Pumpkin Spice Cake

Autumn is here! I love this time of year. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, Sukkot and Thanksgiving are fast approaching. It is most definitely my favorite season… in part, because of pumpkins! I can’t help smiling when I go to the grocery store and see gorgeous orange pumpkins piled high in the produce section. It’s the symbol of the season.

The pumpkin originated in Central America over 7,500 years ago and made its way throughout North America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Native Americans cultivated pumpkins and prized them as a food source; because of their thick and solid flesh, they could easily be stored throughout the winter. Like other forms of squash, pumpkins are easy to grow. They became a favorite with immigrants to the New World, particularly in New England. Pumpkins were prized for their versatility; they were cooked into pies, stews, tarts, soups, and puddings. The flesh could be boiled or roasted, fried or mashed. Pumpkin seeds were dried and salted as a nutritious snack food. In the early 1800’s, decorative pumpkins called jack-o’-lanterns were carved to celebrate the autumn harvest season. In 1819, Washington Irving featured a jack-o’-lantern in his short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as the “head” of his Headless Horseman character, which likely led to the jack-o’-lantern’s association with the Halloween holiday. In the mid 1800’s, it became stylish to serve pumpkin pies for the Thanksgiving holiday, a trend that continues to this day. As you can see, pumpkins play a large role in American food history.

I love cooking and baking with pumpkin; the flavor is subtly warm and delicious. Pureed pumpkin adds gorgeous color and moisture to baked goods, and a special essence that just feels like fall. When combined with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, pumpkin takes on a magical quality.

Case in point, my Pumpkin Spice Cake. This delicious loaf cake is the perfect treat for a Sukkot harvest-style dessert. When you bake it, your house will smell like autumn. It’s soft, moist, sweet, and delicious. Try topping a warm slice of cake with salted butter for a sweet and salty treat. Serve it with a steaming hot cup of your favorite tea or coffee. Heaven!

I have shared this recipe with Zabars.com. Click here to check it out.


Mixing Bowls

Hand Mixer

Non-stick Loaf Pan

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Pumpkin Spice Cake


  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Servings: 10-12
Kosher Key: Pareve
  • Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let the raisins plump in the hot water while you create the cake batter.
  • Use an electric mixer to mix together sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil and eggs till smooth. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla. Mix again till blended.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  • Pour liquid ingredients into dry. Mix together till blended. Do not overmix.
  • Drain the raisins and pat dry with a paper towel. Fold the raisins and chopped walnuts into the batter.
  • Grease a medium loaf pan. Pour batter into the pan.
  • Bake cake at 325 degrees F for about 1 hour, until the edges brown and a toothpick inserted into the thickest section of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
  • Gently release the cake from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack.
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing.
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Category: Baked Goods and Brunch Fare, Desserts, In the Kitchen, Pareve, Recipes, Slide Show, Sukkot, Thanksgiving, Thanksgivukah, Tomato Free, Vegetarian

Comments (36)Post a Comment

  1. Linda says:

    This look simply delicious Tori! Fabulous pics…love the colors!

  2. Leah says:

    This look so delicious! I love the idea of making it for Sukkot too! May have to do the same.

  3. Now I’m craving all things pumpkin! You’ve incorporated all of fall’s spices and flavor in this wonderful cake! Thanks for the history and the recipe!

  4. Elaine says:

    I happen to have a pumpkin loaf in the oven right now. Sounds similar, but sans raisins and nuts. Nice to smell pumpkin while reading your recipe!

  5. Joy says:

    That looks wonderful.

  6. Beautiful Bread, I love all these autumn recipes but i feel like its going by too fast to make them all. It still feels like a little bit of summers hanging on in southern California but its always like that here. I’ll just have to wait till dark to get the real autumn feel. thanks for sharing :)

  7. Susie says:

    I love pumpkin and the combination of spices in this cake sound warm and fantastic everything I love about fall and baking.

  8. Lovely fall cake! I will need to try-I especially like this recipe due to the addition of the raisins and nuts. It looks very tasty-great post.

  9. This looks heavenly! Perfect to have with my morning cup of joe!

  10. Michelle says:

    Yum!!! I love fall!

  11. Kelly says:

    This looks amazing and your pictures are gorgeous! I’m loving all the pumpkin recipes! :)

  12. Ann says:

    I saw this on the Zabar’s website – it’s a terrific cake! Moist, delicious and I’d LOVE some with a cup of coffee….I’ll make the coffee if you bring the cake!

  13. jen says:

    This pumpkin spice cake looks so moist and beautiful! Your kitchen must have smelled amazing while this was baking!

  14. Claudie says:

    I absolutely love the look of this cake, especially with the walnuts and raisins in it! Looks amazing and so tasty!

  15. RavieNomNoms says:

    That is an absolutely gorgeous looking cake. I love all things pumpkin this time of year. Looks fabulous!

  16. Kita says:

    I haven’t had any baked pumpkin deliciousness yet this season, for I fear I won’t look back once it starts, but this bread – if it were in front of me, I would not be able to resist.

  17. This looks like an incredible cake. I can only imagine how moist & soft it is from the pumpkin. YUM :)

  18. Hannah says:

    Made the cake and it was delicious, even my daughter who is a picky eater loved it!

  19. kristy says:

    I love the addition of raisins and walnuts to this bread! I’m tempted to go make a batch right now. ;)

  20. Pingback: The Shiksa Picks – Tori’s Favorite Finds on the Web 10.14.11 | The Shiksa Blog

  21. Janet says:

    wonderful recipe! I changed it just a tad, doubled the recipe, used 3 eggs and cut the oil back to 2/3 cup. used half white whole wheat flour, added about 2 T flaxseed meal and 2 T wheat bran. doubled the nuts and the fruit! used dried cranberries and cherries instead of raisins. awesome!!! thank you, I love your recipes

  22. Donna Wilkens says:

    Tori, this cake is FABULOUS! I made this today with my 15-year old son – spending quality time with him and creating this amazing cake = heaven!

  23. Carolyn Hastings says:

    This cake (although I consider it more of a sweet bread) was a terrific hit with everyone on Sukkot. I’ve already made and frozen more for Thanksgiving!

  24. Kelly says:

    Wow this looks absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try this myself! :)

  25. Anna says:

    Looks delish!

    What size loaf pan did you use?

  26. Sarah levy says:

    Can I buy pumpkin puree here in israel at the markets? I looked for it and a major super market and couldn’t find it.

    • Lori says:

      When I lived in Israel in the 90′s I could never find pumpkin puree, but I could always find pumpkin chunks in the produce department. I microwaved them till they were soft, then mashed them up and used it cup for cup in recipes. Honestly, it’s not that hard, and it’s tastier than the canned pumpkin!

    • Tori Avey says:

      Lori, thanks for offering a solution! :)

  27. Marty says:

    Is there a Thermomix version of this recipe ?

  28. Coco Galvez says:

    I love this recipe, it’s so rich in flavor, I cannot wait to make it.

  29. MaryC says:

    I make something similar….except that I soak the raisins in spiced rum for at least 6 hours.

  30. Lauren says:

    Bread is in the oven right now – smells great! Made your Mushroom Barley soup today and it was delicious!

  31. Rivka Ester says:

    Living in Israel, I ‘forget’ about Thanksgiving – till I saw this recipe. I was able to find canned U.S. style pumpkin puree, decided to swap the raisins with unsweetened dried cranberries to make it really seasonally appropriate. Yum -give it a try!

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