This will make you Fall in love

On Monday, my fiancé was going to a local community meeting and so I got to try out this month’s Food and Wine Baking Bucket List Challenge (month 7, wooo): Maple Pumpkin Pecan Snacking Cake. Unfortunately, I had work to do so I couldn’t make it, but he came back with an empty box with the reviews came back and they were two thumbs way up.

I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin flavors but Fall does call for it, and thankfully for me and other iffy-pumpkin eaters, these didn’t end up super pumpkinny. I was pleasantly surprised at how soft,  moist, and with a nice crunch of the pecans these turned out to be. The texture of this snacking cake is similar to a coffee cake, but softer, with notes of pumpkin and maple to balance the flavor profile.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces pecans (a little over a cup)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons demerara sugar for sprinkling (can substitute brown sugar)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease an 8-inch square cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, toast the pecans until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer half of the nuts to a small food processor and pulse until a coarsely ground flour forms. Roughly chop the remaining pecans over a cutting board into small sized pieces. Add both the pecan meal and loosely chopped pieces to the bowl of dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until very smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the surface of the cake batter with the spatula and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be crispy from the scattered sugar coating. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Yield: 8 servings

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