Moist Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake
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A soft, tender slice of moist Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake is perfect for a fall brunch, snack, or dessert. It’s made from scratch but doesn’t take a lot of time to make, and the crunchy, cinnamon streusel topping combined with fluffy pumpkin cake is a truly decadent treat.
Fall has arrived and that means I have full permission to dig into all the wonderful flavors of the season. And what better than pumpkin come autumn?! Pumpkin cupcakes, healthy pumpkin bread, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin layer cake, and even pumpkin risotto. It’s a favorite for a reason.
This particular recipe definitely celebrates it. The pumpkin cake is soft and moist, loaded with fall spices like cinnamon and clove, and it’s topped with a crunchy, pecan streusel crumb that adds a beautiful texture and buttery flavor to every bite. It’s a fabulous dessert, or a treat for breakfast!
It uses the same technique as my blackberry coffee cake to make the crumb topping at the same time as the cake, so it’s from scratch, but easy! My family loves it and I think yours will too.
Ingredients & Substitutions
There are two parts to this recipe, the moist pumpkin coffee cake, and the cinnamon streusel topping. Both use basically the same ingredients and work together to create a beautiful coffee cake with distinct texture and complimentary flavor.
- Flour – All purpose works beautifully here. No need to get fancy with cake flour. If you’d like, you can swap up to ½ with whole wheat flour.
- Sugar – A combination of brown and white sugar makes magic in the crumb of the cake and the flavor. I don’t recommend liquid sugars, but you can swap in natural granulated types like turbinado, cane, or coconut sugar.
- Leavening – With a dense ingredient like pumpkin it’s essential to use both baking powder and baking soda so the cake is nice and fluffy.
- Salt – I always, always add salt to baked goods. Salt doesn’t make things ‘salty’ when used properly, instead it enhances the other ingredients. I use a salt grinder to make my coarse kosher salt fine, but a finely ground sea salt works too.
- Winter Spices – Fall spices, winter spices, whatever you call them, are the warm flavors that we typically see in baked goods this time of year. I used cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Butter – COLD unsalted butter is best for making the fluffiest, tender pumpkin coffee cake. Unfortunately oil will not work, but you can use a vegan butter spread if you prefer. Just watch the salt content so you don’t end up with too much.
- Pecans – The crunch of pecans in the cinnamon streusel topping is like flavor heaven. But you can use any nut you like. Almonds or walnuts would be my top two recommendations. Skip them if you need to be nut-free.
- Oats – I use rolled oats to add a little chew to the buttery, crunchy crumb topping. If you’re skipping nuts, feel free to use only oats instead.
- Pumpkin – Be sure you’re using 100% pure pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. They’re two completely different products, and will affect the flavor and outcome of your bake. I’ve used Libby’s and store brands with no difference. You won’t even use all of a 15 ounce can.
- Egg – One large egg.
- Vanilla – I highly recommend checking out my homemade vanilla extract tutorial, which is what I use in this. Go with pure vanilla, not imitation if possible.
- Milk – Any type of milk can be used here, from whole (what I use) to 2% or even non-dairy milk. I’ve found that oat milk is the best plant-based option!
Pro Tip – Whole spices stay fresh for much longer than ground spices, which can lose potency over time. I recommend purchasing those you don’t use as often in whole form. Simply grind cloves in a spice grinder, and grate nutmeg on a microplane. The flavor is incomparable!
How to use fresh pumpkin instead of canned puree
For anyone not in the US, or those who witnessed the COVID wipeout of pumpkin puree, it’s good to know how to use a whole pumpkin to make puree. It’s pretty simple!
Choose a sugar pie pumpkin or other baking variety. Cut it in half with a sturdy knife and scoop out the seeds (save them for roasting!). Place the pumpkins cut side down on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 45-60 minutes or until they’re ridiculously soft.
Let them cool and scoop out the flesh. Puree! Fresh pumpkin puree can be looser than canned, so I recommend letting it sit in cheesecloth or a fine strainer so some of the water can drain out before using. 1 can is about 2 cups of puree, and we only need 1 ¼ cups!
If you need more detailed instructions, this is a great guide on making your own puree.
My version of pumpkin streusel coffee cake is really simple because we’ll be using a food processor or blender to make quick work of mixing and making the crumb topping.
To start you place all but 3 tablespoons of cold cubed butter into the food processor with the flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and all the spices. Pulse it lightly like you’re making pie dough. Coarse crumbs!
Dump it all into a separate bowl, then return ⅔ cup back to the food processor with the remaining butter, pecans, and oats. Pulse again until a coarse crumb coating forms. This is your streusel topping! Set it in the fridge to chill.
