Pumpkin Spice Cake for Breakfast

This is a decidedly uncomplicated cake. More like a bread than a dessert, it fits in the category of simple cakes made with vegetables like carrot and zucchini bread.

The title of this recipe reveals its story . . . it goes well with the kind of breakfast that promises a day-long stay in your pajamas. It is that comforting.

Like day-old bread,  it makes for the perfect piece of toast.

Make this pumpkin spiced cake a day before you want to cut a thick, nonchalant slice from the baking tin, so you can get back to the woolen blanket and exaggeratedly long book you have been saving for a perfectly quiet day at home.


  • 300 grams freshly roasted puree of pumpkin
  • 90 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 90 ml sunflower oil
  • 100 grams raw cane sugar
  • 75 grams dark brown sugar
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 200 grams unbleached organic wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch speculaas spice
  • or the same amount of pumpkin spice 
  • for the glaze
  • 50 grams powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon

You might be inspired to bake this cake with a piece of  leftover roasted pumpkin. I used a piece of the beautiful, velvet-like Crown Prince pumpkin to make my first version of this cake. To make this recipe, any kind of dense pumpkin will do. If you have no pumpkin available, replace it with the same amount of baked sweet potato.

Prepare the pumpkin of your choice as follows. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius, fan on.  Scrub the outer skin of the pumpkin in warm water with a brush or sponge. Cut it in half. With the seeds still in the cavity, lay the pumpkin on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle the pumpkin with salt and bake it 30-45 minutes or until the flesh is soft and golden around the edges. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and allow it to cool before removing the seeds with a spoon.  The seeds can be saved and toasted later. I leave them in the pumpkin halves when roasting because they impart more flavor to the roasted pumpkin flesh, and keep it from drying out too.

Meanwhile, layer a piece of parchment paper in a loaf-shaped tin. Measure the flour and sift it through a medium-sized sieve in a mixing bowl. Wash a piece of fresh ginger root and peel its skin. Grate the ginger directly into the flour (or simply use ground ginger here). Add the baking powder, sea salt flakes and the speculaas spice mixture.

Meanwhile scoop 300 grams of roasted pumpkin flesh out of its skin and puree it in a food processor  into a smooth paste. Add the raw cane sugar, brown sugar, sunflower and extra virgin olive oils and mix the ingredients into a batter. Add the eggs one by one with the machine running, until just mixed.

Make the glaze while the cake is baking by mixing 50 grams of powdered sugar with a pinch of ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of hot water to the sugar and whisk with a fork into a smooth glaze.

Stir the pumpkin mixture through the dried ingredients with a spatula until smooth and pour the contents of your mixing bowl into the loaf tin. Bake the pumpkin spice cake 55-60 minutes, or until the top has a craggy edge. The cake should be moist, but a tooth pick or fork should come out clean before removing it from the oven. Prick the top of the cake with a fork and drizzle the glaze over it while it is still warm.

Suggested combinations

This cake is perfect on its own for breakfast or afternoon tea. If you would like to turn it into a dessert, add a spoonful of mascarpone or ricotta to each slice. A big scoop of warm oven-baked cinnamon apple on top of this cake would be fantastic too.


I live in Haarlem the Netherlands.  I often cycle to a shop in the inner city that has been around for more than 170 years. This place is a combination of spice shop and old-fashioned apothecary where one can easily get lost studying the glass jars displayed on shelves above worn-wooden drawers filled with beautiful ingredients like vanilla beans from Madagascar, saffron threads and pink pepper corns just to name a few.

It is here  I discovered the speculaas spice mixture, the essential ingredient to an iconic Dutch cookie that goes by the same name.

The word speculaas is derived from the verb speculeren, which translates in English to the verbs  to speculate or  to gamble. Just why a mixture of spices carries such a name goes back to 17th century  spice trade history. I will leave that story to culinary historians and end this blog with a guideline to the making of a warm aromatic spice mixture more complex than the pumpkin spice so famous in the United States.

You can use speculaas spices for countless sweet or savory recipes.  When all is said and done, If you don’t have this long list of spices available,  ground cinnamon and ginger with a bit of pepper will be delicious in the cake too !

Ingredients for speculaas spices

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg . freshly grated for the purpose if possible

Mix the ingredients together and save them in a spice jar. Meanwhile cook and bake from scratch; it is the most practical form of art imaginable!

2 responses

  1. Made it today (February) with the last pumpkin harvested in my garden in October. Its perfect. Body an Soul warming, most and full of flavour. Highly recommended when feeling a bit down after another lengthy online meeting.

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