Spiced Coffee Cake with Pumpkin Butter Swirl
This decadent spiced coffee cake with pumpkin butter swirl is the perfect treat for fall entertaining. You won’t be able to stop at just one slice!
We’re kicking off fall with my first pumpkin recipe of the season! The weather is crisp, the leaves are turning, and pumpkin cravings are in full force.
This recipe has all of the qualities one looks for in a classic coffee cake. A decadent, dense, and thick streusel topping and moist, buttery cake-like crumb. And it doesn’t stop there.
For an elevated fall twist, we’ve upped the spice factor and added an incredible pumpkin butter layer within the cake itself.
Today’s recipe features Harry & David’s Pumpkin Butter, which is made from pure pumpkin, sugar, lemon juice, spices, and salt – that’s it!
It has a smooth, buttery, and jam-like texture with a terrific balance of pure pumpkin flavor and sweetness. The warming spices are present, but not at all overpowering. It’s one of the best pumpkin butters that I’ve had to date.
Honestly, you could eat the stuff straight from the jar with a spoon, but I love the nuance and wow factor that it gives to baked goods. The pumpkin butter layer also provides the cake with more moisture which allows it to hold up even better with time.
HOW TO MAKE COFFEE CAKE:
Despite what the name suggests, traditional coffee cake does not contain any coffee. By definition, a coffee cake is traditionally a one-layer cake with a streusel or crumb topping. It is usually enjoyed with coffee at breakfast or brunch, and that is exactly how I suggest serving today’s spiced coffee cake.
This coffee cake is the real deal. Aka. you’ll need a lot of butter. It provides the cake with fantastic flavor and helps produce a very tender, buttery crumb.
To lighten it up a bit, this recipe uses whole fat plain Greek yogurt (for added moisture in lieu of sour cream) and whole wheat pastry flour (its lower protein count ensures an extra tender whole grain cake).
Instead of infusing the cake batter with pumpkin puree, we’re upping the cake’s flavor with a delicate mixture of warm fall spices, including ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
The spices complement the pumpkin butter layer, but still allow it to shine and stand out in each bite.
This also makes this cake easily adaptable for all occasions and seasons (simply adjust the spices or omit/swap out the pumpkin butter with another seasonal jam or filling).
How to Make the Crumb Topping:
Traditional coffee cake can be topped with a variety of streusels. Some coffee cakes are topped with a sandier sugary topping and others are topped with a more classic, dense, thick crumb topping. This recipe uses the latter. It is my most favorite.
To make the streusel, we’ll use a mixture of flour, dark brown sugar, spices, salt (for balance), and unsalted cold butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the dry ingredients have been absorbed, and it starts to clump together and form large and small crumbs.
Some crumb toppings call for melted butter. In my experience, streusels prepared with cold butter (cut into the dry ingredients) produce much better flavored and textured crumbs.
If you love a classic, thick, coffee cake crumb topping, you’ll go crazy for this one!
How to Add the Pumpkin Butter Layer:
To create the delicious pumpkin butter layer, we’ll be dividing up the coffee cake batter. The first step will require you to spread 2/3 of the cake batter into a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan.
Add the Harry & David pumpkin butter in spoonfuls across the cake batter and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even thin layer.
Note: I tested this cake recipe using various methods and do not recommend swirling the pumpkin butter into the cake – as the batter itself is shallow and the pumpkin butter layer won’t stand out as well in the cake slices.
Once the pumpkin butter is spread evenly, gently dollop the remaining cake batter over the pumpkin butter layer and smooth it out. Sprinkle with the crumb topping and bake. That’s it!
Please note that these cake batter layers will be thin. In fact, you might not think it’s enough batter. Don’t worry. This cake rises significantly (almost twice as high) as it bakes.
How to Serve this Spiced Coffee Cake:
This cake makes enough for a crowd, so it is the perfect holiday recipe for entertaining. It’s fantastic for gifting to friends and family (perhaps along with a jar of pumpkin butter!) and would make an easy post-thanksgiving day casual breakfast enjoyed alongside hot coffee.
It tastes fantastic slightly warm out of the oven, but can also be baked ahead of time as it holds up very well a day or two after baking.
This cake also freezes really well. Simply wrap leftovers (or an entire baked cake) tightly in plastic wrap, cover in foil, and allow to defrost at room temperature before serving.
Hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
- 1 and 1/4 cups (150 g) whole wheat pastry flour (*or substitute with unbleached all-purpose)
- 3/4 cup (150 g) packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (4 ounces; (112 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 and 3/4 cups (330 g) whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons; 225 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cup (300 g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups (283 g) whole-fat plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
- 2/3 cup (190 g) Harry & David Pumpkin Butter
- powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) with a rack in the center position. Grease a 9-inch x 13-inch (2-inches deep) baking pan and set on top of a half sheet pan. Set aside.
- Prepare the Crumb Topping: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cold butter. Using a pastry cutter or large fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue mixing until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated together with the butter and the mixture is dark brown in color with small and larger crumbs. When pressed, the mixture should hold together. Cover mixture and refrigerate until ready to use. *Alternatively, you can also make the crumb topping in a food processor by pulsing the ingredients until it just starts to come together.
- Prepare the Cake: Whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held mixer). Beat the butter and sugar together at medium-high speed for 5 minutes, or until light in color and very fluffy. Scrape down the bowl halfway through to ensure everything is evenly incorporated. Over medium speed, add the eggs, one a time, mixing for about 15 to 20 seconds between each one, and then add the vanilla extract. The batter might look slightly curdled, don't worry.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the Greek yogurt (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix until the dry ingredients have just absorbed; do not over mix. The batter will be fairly thick and aerated. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Transfer 2/3 of the batter (roughly 860 grams) into the greased baking pan and spread into a even, thin layer. Dollop the pumpkin butter in large blobs over the entire batter. Using an offset spatula, spread the pumpkin butter into an even thin layer. Dollop the remaining batter evenly on top of the pumpkin butter layer and gently spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. The cake will be golden brown and the edges will have pulled away slightly from the edges of the pan.
- Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Best served slightly warm or at room temperature the day of baking. If desired, dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.
Leftovers can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. The cake can also be frozen (wrap tightly in plastic wrap; then wrap in foil) for up to a month and thawed at room temperature.
Tips for Success:
- Make Year-Round: Feel free to adapt this cake for all occasions and seasons. The spice balance in this cake is lovely year round. However, feel free to adjust them as desired or omit/swap out the pumpkin butter with another seasonal jam or filling.
- Notes for Scaling: While I have not personally tested a scaled-down version of this recipe, I’m confident it could be halved and baked in an 8 x 8-inch (2 inch deep) square baking pan. You will need to adjust and watch the baking time carefully.
This post is sponsored by Harry & David. Thank you for supporting brands I love and use in my kitchen. Check out more delicious healthy recipes and products at HarryandDavid.com!