Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown-Sugar Streusel

Yesterday I woke up to darkness and rain. I was absolutely giddy with excitement. It was reminiscent of an early autumn morning. The kind of mornings I have yearned for the last couple of weeks. When early August strikes, I begin to have the overwhelming desire for cool, crisp days that require jeans, light sweaters, and closed toe shoes. But most of all, fall baking. Baking with apples and pumpkin. The beautiful warm fall spices, and the intoxicating aroma that it creates in your home.
So, yesterday, instead of hoping on the treadmill, on a cool and rainy morning, I decided to get a start on fall baking. I absolutely love the process of baking, almost more than tasting the outcome. It’s extremely comforting to me. And in the early morning, the sun barely up, and rain pattering on the windows, I was truly comforted. I was slow and methodical baking this cake, as it marked the beginning of my favourite season. Fall.
I wish you could have smelled my home, it smelled absolutely amazing as the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger filled the house. It made me yearn for the cool breeze, and the whisper of fallen leaves swirling on the ground.
Not only did it smell good, it tasted amazing. So much so, that the cake was gone in one afternoon. The cake is moist from the addition of pumpkin and yogurt, has a beautiful crunchy top from the streusel, and a perfect sweetness from a swirl of vanilla glaze on top. The original recipe called for toasted pecans, and since I’m not much of a nut person, nor did I  have any, I opted to keep them out. However, I think that next time I will add them because I think they would add a nice crunchy texture and wonderful flavour. That being said, it was amazing without them. You decide. But let me tell you, I will be making this again. That is for sure.
Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown-Sugar Streusel

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: one 9-inch cake

A rich and moist pumpkin coffee cake with a streusel middle and topping, drizzled with vanilla glaze.


    For the Streusel:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup chopped, lightly toasted pecans (optional)
  • For the Cake:
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or slightly less table salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup homemade or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and position rack to the middle position. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Alternatively, you can use a 9-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides.
  2. For the streusel:
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add in the pieces of butter, and using a pastry cutter, or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs have formed. Mix in the toasted pecans if using.
  4. For the cake:
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until it is well combined. On low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add in the pumpkin puree and sour cream and mix on low speed just until combined. Fold in the flour mixture by hand. Batter will be thick.
  7. Evenly spread half of the cake batter in the cake pan, and then top with 1/3 of the streusel. Evenly spread the remaining cake batter, then top with the remaining streusel topping.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool.
  9. For the glaze:
  10. In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.


To toast the pecans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chopped pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes.

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  • Natalie Faith Clark

    I never comment on blogs…sometimes, because I’m completely disappointed in the results of the recipe. Well…I HAD to come back to your site – not once, not twice, but three times the past month, because I made this recipe THREE TIMES in a month! Haha! It is SO good – Jessica! I mean GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!! I warm it before serving each time, and I can’t brag enough about this recipe! I’m not sure where you got it from – or if you created it – but THANK YOU! A new staple in our house for the Holidays! XO

  • Aileen

    I just made this cake with whole wheat flour and it is delicious! I just finished my 2nd piece.

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Aileen, so happy to hear you made this cake and are enjoying it. Thanks for letting me know about the whole wheat flour as I’m sure others would be keen to know. Enjoy and thanks for taking the time to comment :)

  • Dee

    Made this cake with fresh pumpkin puree I blended and it was amazing! Everyone loved it and it was gone within the same night! Making it again now :)

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Dee, so happy to hear everyone enjoyed it! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Enjoy the next one :)

  • betty

    Tl; dr

  • Alex S

    I just made this with dark muscovado for the cake part because I only had enough brown sugar for the streusel. So delicious! I had exactly 1/2 cup of pecans left and then burned them while they were toasting. Bummed I had to leave them out but it was still so good!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Alex! So happy to hear that you enjoyed the cake! Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Craig Tulloch

    Found this recipe by chance on tumblr and had to make it. I took it into work this morning and it was gone soon after. Everyone very appreciative. Thanks for sharing and for your clear instructions.
    Here’s my attempt

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Craig,
      Your cake looks fabulous! So happy everyone enjoyed! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Isabel

    Hi Jessica! I just took the coffee cake out of the oven! It’s fabulous and the smell soo wonderful!! Can’t wait to bite into it :)
    Do you mind if I post your recipe on my blog with a few variations and my pics? Of course, I shall link your page for the original recipe

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Isabel, Hope you enjoy…it’s one of my favourites! You can absolutely share on your blog! Thanks!

      • Isabel

        Hi Jessica
        Thanks! I made it and it was really delicious :)
        I published the recipe on my blog and made a few changes.
        I also published the link of your blog

        • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com Jessica

          Thanks, Isabel! So glad you enjoyed! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Wendy

    You said to add salt for the streusel but I do not see how much salt

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Hi Wendy,

      Sorry about that, I have adjusted the recipe. Just a pinch of salt will do. Enjoy!

  • Marcie @ Flavor the Moments

    Hi, Jessica! I’ve had this recipe pinned forever and finally made a similar version, which I am posting tomorrow. It came out great! You seem to love pumpkin as much (or more) as I do. I intend to try the scones and possibly the donuts!

  • http://www.facebook.com/raif.copeland Raif Copeland

    I can smell and taste this in my imagination! Recipe printed. Will be making it this winter.

  • domesticfits

    Gorgeous photos! And this would be perfect the day after Thanksgiving with a giant cup of coffee

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much!

  • Bradi

    I made this tonight, my family is fighting over who gets to have it for breakfast!! I also made your carmalized apple oatmeal the other day it was also a big hit. Thanks so much.

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      So glad your family enjoyed this Bradi!! Thanks for stopping by to let me know!

  • Heather Hands

    YUM. I am just about to make a pumpkin cake myself. I too just woke to darkness and rain. My house smells like spices, the fireplace is going. What a wonderful time of year .

  • Melody

    I’m going to be making this for thanksgiving dinners next week! I will let you know how they turn out. Also, is there a difference in taste if you use yogurt or sour cream?

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Awesome! I don’t think so, I almost always use plain yogurt in all my baking when it calls for sour cream. The trick is to use plain yogurt (not flavoured), and I typically like to use a balkan style yogurt.

  • Miryam Quinn Doblas

    These are just awesome pictures. I love them. They look so professional, and lets not forget about the cake :-) Perfect for the fall.

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Thanks so much Miryam!

  • Faith

    I’m making this as the weekend dessert/brunch! I can’t wait it looks amazing and anything pumpkin is always welcomed!

    • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

      Awesome! Hope you enjoy it!

      • Faith

        I did it was AMAZING and my house smells AMAZING! I did add nuts and raisins and the streusel was very visible! I used Greek yogurt vanilla as well! New follower first recipe from your site and I’m in love so thank you!!

        • http://www.portuguesegirlcooks.com/ Jessica |Portuguese Girl Cooks

          Great! So happy to hear it, and I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by to let me know. Have a great night!

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