Worth the trouble…

They say that puppies and babies are made cute so that you don’t want to kill them when they drive you insane (though I have seen some ugly babies in my time so I am not sure how true that is :P ). I must say that as a dog owner, it was a lot easier to forgive my dog for throwing up grass on my $1500 chair (that I saved for over a year for) which stained it permanently, when she looked up at me with those sad little cocker spaniel eyes. Those woeful eyes have saved my puppy many a time from having to take a long walk off a short plank.
In the cooking world there are recipes that drive us insane but in the end they were worth it. This recipe is a case in point. The first time I made it many, many swear words were spewed from my mouth. You see, this is a very easy recipe….until you have to assemble it in the pan. First you lay down the caramel and pecans…and then spread thick batter over that. Umm, that doesn’t work all that well. Then you top that with streusel (that was easy). But then you have to spread batter on top of the streusel. And, that ladies and gentleman is somewhat of a nightmare. After making versions of this cake several times now I can tell you that using both a spatula and your fingers is the way to go. As is dropping pieces of the batter around the cake so that spreading is kept to a minimum.
The whole time I was spreading the impossible I just kept mumbling to myself that this darn well better be worth it! Good news is, it is. This is one of those recipe that the first time I made it I didn’t get to photograph it because I made it at night and the smell was just too over powering and I ate like half the cake. Oops.
The original recipe does not use pumpkin. If you would like to not use pumpkin then omit the pumpkin and use ½ cup buttermilk and ¼ cup sour cream. I decided to add pumpkin this last time to make it a little more festive. I like both versions equally so it is hard to say which way I recommend you make this.

Pumpkin “Cinnamon Roll” Coffee Cake

For the Caramel:
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

For the Streusel:
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 TBSP unsalted butter, sliced
1 ½ TBSP ground cinnamon
¼ tsp table salt

For the Cake:
¼ cup buttermilk
2 TBSP sour cream
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp table salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9-inch pan with nonstick spray.
Stir together the brown sugar, cream and salt for the caramel. Pour into a prepared pan and spread to coat the bottom. Sprinkle pecans over the caramel.
In a food processor, process brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and the salt for the streusel. Pulse until small clumps form; set aside.
Whisk buttermilk, sour cream, pumpkin puree and eggs together and place into a large measuring cup with a pour spout.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer just until combined.
Alternately add dry ans wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry. Blend each additions just until incorporated.
Spread half the batter over the caramel, then sprinkle with half the streusel. Carefully spread remaining batter over that and top with remaining streusel. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool cake  for 5 minutes, then run a pairing knife around the sides to loosen. Invert onto a serving platter while hot, then let cool slightly before slicing. Due to the sticky top, and electric knife is best for cutting, but a sharp, thin bladed knife is fine too.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine December 2005


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  1. I felt the same way about my dog (may she rest in peace) – I’d be mad, but quickly forgot/forgave as soon as she looked up at me with those puppy-dog eyes :-D

    Ah yes, I know those types of recipes well – glad you stuck with THIS recipe, since the end result is a masterpiece!!

  2. Wow! This looks so good!

  3. I enjoy that this comes with a warning of sorts. LOL It sounds (and looks!) delicious. :)

  4. It looks good, though! My coworkers never want to hear about how much of a pain that something was to make, they just like that I make something. I’m also much more critical than they are! I’ve learned just to do the best I can, and something just don’t turn out as I’d expected.

  5. That looks so good!

  6. This looks so good- the ultimate coffee cake!

  7. How tempting… There are just far too many pumpkin sweets for me to try this season!

  8. in spite of the difficulty, the cake turned out beautifully! I could go for a piece right now.

  9. After I read recipes like this, and your caveats beforehand, I want to volunteer to be a taster, and not a baker! Too difficult for this bake-o-phobe!

  10. Um . . . Peabody I really don’t need this. Yes, you know that but let me tell you how much I really don’t need this. I’m doing my own blue air swearing thing right now with three times on a bread recipe and this just makes me crazy that I don’t have this sitting on my plate right NOW! Why don’t I have a piece of this on my plate on my table . . . my fork is ready and I’ll promise to go for a long walk ;)
    Gorgeous and I think the pumpkin sounds grand. You ate half of it, I’m sure I could have taken care of the other half ;)))

  11. Drool. Seriously.

    And I snorted at the ugly baby comment! (But did you CRY when she threw up on the chair? I would have!)

  12. Hmm, I am still firmly in the camp that believes all babies are beautiful. Yes, all! :)
    Wow, is that spreading trouble worth it. It looks so gooey and delicious!

  13. Well put–nice intro! This does look like a cake worth the trouble.

    Oh, and I agree–there are indeed some ugly babies out there!!

  14. This looks SO good! I’ve had annoying recipes like that…especially with spreading. Of course, nothing so impressive as this. Mine is just a brownie (from a mix!) with a symphony bar in the middle. :-) This is yet another good Sunday School breakfast treat. Bookmark for me!! :-)

  15. Okay you have officially combined my two loves – pumpkin and coffee cake. Well, really it’s more streusel than coffee cake.

