Pumpkin Espresso Bundt Cake

The changing of the leaves from green to hues of red and orange marks the arrival of autumn flavors. When the weather grows cold and the coats come out of the closet, turning on the oven feels right. In partnership with King Arthur Flour, each month I will challenge you with a new recipe, filled with step-by-step explanations and techniques, to help you grow and develop as a baker. For October, I aspired to bring together my favorite fall flavors in a recipe that is meant to be shared.

This month is all about cake, as we undertake the respected Bundt cake. Bundt cakes are an American classic. Introduced in the 1950s by pan manufacturer NordicWare, the name Bundt refers to the architecture of the pan the cake is baked in, not the type of cake itself. Bundt cake pans are taller than the traditional cake pan, with a hole in the center. The hole has a dual purpose—it gives the cake a unique ring shape and allows heat to reach the center of the cake so it can bake more evenly. 

The Bundt pan used with this recipe is the NordicWare Party Bundt pan. The look is classic, but I love this particular shape because the portions are exceptionally easy to slice.

Traditional whole wheat flour is ground from red wheat. This cake is made with white whole wheat flour, which is ground from white wheat—a slightly different type of wheat, lighter in color and milder in flavor. White whole wheat flour is 100% whole grain and mirrors the nutritional attributes found in traditional whole wheat flour. Its milder flavor makes it a great flour to substitute in many classic all-purpose recipes.

White whole wheat flour is a pantry staple in my kitchen. Adding a little extra nutrition to my baked goods, without compromising the flavor, feels like a superhero power.

The pumpkin cake starts with a mixture of pumpkin puree, eggs, and vegetable oil. The eggs act as a binder between the ingredients, but also add moisture to the final product. The main fat is vegetable oil instead of butter. This makes it dairy free(!), but the neutral flavor of the oil also allows the pumpkin and spice flavors to become more pronounced.

Both granulated and brown sugar is added, for sweetness and a greater depth of flavor, before the dry ingredients are folded in. In this recipe (and most traditional cake recipes), it is important to make sure that there are no lumps in the batter after the final beating. This is especially true for butter cake recipes. Small clumps of butter and sugar left in the batter, often hidden in beaters and the tops of spatulas, will melt in the oven and create holes in the finished cake. 

A well greased Bundt pan is necessary in order to remove the cake in one piece. I find it sufficient to use a heavy layer of cooking spray. When finished spraying, hold the pan up to the light and tilt it, making sure that every crevice is fully covered. Do any touch-ups with the cooking spray now, if necessary.

To create a swirled effect between the pumpkin cake and espresso filling, the ingredients are layered in the pan, alternating between cake batter and a thin layer of brown sugar mixed with cinnamon and espresso powder. Before putting the cake in the oven, tap the pan on the counter to release any bubbles that may have developed when layering.

Though it may be tempting, do not open the oven door while the cake is baking. The rush of cool air into the oven can cause the cake to collapsethis is especially true during the first 20 minutes, when the fragile cake is gaining the most height. When finished baking, cool the cake for fifteen minutes before unmolding.

Unmolding the cake may feel like the most difficult part of this recipe, but it just takes a bit of bravery. Avoid using an off-set spatula to release the cake from the edge of the pan. The spatula can scratch the pan (making it more difficult to remove cakes later) or slice directly into the cake if you slip. Because Bundt pans tend to have ornate designs and curved edges, off-set spatulas can cause more harm than good.

Instead, tap the pan firmly against your work surface to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Cover the top of the Bundt pan with a cooling rack, flip it over, and carefully lift the pan off the cake. 

While still warm, use a pastry brush to apply a coffee rum glaze to the cake. Using a pastry brush instead of pouring the glaze over the cake lets the glaze be applied evenly, allowing the cake to absorb it more effectively. The glaze not only adds another layer of flavor to the cake, but it helps to seal in the cake's moisture, keeping it fresher for a longer period of time. Once the glaze is set and the cake is no longer wet in appearance, it can be cut and served.

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Pumpkin Espresso Bundt Cake is spiced with the classic flavors of autumn and layered with a sweet espresso filling. The cake is glazed with a mixture of strong coffee and rum to bring out the flavors in the filling and seal in the cake's moisture. When served alongside a cup of hot coffee, the cake truly shines. Share with family and friends.

One Year Ago: Vegan Caramel and Rustic Apple Tart
Two Years Ago: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes and Classic Apple Pie
Three Years Ago: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies, Pumpkin Waffles, Spider Cupcakes, and Apple Scones
Four Years Ago: Red Wine Chocolate Cake, Pear Spice CakePumpkin Latte Cheesecake, and Apple Cake
Five Years Ago: Butternut Squash Custard, Pumpkin Bread Pudding, Banana Nut Bread, and Apple Tart

Pumpkin Espresso Bundt Cake

Yields 8-10 servings

Pumpkin Cake
1 1/2 cups (370 grams) pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (177 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (250 grams) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Espresso Filling
1/3 cup (66 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Coffee Rum Glaze
1/3 cup (78 mL) strong coffee
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Heavily grease a 10-cup Bundt pan. Set aside.

For the pumpkin cake, beat together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt until smooth and uniform in appearance. Set aside.

For the espresso filling, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and espresso powder in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

In the prepared baking pan, spoon in 1/3 of the pumpkin cake batter evenly into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of the espresso filling over the top. Spoon another 1/3 of the pumpkin cake batter into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining espresso filling. Layer the remaining cake batter on top and smooth with an off-set spatula.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

While the cake is baking, make the coffee rum glaze by whisking together the strong coffee, rum, and granulated sugar. Brush all of the glaze evenly over the cake with a pastry brush while it is still warm. Serve after the glaze has fully set. 

Bake with me! Show off your finished Pumpkin Bundt Cakes by tagging them with #kingarthurflour.

This post is sponsored through a partnership with King Arthur Flour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.