Pumpkin Coffee Cake for Thanksgiving Brunch

If you know me, you know I’m not great at sitting still.

Not in an “I’m always productive and on top of my life” kind of way but more in an “I’m a little anxious that there’s something better I could be doing with my life” kind of way. Basically, I have really bad FOMO. Is FOMO still a thing? Please advise.

One this most recent occasion, I ended up home from work suuuuper early on the day before Thanksgiving. I had already cleaned my (teeny tiny) apartment, gone for a run, made dinner, visited a friend, and it was still only 7pm.

 As one with FOMO does when they’re bored, I hopped on Instagram to see what more interesting people were up to. I was quickly reminded that most of the US spends the Wednesday before Thanksgiving baking and prepping for their picture-perfect feasts. I found myself hungry, energized, and desperately wanting to bake something sweet for the holiday.

Now, my dad is incredibly particular about Thanksgiving dinner: so much so that the rest of us can’t so much as bring over a side of cranberry sauce without a little bit of side-eye. This allows my mom to cover all the pies and my grandmas to provide appetizers. This year I only signed up to bring a green salad because I was out of options.

Also, let’s be honest y’all, you can’t call it a salad if the only dressing is mayonnaise.

My family’s time-tested coordination meant that when I called my mom looking for suggestions on what to bake she responded with, “for God’s sake we can’t handle another dessert.” That’s when it hit me: Thanksgiving brunch.

I have never been a huge fan of the “don’t eat all day so you can binge at dinner” mentality. So, mimosa and a nice breakfast are always in order on Thanksgiving day.

I realized today’s final hurrah of fall was one of my last opportunities for cozy pumpkin and brown sugar flavors, so I sure as hell was going to make the most of it before drowning in a holiday sea of peppermint. Say hello to:

Cinnamon. Pumpkin. Coffee. Cake. And. Brown. Sugar. Glaze.

Look at it. I have nothing more to say. Oh, except there’s a gooey swirl of cream cheese and streusel in the middle. Pour yourself a big, steamy mug of dark roast and dive in to this beauty.

Have a little cake for breakfast. Today is a holiday, after all.

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze




1.5 cups of unsalted butter

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

½ cup real pumpkin puree

¾ cup of your favorite milk (or use coffee if you’re a traditionalist)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

pinch of salt


8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature


¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ cup of cold butter (grated with cheese grater)

Brown Sugar Glaze:

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter

½ cup half and half or heavy cream

½ cup powdered sugar (be sure to sift it!)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease your favorite bundt pan
  2. Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Then, add in eggs one at a time. Add in milk and pumpkin until liquid mixture is smooth.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, pie spice, and salt slowly until just combined.
  4. Begin making streusel. Mix together flour, brown sugar, and pie spice. Mix in the grated butter with your hands until a crumble forms. Proceed to eat crumble from bowl when no one’s looking.
  5. Spoon 1/3 of cake batter into prepared bundt. Spread cream cheese in an even layer on top of batter. Then top with a little over half the streusel. Smooth the rest of the cake batter on top and sprinkle remaining streusel on top.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until tooth pick inserted in the center is clean.
  7. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. While cake cools prepare glaze.
  8. In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and cream over medium heat. Wisk continuously until mixture starts to boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute and then turn heat to low and let simmer for two minutes
  9. Remove glaze from heat and wisk in powdered sugar. Let glaze cool for 5-10 minutes before spooning on top of your cake.

Happy feasting!

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