Weekend Brunch Round 37: Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

After hearing about it for so long, I finally got around to watching Blackfish this weekend. I had actually taped* it when it aired on CNN, but kept putting off watching it since I knew it was going to be a heartbreaking documentary. I was not disappointed! I actually had to rev myself up for it; I was already watching Gasland 2 and I figured I’d have myself a little documentary night. Philip was just an innocent bystander in the matter and was just as depressed by the end as I was. In case you aren’t familiar, Blackfish is a documentary about the horrible reality of orcas in captivity, with the main focus being on entertainment based marine parks such as SeaWorld. I have always disagreed with the concept of animals being kept in captivity for profit, but hearing stories from various trainers who had worked at these facilities was both eye opening and devastating. d6c_1777Overall I think it was an incredible documentary and I highly recommend watching it. Whether you’re for or against animals in captivity, I think it’s always good to hear both sides of the argument, it’s the same reason I like to watch Fox News from time to time….sure it usually ends with me screaming at the tv, but at least I’ve heard their opinion. I’ll admit that I haven’t seen a lot of the animal rights documentaries, I tried watching Earthlings once but had to stop since my eyesight turned into a blurry watering mess from crying so much. I like to think that I don’t need to watch these things but when movies such as The Cove or Blackfish come out, no matter how much I think I know about these subjects, there’s always something new to learn and strengthen my resolve for animal rights. Plus it gives me more of a voice when arguments are at hand, instead of going “I know it’s wrong but I can’t put into words why” I can now say “I know it’s wrong and this is why.” d6c_1801To overcome the horrible feeling left in the pit of my stomach from watching Blackfish, I did what any logical person would do, I made cake.

Odd transition I know, but hey, it’s exactly what I did! I wanted to have a delicious coffee cake to wake up to the next day and with pumpkin in hand I got baking. I’m officially on my last can of pumpkin, I know, crazy right? And when I say last, I mean I’m refusing to open any more. I’ve got 2 to 3 more cups to use up and then I’m tucking the pumpkin away for another year since I’ve pretty much made myself sick of the stuff, and I’m sure you as well. The funny thing is that I still have 5 or 6 more pumpkin recipes I’ve made that I haven’t even posted on the blog yet! I’m thinking a round-up is in order when this is all over.d6c_1795One of my favorite things about this coffee cake is that it’s filled with pumpkin but doesn’t scream all up in your face pumpkin, you know what I mean? It’s more of a subtle flavor. Philip’s feelings about pumpkin are pretty lukewarm but he ate it up and went back for more. Dude even accused me of using Betty Crocker mix! What the what? Ok, he wasn’t totally being serious because them there be fightin’ words, but according to Philip, it’s light and fluffy like a Betty Crocker cake, but ya know, fresh tasting. That Betty chick can make a mean cake, so as far as compliments go that’s pretty rad in my books.d6c_1800The batter is pretty thick, so don’t for a second think you did something wrong and add more liquid, thick is what you want.

This cake is good anytime (duh) but even better when it’s slightly warm. With every bite you get soft fluffy cake mixed with crunchy sweet streusel, gah! So much deliciousness! Totally perfect for breakfast, dessert or directly after watching a sad documentary.


  • Servings: 9-inch cake
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Fluffy moist pumpkin coffee cake, filled and topped with a crunchy streusel and topped with a maple glaze. A simple coffee cake that makes for a delicious breakfast or dessert that's sure to impress.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons non-dairy margarine, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract


  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides.
  2. To make the streusel, in a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add the butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  3. To make the cake, in a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. In a larger bowl, whisk together the milk and apple cider vinegar, let set for a few minutes to curdle, then mix in the pumpkin, sugars and oil. Stir in the flour mixture, being careful not to over mix. The batter will be quite thick.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 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.
  6. When the cake has cooled make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, milk and extract. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Cut into thick wedges and serve.

*I mean recorded. I’m old.

What are some of your favorite documentaries? Have you seen Blackfish?

24 thoughts on “Weekend Brunch Round 37: Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

  1. Lilia says:

    Thanks for the recipe, this cake is another winner and worth trying. I have a quick question, though: since I’m avoiding magarine and earth balance, do you think I could use coconut oil for the crumb topping? Maybe 5 tbsp are too many, though? Your advice is welcome. Thanks.

