Pumpkin Tea Cake

Are you sick of pumpkin-flavored things yet? Yes? No? Either way, this tea cake is for you. Rather than the standard mix of spices that linger in the background and provide a general warmth to a pumpkin-flavored treat, this tea cake goes big and bold with the spices, incorporating a whopping 5 teaspoons of Vanns Ground Cinnamon, 2 tsp. of Vanns Ground Nutmeg, and a pinch of Vanns Ground Cloves. Though it may seem excessive on paper, once you taste this perfectly balanced mixture of spices, you’ll never go back.

Pumpkin Tea Cake

The cake is lightly and moist, with a beautiful topping of raw sugar and pepitas that add the perfect amount of crunch to every bite. It’s the perfect addition to brunch, a great make-ahead dessert for a winter dinner, or just a way to treat yourself at any time of day. 

Spices used in this recipe

Cinnamon, Ground
Nutmeg, Ground
Nutmeg, Whole
Cloves, Ground
Salt, Kosher



  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter or oil and 9”x5” loaf pan and set aside. If you’ve had issues getting breads and cakes out of loaf pans in the past, you can also line it with parchment paper for extra help. 
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a larger bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, kosher salt, and vegetable oil until well-combined and silky smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until the mixture is uniform. 
  3. Using a sifter or fine mesh strainer, sift the dry ingredients into the pumpkin puree mixture. The ground or grated nutmeg may not make it through the sifter — just pour the rougher bits into the mixture once everything else has been sifted through. Whisk the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined — over-mixing will make for a tough texture once baked. If you’ve sifted the flour and see what look like lumps in the final mixture, they are likely just air bubbles.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula. Sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the raw cane sugar evenly over the top of the entire loaf, then sprinkle 2 Tbs. pumpkin seeds evenly over the top of the entire load. Finish with the last Tbs. of raw cane sugar, again sprinkled evenly over the top of the entire loaf.
  5. Bake for around 65 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. To remove, gently run a knife around the perimeter of the pan and then carefully invert the cake onto a cutting board or large plate, being careful not to damage the beautifully crunchy crust on top. Tap the bottom of the pan until the cake comes out. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Yields 1 loaf. The loaf will keep well-wrapped at room temperature for two or three days. It also freezes well — pre-slice the loaf and store in a freezer bag. Reheat slices at 350°F. Adapted from Tartine

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