Give It Up For Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
Admittedly, I’ve never understood the hoopla surrounding pumpkin spice latte season, which seems to begin earlier and earlier every year.
Then again, I am a black-coffee drinker all the way.
But put fragrant, autumnal pumpkin spices together with the full-bodied flavor of espresso plus actual bona fide pumpkin in a baked good, and I am so there.
That’s why I jumped all over this recipe for “Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake.”
It’s a one-pan cake imbued with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It gets plenty of richness from coconut oil.
This 8-inch-square cake also incorporates an entire 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree in its batter. With a high ratio of pumpkin puree to flour (just 1 1/2 cups), this cake bakes up very moist and soft with a compact crumb, almost reminiscent in texture of a British steamed pudding.
The winning flourish? A fluffy layer of cream cheese frosting emboldened with espresso powder that gets slathered with abandon in a thick layer overtop.
The cozy warmth of the baking spices, the perfect fall touch of sweet pumpkin, and the wake-me-up note of coffee mingle together for a dessert that’s like a big, enveloping hug. I especially love the espresso frosting, which adds a subtle bitter and smoky edge to counter the sweetness of the cake.
The recipe states that is serves 4, which would mean a whopper of a slab for each person. I think it serves more like 8 or 9, so I added that in the recipe below.
If you wanted to dress it up a little, some toasted or candied walnut or pecan halves arrayed over the top would be a nice touch.
There’s nothing wrong with plain and simple, though. This cake has plenty of personality to stand on its own without any hype.
Take that, Starbucks.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
(Serves 4 to 9)
For the cake:
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing
2/3 cup packed light or brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
For the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two opposite sides. Grease the parchment.
Make the cake: In a stand mixer, beat together the coconut oil, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, and pumpkin on low until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt. Mix on low speed until completely smooth with no lumps remaining, about 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the center is just set, 25 to 30 minutes. Use the parchment paper overhang to remove the cake from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Let cool for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, Make the Frosting: In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes more.
Spread the frosting over the cake. Slice, snack, and enjoy! Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Adapted from “Half Baked Harvest Every Day” by Tieghan Gerard
Another Half Baked Harvest Recipe to Enjoy: Coq Au Vin Blanc Meatballs