  2. Cadry's Kitchen says:

    Can you believe I actually haven’t had anything pumpkin all season? You and I balance each other out! It’s not that I take issue with pumpkin. I just never crave it. But if someone brought me a nice, big slice of this coffee cake, I would be all over it. (I can message you with my address if you need it.) 😉

    I haven’t seen Blackfish, but everyone has said that it’s very moving. I did see The Cove. The animal rights documentary I most often recommend is Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home. There are a few graphic parts, but it’s more about the stories of people in the animal industry (like Howard Lyman) who changed their minds and moved towards a more compassionate lifestyle. I have to say, I have pulled way back on watching animal rights films. I get the information in other avenues, and I just can’t put myself through it emotionally anymore. I’m already very sensitive to scripted violence in film and avoid it altogether, and so real violence towards animals is more than I can handle.

    • Maggie Muggins says:

      The funny thing is that I don’t normally crave it either, it’s like I’ve opened a never ending can! I’m very much looking forward to some pumpkin-less eats, I’ve filled my quota and it’s time for something different!

      I found The Cove to be much more traumatic as I really had no knowledge about the cruelty to dolphins and some of the scenes were more graphic then I expected; when I watched Blackfish I went in with some knowledge of places like Seaworld and there weren’t any graphic parts, just extremely sad stories. I’ve heard of Peaceable Kingdom but have yet to see it, I’ll have to add it to my documentary list. Yeah, I prefer not to put myself through such emotional distress, I find that the older I get, the more sensitive I become to such scenes of violence, watching them is too much to handle as it’s bad enough knowing they exist.

  3. coconutandberries says:

    I know exactly what you mean. These films are pretty traumatic to watch but I still think it’s important to be fully aware of what’s going on. Like you, I find it not only strengthens my resolve but helps me better educate others.
    Gorgeous cake! Pumpkin has been my discovery this year. I made my first ever pumpkin pie yesterday 🙂

  4. River - Wing It Vegan says:

    Saw this yesterday. Baked it today. Will blog it tomorrow. Will love it forever! 🙂

    The crumb was so perfect and it had just the right amount of spices and pumpkin flavor. I made muffins instead of one big cake because that’s just what I do. Thanks for sharing!

    You are brave! I cannot watch that kind of documentary without wanting to jump off this planet. Baking a cake is the perfect way to patch up your soul after watching something so horrifying. Good call! 🙂

  5. Prickly Vegan says:

    hi Lilia! I too have been avoiding margarine, because they all contain either trans-fats or palm oil. (and if anyone is worried about animal cruelty, I highly suggest reading up on Palm Oil. Absolutely devastating.)
    I have been replacing various veg oils for margarine in all my recipes, and for the most part haven’t noticed much difference (might need to up psyllium or flax to make some hold together better). Coconut oil should work like a charm though, given that it is solid at room temp. Happy Baking!

    And thanks, Maggie Muggins, for all your wonderful posts. I love the little snippets of life stories you add. Makes at least this little vegan feel less alone. :I

  6. luminousvegans says:

    Wow, this looks so amazing! I haven’t eaten as much pumpkin this fall (yet) as I thought I would at this point. This cake might be the perfect thing to break that streak!

    I saw Blackfish and it was pretty depressing. It reminded me a lot of the book I read called “Death at Seaworld”. They may or may not have been related somehow. There’s no need for you to watch Earthlings since you’re already vegan. It’s really, really tough to watch. I forced myself to watch the whole thing when I fell off the vegan wagon in grad school (cheese). By the end of it, I couldn’t breathe or see from all the crying. But that is ultimately what made veganism finally stick for me.

    It’s good to be educated like you said for intellectual discussions. But I generally don’t like to watch really sad ones anymore. I can’t bring myself to watch The Cove. So I usually get my learnings from books these days.

  7. Katie @ Produce on Parade says:

    You’re braver than me, Maggie! 🙂 I can’t watch any animal documentaries…so sad. I enjoyed your quip about watching Fox News. Hehe. I agree that it’s important to also try to see the other side of the argument. Though it always seems to just reinforce my prominent hippie ways 😉 This cake looks delicious and just perfect after a somber documentary!

  8. Richa says:

    what, i cannot stand watching fox news! that cake looks ridiculously good and all that streusel and glaze. yum

    i cant watch documentaries anymore either. I tried to watch earthlings for a few minutes and was so angry for a few days. i feared that I would start yelling at random people to stop eating whatever they were eating. As it is I can barely stand arguments with friends.

  9. Marianne says:

    I made this into muffins. I used 3/4 of the ingredients and baked the muffins for 25 minutes. They’re delicious! Moist and sweet but not too sweet. Thanks!

  10. Annaliese says:

    Yes! I made this, halving the streusel recipe, and baked it in a 10″ bundt pan, and it was glorious. I added 1 cup chopped pecans/walnuts to the batter, and only topped the batter with the streusel. I also added 1/4 cup more pumpkin to the batter. Will be making this again-perhaps for the holidays! Thanks!!

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