Latest Mixtape:

Shop the TK market: Private: Tee + Vinyl Bundle

tee_bundle Buy it now

Pumpkin Tea Cake: I Knew This Would Happen

Pumpkin Tea Cake

I should have known. When I made this tea cake that it would go straight in my belly. And fast. As most crumbly, moist, and tender little cakes do. I haven’t always been a fan of Fall. Fall used to mean the end of long summer days. Dark mornings. But somehow, Fall made its way into my heart and hasn’t really left. I do still have trouble getting out of bed in the darkness. And I do not always appreciate dreary days. But what I love about Fall is that it reminds me of the Earth. The rich hues of browns, oranges and yellows. The Fall produce–always slightly covered with dirt. It all just kind of reminds you of being really, really alive.

The more I love Fall, the more I love pumpkin. I have yet to openly like pumpkin pie, but I do love my pumpkin breads, pancakes, cookies, soups, stews. I can go on and on. Naturally, after spending literally five minutes in a Trader Joe’s, where canned pumpkin seems to overtake every aisle entryway at this time of year, I picked some up. I didn’t have a specific plan–and I tend to get myself into these situations with my pantry. I stuff it to the brim with ingredients that sound like they could, one day, be delicious. I try to match them together as I do with people I introduce at parties–”You like to bike? Well my friend here is a big biker!” I get really enthusiastic, and sometimes these people…err, ingredients…become really good friends. And sometimes, they don’t.

I flipped through my cookbooks when I got home, and my eyes stopped at the pumpkin tea cake. In any other book, I think, it would probably be called a bread, but I was sold on the name and happily put my trust in Tartine. This tea cake reminded me of British tea time and scones and everything sugar and spice. So of course I had to make it (in my awesome yellow stand mixer!!).

Pumpkin Tea Cake

I followed the recipe pretty closely, though I did up the pumpkin factor by using an entire can of pumpkin, which made my cake very, very moist. I think that the difference between this cake and the typical pumpkin bread is that the crumb is much, much moister, and the pumpkin flavor is much, much stronger. I ground my own cloves using a mortar and pestle, so you could really taste the spices. And while I was at first concerned about the significant amount of cinnamon in the recipe, I actually didn’t find it overpowering at all.

While this cake is of course truly phenomenal as an accompaniment with tea, it works just as well for breakfast, or a mid-afternoon picnic (which is how we ate it–at beautiful Bella Winery up in Healdsburg).

Pumpkin Tea Cake

Pumpkin Tea Cake
recipe c/0 of Tartine Bakery cookbook

1 2/3 cup of flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of nutmeg
2 pinches of ground cloves
9 ounces of pumpkin puree (I actually used an entire can, which made the cake a little wetter)
1 cup of vegetable oil (sunflower, canola or safflower)
1 2/3 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs
2 tablespoons of raw sugar
raw pepitas

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Butter the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a medium mixing bowl.
4. In a stand mixer (or another mixing bowl), beat the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt until well mixed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, without over mixing.
5. Beat in the dry ingredients at medium-low speed until just combined. Continue to mix until smooth.
6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and sprinkle with the raw sugar and pepitas.
7. Bake for about one hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Keep in mind that if you use the entire can of pumpkin puree, the cake will come out moister. Serve at room temperature and keep in an airtight container for about a week.

Musical Pairings: Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog + Pumpkin Tea Cake

Iron & Wine‘s The Shepherd’s Dog is a beautiful and warm album; perfect for a relaxing afternoon or quiet evening. The Shepherd’s Dog is Iron & Wine’s most lush, full-bodied album to date. Whereas his early demos and debut album, The Creek That Drank the Cradle, were sparse featuring little more than Sam Beam’s plaintive, intimate lyrics and resonate acoustic guitar; The Shepherd’s Dog features a full band and layered, intricate musical compositions that borrow from a diverse array of genres. Importantly, what remains constant is Beam’s wistful, autumnal songwriting, and as a result this is a perfect album to pair with the pumpkin tea cake recipe Kasey prepared as dessert for a mid-October picnic and wine-tasting in Healdsburg, California. To read more, head over to Musical Pairings @ eating/sf. –Matthew

Print this recipe

Posted by Kasey


Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Megan Soto

    Thanks for posting this! I've been looking for a good pumpkin cake recipe. :) Think I'll add some cream cheese frosting.

  • Kasey

    Megan, you'll have to let me know how the cream cheese is with it!

  • Megan Gordon

    Ha–I can relate to the analogy you make with introducing people…I'm infamous for trying to find any small similarity to try and bring people together. The bread looks great. I'm on a pumpkin kick, too. I must say, I fear the Tartine cookbook like no other. For some reason, the way it's written (small font, rather technical) has always turned me off–but I may jump in with these!

  • Kasey

    Megan (Gordon :)), I'm so glad someone can relate haha! I have carefully bookmarked 4 recipes in the Tartine cookbook. The others totally terrify me. I mean, croissants??? Come on. But, everything I've made so far has proven to be delicious, and quite simple.

  • Angie

    Hey, Do you think would turn out if I poured it into a 9×13 cake pan? This sounds great and I'd like to serve a pumpkin cake at a baby shower this weekend…

  • Kasey

    Angie, Hmm…Turning this batter into a cake might actually dry it out. But, I have been eyeing this recipe, and you might want to give it a try if you're aiming for a cake: that helps!

  • Lynda

    Lovely recipe and photos, too. I understand why it was so good to eat. Happy you left some cake for the nice pics!

  • Kasey

    Thanks, Lynda! It didn't last long :)

  • Anonymous

    I actually tried this recipe before you posted this entry. I thought the bread was super moist but lacked a bit of spice. I made an additional batch and this time added 1/2 teas. of ground ginger. PERFECTION!

  • Kasey

    Ohh,I bet ginger would add a nice warmth/zing to this. I will have to try it next time–thanks for the tip!

  • Sara

    Thanks for posting this (a whole year ago!) I was in the process of making the tea cake from my Tartine book this morning and was a little shocked by the amount of cinnamon. In fact, I went online looking for an errata sheet! Found your site, and your review was very helpful. Guess I'll go ahead and dump in all that cinnamon. Thank you!

Get the pairings box:A curated food and music discovery experience

6 Month Gift Subscription Subscribe

In season now:

Shop the TK market: Cookbook In A Recipe Box

cookbooklead Buy it now

Latest Feature:

Latest Pairings Box:

Recently on the turntable:

See all Stories from the Turntable > >

Recently in the kitchen:

See all Stories from the Kitchen > >