Then combine the pumpkin, milk, egg, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Combine the flour mixture and pumpkin mixture and fold it together. It will have lumps because of that cold butter, it’s okay, I promise!
Use a 9×9 baking dish and spread it until smooth. Then top with the streusel and pop it into a 350°F oven for 40 minutes.
Key Tips for Coffee Cake Perfection
- Know your pan size – I recommend a 9×9 pan. If you choose an 8×8 you’ll need to increase the baking time by 5-10 minutes. Anything larger will yield a very thin cake that bakes faster.
- Measure correctly – I always recommend a kitchen scale for baking. It’s the most consistent way to measure ingredients. Volume measurements (cups) can vary widely based on how much your ingredients are compacted and how you fill them. If you go with volume, make sure you scoop the flour and sugars into the cup and level it before adding it to the mix.
- Serve it warm – Resisting warm coffee cake out of the oven is basically impossible for me. It’s so good warm, and I highly recommend giving the cool cake a quick 10 second burst in the microwave before serving. (With whipped cream or ice cream of course!).
- Store it on the counter – Let the cake cool completely before covering it and keeping it on the counter. It’s best consumed within 3 days.
Yes, absolutely. It holds up nicely in the freezer! Portion and wrap pieces in cling wrap or slide it into silicone bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, rewarm, and enjoy!
Nope. Coffee cake gets its name because of how it’s typically enjoyed – with a cup of coffee. It’s a great excuse to have cake for breakfast, or a nice cup of coffee, espresso, or maple latte for dessert.
Yes. Fill muffin cups only ⅔ of the way to leave room for the streusel topping, then bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.
I don’t recommend it. A bundt cake is baked upside down and would leave you with the streusel ‘topping’ on the bottom. I also don’t recommend pouring the batter over the topping, it wouldn’t yield the same kind of layer or crunch.
More Fall Baking Recipes
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do. It’s a quick and fun fall bake and the cinnamon nut crumb topping is seriously to die for. As my toddler says ‘it’s streusel delicious!’. Let me know how it goes and as always, Happy Eating!
Moist Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake
- 1 9×9 Pan
- Food processor or blender *see Notes
- 230 grams all-purpose flour 1 2/3 cups
- 118 grams brown sugar 3/4 cup
- 160 grams white sugar 3/4 cup
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ground
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves ground
- 113.6 grams unsalted butter 4 oz/8 tablespoons
- 60 grams pecans 1/2 cup
- 50 grams rolled oats 1/2 cup
- 260 grams pumpkin puree 1 1/4 cups
- 1 large egg
- 118.3 mililiters milk 1/2 cup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and cut the butter into tablespoon sized chunks. (If measuring solely by grams, that's 14.2 gram chunks).
- Chill the butter while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
- Place the butter, both sugars, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices into the food processor. Add in 5 tablespoons, or 71 grams, of the chilled butter.
- Pulse until is forms coarse crumbs.
- Dump it into a bowl. Return 2/3 cup of the crumb flour mixture into the food processor and add in the remaining butter, pecans, and oats.
- Pulse until it's coarse and crumb-like. Refrigerate while you finish the batter.
- In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin, egg, milk, and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet bowl and fold it together. There will be chunks from the cold butter, and that's good!
- Pour into your pan and gently smooth so it's level.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Store on the counter, covered, once cooled.
Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.
This is my kind of cake! I love everything pumpkin and the moistness and richness of the spices in this cake are over-the-top delicious! Of course, I never turn down a streusel topping. I will be making this again and again through the winter.
Linda, thanks for sharing how much you enjoyed the coffee cake and you’re right a streusel topping is always great!
The crunchy pecan streusel topping was definitely my favorite part of this cake! It went really well with the pumpkin flavor of the cake.
Veronika, SO happy you enjoyed the streusel topping, it is a great topping for so many things. My mom loves it on apple crisp!
I’m glad I came across this post. I tried this on my birthday and it was a crowd-pleaser. I’ll surely have moist pumpkin streusel coffee cake on repeat! Highly recommended!
What a great birthday cake, I love that everyone enjoyed it so much.
Such an awesome pumpkin coffee cake recipe, it looks incredibly delicious and yummy! The texture and color make it so enticing and tempting! An instant favorite, loved it!
Jamie, I’m happy you not only found it pretty to look at but also enjoyed it do much it is now a favorite!
This pumpkin coffee cake is so moist and delicious . The cinnamon streusel is what makes this cake special and puts a special touch on it . Thanks for the great recipe , I will be making it again.
Thanks so much Debbie! I’m glad you enjoyed it!