Pumpkin Spice and All Things Nice

Nice things are happening. So is this pumpkin spice cake.

Even better, it happened and it’s still happening. That’s because the recipe makes two cakes! Dos. Deux. So you can carefully wrap one cake and bring it with you to please the palates of friends AND leave one cake at home so you can cut a slice when you’ve got a hankering for something seasonal and sweet.

Other nice things in life lately…

Los Gigantes! Victorious and World Series bound. Again.

San Francisco in October; warm days and starry, sonic nights.

Wine country crush, tastings and tequila with Rhubarb and friends.

Speaking of Rhubarb, it was three years ago over Halloween weekend when I visited her and Katie in Chicago. Charlie was only 3 months old. She was dressed up as a holiday pumpkin. She slept while I cooked this Pumpkin Risotto and Pat made an incredible pork tenderloin. We went on a walk around Wicker Park after dinner, so full and tipsy and tired, Charlie asleep in her stroller. Rhubarb, who when we were 19 years old had been my partner in crime, my confidante, my bossy boots antidote, was now a mom. Things were changing. So, it seemed only right to bring a pumpkin cake up to Sonoma to meet Rhubarb and Pat over the weekend. Apparently, a little pumpkin and a lot of love are what binds us.

The cake was a hit. And, guess what? I made it with gluten-free flour. And no one could tell! My colleague Jessica graciously hooked me up with her discount at Williams-Sonoma for Thomas Keller’s Cup4Cup. So I subbed it in, cup for cup. Cinchy. The batter was quite thick and congealed, but once I managed to spread it around the bottom of the cake pan it baked up just right. Moist and light with a delicate crumb. You can use regular, all-purpose flour of course but if you want to take the gluten-free route, you won’t be disappointed. I swirled full-fat Greek yogurt into the batter instead of marscapone and it worked really well. A sprinkle of chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds on top and boom! This pumpkin cake will spice up your life.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Adapted from Saveur.com

Makes two 8″ or 9″ cakes


3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups sugar

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

about 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt, softened (I used Fage Total)

handful of chopped walnuts

handful of pumpkin seeds


1. Heat an oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two cake pans (8″ or 9″) and set aside.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and salt and set aside. In another larger bowl, mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture and mix well. Divide batter between prepared pans.

3. Using a spoon, drop spoonfuls of yogurt on tops of each cake, spaced about 2″ apart and using a knife, swirl yogurt into batter. Sprinkle nuts/seeds over cakes and bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.


3 thoughts on “Pumpkin Spice and All Things Nice

  1. Another great looking recipe–a treat after your Mulligatawny soup. Good recipes, excellent text, terrific photos, and our Gal Happelsauce. All things very nice.

  2. Pingback: Falling for Pumpkin Pie « happelsauce

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