Canned pumpkin lends moisture, fiber to cake

The Whole Dish podcast: Canned pumpkin a convenient addition to baked goods

Winter-squash season is in full swing. But I’m holding off on cracking open the butternut and red kuri varieties I have on hand until I use up frozen chunks of last year’s squash. Soup it is!

That’s not to mention the can of pumpkin still biding its time on the pantry shelf. It always seems like such a good idea this time of year to pick up a can of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin when it’s priced at $1 or less for 29 ounces. I won’t be making that purchase again, though, until the can I’ve already got has found its way into recipes sweet or savory.

I intended to try the pumpkin as a sauce for breakfast pizza. As a lasagna filling with béchamel, rather than tomato, sauce. If all fails, I can stuff it into wonton wrappers for semi-homemade ravioli sauced in sage-infused brown butter.

Or I can make something my family would enjoy even more, another sweet treat, despite the specter of Halloween candy still lingering. Canned pumpkin gives this coffee cake a few more vitamins and fiber than the average recipe, not to mention moisture, which I always find lacking in traditional coffee cakes.

Make sure to use a pan that is 9 inches across the top and 1 1/2 inches deep. Serve the cake with a scoop of vanilla or pumpkin ice cream for even more indulgence.

Tribune News Service photo

Pumpkin-Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

Cinnamon pecan streusel:

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice

Pinch salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup chopped pecans


1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup solid-pack canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla


1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso granules, optional

About 1 tablespoon milk or half-and-half

For the streusel, mix the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie-spice and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter. Use clean hands and your fingertips to blend butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the pecans. Use your hands to squeeze and gently clump streusel into small, shaggy clumps. (Mixture can be made a day in advance; leave covered at room temperature.)

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease or spray a deep, straight-sided 9-inch round (at least 1 1/2 inches deep) or square cake pan with cooking spray.

For the cake, mix the flour, pumpkin-pie spice, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Put the butter into a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer (or wooden spoon) until light and creamy in texture, for 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the sugar until incorporated; add the egg and beat it smooth. Add the pumpkin and vanilla; mix well. Dump in flour mixture; use gentle strokes with a rubber spatula just to incorporate flour into batter. (Be careful not to overmix or cake texture will be tough.)

Scrape batter into greased pan; smooth top. Evenly crumble all of streusel mixture over top of cake. Bake in center of preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center is withdrawn clean, for about 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm.

Meanwhile, for the glaze, mix the confectioners’ sugar and coffee granules in a small bowl. Dribble in the milk until mixture forms a smooth, thick, drizzle-able glaze. Use tines of a fork to swirl glaze over cake. Let cool until glaze is set. Use a serrated knife to cut wedges of cake to serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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