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Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel

Lighter than you would expect, with the rich flavor of pumpkin and spices, and a thick layer of crunchy brown sugar and pecan streusel, this coffee cake would make an ideal dish for the winter holidays or for a festive autumn brunch. Serve with big steaming cups of joe.

Ingredients:

For the streusel:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (see note below)

For the batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides.

To make the streusel, in a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss in the butter and, using 2 table knives or a pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Alternatively, whir the ingredients in a food processor. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.

To make the batter, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and mix with the spatula. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick.

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the streusel and spread the thick batter as best you can. Top with the remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the sides from the pan and slide the cake onto the rack.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Cut into thick wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch coffee cake

Baker’s note: To toast pecans, preheat an oven to 325°F. Spread the nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2011).