softened before you add it to the recipe so that it will cream properly with the sugars.
Pumpkin purée: I just used canned pumpkin purée for this recipe, but you are welcome to use homemade pumpkin purée if you prefer.
Pumpkin pie spice: I use my homemade pumpkin pie spice blend, but feel free to use a store-bought blend of pumpkin pie spice instead.
Sour cream: I have made this base coffee cake recipe before using sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, and both options work well.
Vanilla extract: We will add a hint of vanilla to both the cake and the cream cheese drizzle.
Dry ingredients: The other basic dry ingredients in this recipe include all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and fine sea salt. Please note that if you only have iodized table salt on hand, you will need to use half as much.
Streusel topping (optional): This chunky streusel crumb topping is made with all-purpose flour, brown sugar, chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts), pumpkin pie spice, a pinch of salt and melted butter.
Cream cheese drizzle (optional): This simple drizzle is made with cream cheese, your choice of milk, powdered sugar and a hint of vanilla extract.
Tips For Making This Recipe
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here are a few extra tips to remember:
Pack and then crumble the streusel topping: I learned this tip from Claire Saffitz and it really does yield the perfect chunky streusel crumb topping each time. Whisk together the dry crumble ingredients, add the butter (I find it’s easiest to use melted butter), and use your fingers to thoroughly combine the mixture until no dry, sandy bits remain. Pack the mixture very firmly into a ball and then gently crumble it into your desired size of chunks, then refrigerate for 10 minutes or until ready to bake. This allows the proportions of the ingredients to be just right so that the topping isn’t too sandy nor does it melt into a sad buttery puddle on top of the coffee cake.
Cream the butter and sugars together: It may be tempting to just stir the ingredients together, but taking the time to properly cream the butter and sugars together until they are light and fluffy will yield the best texture for this cake.
Let the cake cool before adding the drizzle: It’s essential that the coffee cake completely cools before adding the drizzle if you do not want it to melt. That said, though, melty drizzle is still delicious. So if you can’t wait and want to dive in while the cake is still warm, by all means… :)
Here are a few other ways that you can make this pumpkin coffee cake recipe your own:
Add an extra cinnamon-sugar layer: If you would like to add a layer of cinnamon-sugar in the middle of the coffee cake (similar to my classic coffee cake recipe), whisk together 1/4 cup brown sugar and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon until evenly combined. Then add half of the batter to the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over that layer. Then add the remaining batter evenly on top. (I find it’s helpful to drop the batter by small spoonfuls so that it is easier to spread over the cinnamon-sugar.)
Use a basic icing: Instead of the cream cheese icing listed below, feel free to whisk together powdered sugar with your preferred type of milk (plus a small hint of vanilla extract) until you reach your desired consistency.
Play around with the spices: I just used basic pumpkin pie spice in this recipe, but feel free to use whatever types and amounts of warming spices that you prefer. For example, this cake would also be delicious with some ground cardamom mixed in, or extra amounts of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, etc.
Omit the streusel and/or cream cheese icing: Both are optional, so you’re welcome to omit either the streusel and/or the cream cheese icing if you prefer.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Drizzle:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the streusel topping. Add the flour, brown sugar, chopped nuts, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a small mixing bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the mixture, then toss it with your fingers until it is evenly combined and no dry, sandy parts remain. Pack the mixture firmly into one large clump, then gently crumble it into your desired size of chunks. Refrigerate the streusel until ready to use.
Prep the oven and pan. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan.*
Combine the dry cake ingredients. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt to a separate mixing bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
Make the batter. Add the butter and sugars to the bowl of a stand mixer. (Or alternately, you can use a hand mixer with a large mixing bowl.) Beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, pumpkin purée, sour cream, vanilla extract and beat on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes until evenly combined, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredient mixture and beat on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until just combined.
Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out in an even layer. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly on top. Then bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature.
Prepare the cream cheese drizzle. Meanwhile, as the cake is baking, whisk together all of the cream cheese drizzle ingredients until completely smooth. If the drizzle seems too thick, add extra milk. If it seems too thin, add extra powdered sugar.
Drizzle. Once the cake has cooled completely to room temperature (if you can wait that long), drizzle it with the cream cheese icing. Then serve and enjoy!
Sea salt vs table salt: Please note that this recipe calls for fine sea salt. If you only have iodized table salt on hand, you will need to use half as much in both the streusel topping and the cake.
Pan alternatives: If you do not have a springform pan, you can line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper to make the cake easier to lift out after baking. Alternately, you can bake this coffee cake in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Just note that it will need less time to bake (around 30 minutes, but do the toothpick test to double-check).
Storage instructions: Leftovers can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 4 days.