Hi Punkin’

When I was a kid mom called me Punkin’. I remember asking her why and she just said “cause you’re my punkin’.” and so it was, I was Punkin. I don’t remember when she stopped calling me that. She may have called each one of us that, but at least for a while it was me.

I’ve always loved pumpkins. I love the smell of ’em when you cut ’em open and I love digging my hand down in one to pull out the strings and seeds. One of our teachers in elementary school brought a toaster oven into our room and after we carved the class jack-o-lantern, we cleaned and toasted the pumpkin seeds. I had never had them before, but for years after that we would toast the seeds when we carved one at home. They never were as good as the ones she made.

One of the things I look most forward to at Thanksgiving is the pumpkin pie. It is, and always will be, my favorite thing that you can make from pumpkin. I will see about sharing my Appalachian Pumpkin Pie this Thanksgiving. I’ve made pumpkin dip, pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars, and pumpkin cake, but if I had to only choose one thing to make for the rest of my days with pumpkin, it’s back to pie. I can almost taste an ice cold slice right now.

But last weekend, when we took a walk through the woods in Cumberland Gap, TN, we stopped off at a little coffee shop for some lunch and I got a cup of their Great Pumpkin coffee before heading off. That cup of coffee inspired me to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake. It’s a marbled cake of pumpkin and coffee, with all the right spice and a creamy icing to top it off. If I could have a second thing I could make for the rest of my days with pumpkin, it would be this cake!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

For this cake you will make 2 batters, one coffee and one pumpkin, and then marble the two together.

Ingredients for coffee batter:

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

6 oz strong coffee

1/2 teaspoon of the coffee grinds from making the strong coffee

Ingredients Pumpkin Batter:

1 cup plain flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup white granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pumpkin puree

Ingredients for milk bath:

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon cloves -reserve 1/4 teaspoon for dusting the cake before serving)

Ingredients for the icing:

3/4 cup butter softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coffee grinds

3 – 4 tablespoon heavy whipping cream


Preheat the oven to 350.

You will need 4 bowls all together to make the two batters. In the first 2 bowls, for each batter, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda. In the pumpkin batter, whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

In the next 2 bowls, for each batter, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. For the coffee batter, beat in the coffee and grinds. For the pumpkin batter, beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.

Prepare a 9 x 13 cake pan by greasing and flouring the pan. Starting with the coffee batter, because it will be thinner, pour all the batter into the pan. Then spoon in the thicker pumpkin batter. Taking a butter knife, run the tip of the knife up and down the batters to marble them, but do not mix them.

Marble the batters by running the blade of a knife from one end to the other multiple times, but do not mix the batters.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. While cake is baking, heat milk, cream, and pumpkin pie spice in the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes. Let it steep while the cake bakes. This will be for soaking the cake once it come out of the oven. Remove the cake from the oven when done and while the cake is still hot, use a fork to poke holes all in the cake. Pour the milk bath evenly over the cake. Let it sit and cool completely before icing.

For the icing, whip the butter until creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until each is well combined. Add the coffee grinds and the whipping cream and beat until well combined and creamy.

Ice the top of the cake and then dust with a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar mixed with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

Chill cake for 4 hours or overnight. Keep cake cold until serving.

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The Appalachian Tale

Memories, recipes, and Tales of an Appalachian Boy.

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