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’ve noticed it’s largely those pita recipes (pain in the @&!) that leave us feeling most triumphant. This coffee cake looks like it’s definitely worth any trouble assembling it might turn out to be.

  2. That does seem like a pain to make, but damn it looks delicious! I don’t know if it would be worth the effort since I may eat the whole thing in one sitting….

  3. I agree definitely worth the trouble yumyum!!!…I am gonna make me one of these

  4. i can’t even make a good scone right now… i’m sure that this would drive me over the edge but it would be well worth it, i think.

  5. Oooh, that caramel! I’m going to be dreaming of this tonight!

  6. Wow, that looks so amazing

  7. This was delicious – thank you for the recipe!

    I made the regular (non-pumpkin) version, and it was out of control yummy. It was a bit of a pain to assemble, but your warning had me expecting worse so I was pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a keeper.

  8. Wow and Yum!

  9. Yes, my dog gets away with way too much because he is so cute! And this looks great!!

  10. Looks so worth it to me. Just scrumptious. I want a piece now,

  11. mmmm it sure looks like it was worth it! lovely idea to add the pumpkin flavor to this

    oh and those puppy dog eyes are pretty hard to get upset at huh? our dog is the best at looking pitiful!

  12. I made this today (pumpkin version) and it came out great. I wasn’t sure whether you meant a round or square pan. I used a round pan and baked for 58 minutes Thanks so much, I love your blog!

  13. Oh my God… It sounds perfect !

  14. Made this tonight (omitted the nuts) and it was a huge hit! Absolutely delicious, Thank you!

  15. Making this tomorrow!!!


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