Pumpkin coffee cake is moist and perfectly spiced with a thick crumble topping similar to New York crumb cake. It's the perfect seasonal fall treat!
Are you a math person?
I’m a weird sort of non-math math person. I’m the type of person who can figure out completely convoluted math word problems quickly. But then, I’m sad to say, my basic math skills – like multiplication and division – are pretty lacking. Sigh. I have absolutely nothing to say for myself.
Mike is always confounded as to how my mind works. He’s the opposite of me, so I guess we complete each other, lol.
In high school, I remember just about every math teacher I ever had telling the class that we’d be using math nearly every day for the rest of our lives. Of course that was usually in response to a wise crack from some student complaining When are we ever going to use this in real life?!
Well, kids, I can tell you that if you want to have a food blog you’ll be using fractions, ratios, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division almost every time you cook.
For example, take this recipe. Which by the way, bears noting that it tastes like autumn and smells like heaven. Read on to discover math in real life.
What Size Pan Can I Use to Make This Pumpkin Coffee Cake Recipe?
When I developed this recipe, I originally made this gorgeous crumble-topped pumpkin coffee cake recipe in a 7 by 11-inch rectangular baking dish.
It’s an odd size, I get that. Normally you’d see 9 by 13-inch or 8 by 8-inch, but this recipe just fit perfectly into a 7 by 11. And I knew someone would ask me if they can use a different size baking dish. (I don’t mind, so don’t feel bad about asking questions! But I like to be prepared if possible.)
So I wanted to calculate the area of the baking dish and see what would be comparable before the question crept up.
For this size rectangular dish, the area is length multiplied by width, or 7 X 11 = 77 inches2.
Easy enough, but I knew that in order to find a comparably sized dish, I would need to look at circular dishes and I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to calculate the area of a circle. Enter Google…I found the equation and it all came flooding back to me. (Well, not really all, lol.)
For a circle, A = ∏r2.
Long story short and to spare you any math-related boredom, the closest size pan is a 10-inch round pan with an area of 78.5 inches2. So for this pumpkin crumb cake, feel free to use a 7 by 11-inch rectangular baking dish or 10-inch round pan. Whatever works.
Note that this recipe will also work just fine either using an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish or a 9-inch round pan. However, you will most likely have to increase the baking time a bit to account for a slightly smaller pan being used. If you try it in a different sized pan, let me know how it goes! (Update: I made this pumpkin cake in an 8 by 8-inch pan and it takes about 35 to 40 minutes at 350F.)
What Makes Something a Coffee Cake?
Coffee cake, a German classic known as kaffekuchen, is meant to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee.
It can refer to certain types of sweet breads or cakes, many of which are topped with a crumbly streusel.
You can find coffee cakes that are leavened with yeast, or coffee cakes that are leavened with baking powder and/or baking soda.
Additionally, many coffee cakes are flavored with cinnamon.
The Best Pumpkin Coffee Cake Recipe with Streusel Topping
And now about this cake. If you’re a fan of New York crumb cake and you like seasonal flavors (hello, pumpkin spice!), this will be your new favorite.
It's moist and dense with pumpkin, and aromatic with warm spices. The thick crumbly layer on top sets it apart from a lot of other pumpkin spice cake recipes.
This pumpkin coffee cake will be your go-to when a friend wants to drop by for a quick chat. Or when you need something sweet to bring to a party. Or hey, maybe even just for a middle-of-the-week-I-made-it-to-Wednesday-treat. I won’t judge; some weeks that’s just the way it goes.
Serve this pumpkin cake with coffee, tea, or steaming hot apple cider for maximum fall atmosphere.
Ingredients in Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping
In these sections I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
- Light brown sugar - this adds rich notes of molasses and caramel
- All-purpose flour - or whole wheat pastry flour
- Salt - to enhance the flavor of everything else
- Vanilla - for flavor and aroma
- Butter - use unsalted butter (or if your butter is salted, omit the added salt), and make sure it's slightly softened but not melted
Pumpkin Coffee Cake:
- Cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves - this is the mix of warm spices that we use to flavor our cake; it has all the components of classic pumpkin spice, and you can use pumpkin pie spice mix instead if that's what you have on hand
- Avocado oil - or you can use any light neutral or mild-flavored oil you like, such as canola oil or vegetable oil
- Light brown sugar - brown sugar is the perfect pairing with pumpkin
- Egg - egg serves a few purposes in this cake; it acts as a wet ingredient, binder, and helps with lift to create the perfect texture
- Pumpkin puree - canned pumpkin puree is fine, just make sure it's not pumpkin pie filling
- Vanilla - for flavor and aroma
- All-purpose flour - or you can use whole wheat pastry flour
- Baking powder and baking soda - these are the leavening agents in this coffee cake
- Salt - a flavor enhancer so the cake isn't bland
- Powdered sugar - for dusting the top
How to Make Pumpkin Coffee Cake
Make the Streusel Topping
- Whisk together the brown sugar, flour, half the spice mix (or 2 teaspoons pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix), salt, and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Use a fork to cut the butter into the mixture.
- Once the dough forms pieces the size of peas, use your hands to work it until it forms large wet crumbs.
Assemble and Bake the Coffee Cake
- Whisk together the oil, brown sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.
- Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and the remaining half of the spice mix (or 2 teaspoons pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix); be careful not to over-mix.
- The batter will be fairly thick.
- Spread the batter out in the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle on the crumble topping.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist with just a couple crumbs, about 25 to 40 minutes. (Start checking it at 25 minutes; it will take more or less time depending on the size of your pan and whether your pan is glass or metal.)
Finishing Touch Before Serving
Cool completely, and then sift the powdered sugar on top of the cake.
Store leftover pumpkin crumb cake wrapped well at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. Also, pumpkin cake freezes well for up to 3 months.
More Sweet Pumpkin Baked Goods Recipes
- Pumpkin and Cheese Spice Bread
- Low Carb Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
- Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
- Easy Pumpkin Bread Recipe with Brown Butter and Chai Spices
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Snack Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream
Pumpkin Coffee Cake Recipe
Spice Mix (See Notes):
Pumpkin Coffee Cake:
- Butter to grease the dish
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for topping
- Preheat oven to 350F. Generously grease a 7 by 11-inch baking dish or an 8-inch pan, 9-inch pan, or 10-inch pan with butter. (You can use either round or square 8, 9, or 10-inch pans.)
- Mix together all spices for the spice mix; set aside.
- For the topping, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, half the spice mix (or 2 teaspoons pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix), salt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Use a fork to cut the butter into the mixture, then once the dough forms pieces the size of peas, use your hands to work it until it forms large wet crumbs. Set aside.
- For the cake batter, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and the remaining half of the spice mix (or 2 teaspoons pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix); be careful not to over-mix.
- Spread the batter out in the prepared pan and sprinkle on the crumble topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist with just a couple crumbs, about 25 to 40 minutes. (Start checking it at 25 minutes; it will take more or less time depending on the size of your pan and whether your pan is glass or metal.)
- Cool completely, and then sift the powdered sugar on top of the cake.
- Pumpkin Spice Mix: Instead of making your own spice mix, you can use pumpkin pie spice mix instead; use 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix for the topping and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix for the cake.
- Baking Time: Like the recipe says, be sure to take this cake out of the oven when a toothpick comes out slightly moist with just a couple crumbs; it is perfect like this!
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on September 20, 2013 and updated on October 25, 2023.