  16. If it’s that yummy-looking, I’ll go through a little trouble to make it! The pumpkin element sounds like a good thing!

  17. Oh my goodness! I love it! Looks lovely. My cat has completely destroyed my carpet, but she is worth it :)

  18. Oh, what a treat! That Coffee Cake looks incredibly good!

    I know what you mean… I could sometimes “kill” my cats, but their cuteness goes straight to my heart and I can’t do anything else than forgive them ;-P!



  19. dang! this looks sensational. pumpkin is on the top my my list right now – however i am making more savory dishes with it. this is simply fantastic!

  20. I love that top full of walnuts, yummy! Crunch, crunch, crunch!

  21. Two of my favorite things!!! I am making this one morning this week, thanks! :D

  22. This looks worth the extra trouble it may take to assemble. I could go for some of this right now….

  23. That just looks amazing, amazing!

  24. Wow, that looks INSANELY good. I know what I’m bringing to my TG brunch now!!! mmmm….

  25. Yummmm… Looks delish! Definitely looks like it is worth the trouble to make.

  26. Holy cow. That looks awesome. As well it should with all those ingredients! Sometimes it is just worth it though!

  27. I don’t care how much trouble this takes, the end result is mouth watering!!

  28. wow this looks great. It s worth all the swearing :) the final result is amazing

  29. Yeah, there are definitely some ugly babies out there.
    This coffee cake looks definitely worth the effort. I’m bookmarking it. I would make it today, but that would involve a trip to the grocery store for buttermilk and pumpkin and I’m trying to prove to my husband that I’m NOT addicted to grocery shopping.

  30. Oh it sooooo looks worth it! Yum!

  31. Pea, I cannot imagine all that suffering by looking at this gorgeous dessert – but if you say so, I believe it!
    It looks delicious, darling!

  32. i know when our jack russel-chihuahua mix hides under the chair in our living room she has done something…signs of the guilty.

    this cake, btw, looks like something i’d devour half of before photographing it too.

  33. I will definitely make this…with the pumpkin! Any time 2 desserts meet like this (cinnamon roll plus cake, especially) it’s worth baking, for sure…hopefully I’ll still have all my hair after making it, though :P.

  34. I would like to be the absolute first commenter to say this looks fantastic!

    I absolutely know what you mean about those infuriating recipes that are just delicious enough to be worth the frustration. The first time I tried to put peanut butter inside a sticky milk chocolate ganache ball, I thought I was going to cry. Also, can I say strudel?

  35. It certainly looks worth the trouble! And though I’m not usually a pumpkin flavor type of person, I’ve been craving pumpkin flavored stuff this season.

  36. Oh yea, the pumpkin version all the way! That looks so worth the calories X2.

  37. Mmmm, pumpkin or not pumpkin? I think… both!

  38. Would putting the batter in a piping bag and piping it on work?

  39. Oh WOW – does that look decadent and amazing!!!

  40. Pumpkin, caramel, nuts…I see a theme going on here…don’t stop. This looks so moist and delish that it’s worth a few swear words, right?

  41. That cake looks absolutely delectable – I’m glad you persevered.

  42. I’d believe that about the kids – it must be what has kept my 5 yr old alive today – he has only jumped on the baby 5 or 6 times now.

    Anyway, this coffee cake looks so good! I wonder if it would work to dump the batter into a ziploc and ‘pipe’ it on that way? Either way, it looks totally worth it to make! My husband isn’t really a pumpkin fan, but he loves anything if I put nuts on it.

  43. This may be my new favorite cinnamon roll, but I’d stick with cream cheese frosting.

  44. oh yes, my pups can get away with anything indeed. And what a wonderful combination! Pumpkin and cinnamon roll? Oh my god. Droooool

  45. As I looked down the recipes I just kept thinking…you are going to get me fat. OMG! Love nuts, love caramel, love baking, yeah you get it. And even more, I love love love my dog. They can melt your heart like a toddler.
    Thanks for the comment, it feels good when there are others who feel the same. There is far too much negativity out there. Be blessed.

  46. i just wanna say that i read food blogs all the time, and never make anything unless i already have all of the ingredients at home~~well, this looked soooo good that i actually went and bought the things i needed to make it~~it was absolutely DELICIOUS!~~my husband absolutely loved it too!~~for some reason mine was easy to spread~~maybe because i did what you said, and dolloped it around first~~the only difference i see is that on mine, the topping was more firm, and didn’t drip down the sides like yours, bummer!~~but it still tasted absolutely delicious!~~i’m thinking i waited too long to get it out of the pan, and the syrup kind of hardened up a little~~it doesn’t matter though, it was still just DELICIOUS!!!

  47. Nice & Good one

  48. I’m addicted to this cake and I haven’t even tried it yet. It looks incredible!

  49. this looks freakin’ amazing. streusel, caramel, AND cinnamon. be still my heart. :)

  50. Looks mighty decadent!!

    I think I’d approach the batter layer above the streusel using a zip-lock bag & pipe it over and then just even out ;-)


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