A Dream and A Pumpkin Coffee Cake


future site of Francesca’s Café.

or at least i wish i could write that.

i want to own a coffee shop in our little downtown, be a barista.

serve a cup of coffee in a ceramic mug with a smile, and exchange witty humor with our customers (that’s my husband’s area of expertise truth be told).

my display case would showcase a selection of cakes, scones, cookies and muffins made right at the shop. maybe adding lunch items with fresh local ingredients, when the business took off.

i would have comfortable seating, earthy tones, schoolhouse lighting, tables with flowers from our garden… and coffee shop music filling the room while customers are reading a paperback book or sitting in front of their laptop, sipping on a cup of coffee and munching on a cranberry orange scone. or maybe munching on a blueberry muffin and having an intellectual conversation with a friend or nearby table about the election or other important topics, like who is going to get kicked off of Hell’s Kitchen that week.

and i would be open during the winter, in the evening.  something about coffee shops and late night coffee, snowflakes falling outside, street lamps on… so comforting… magical time.


i would also like to move into an Airstream and travel. but reality kicks in and fear. poof, dreams are gone. at least for a little while.

but for now, i can bake a Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping  and brew a cup of coffee at Francesca’s Casa. and while eating a slice of that pumpkin coffee cake and sipping on a cup of coffee from the barista (my husband), i can doodle my dream coffee shop, called Francesca’s Café.

what is your dream?





img_1033-4 Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping

halved for two and adapted from Williams Sonoma’s recipe


  • 2 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted*

*Preheat oven to 325. Spread pecans on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.


  • 3/4 flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup sour cream


  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted*
  • 1/2 tsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

*Tip:  When a recipe states to sift, I use a fine mesh sieve to sift the ingredient(s). 

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 6-inch springform pan with a no-stick baking spray.

Prepare the streusel.  Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and using a pastry cutter cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in pecans.  Set aside.

Prepare the batter.  Sift (see above tip) together flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat paddle attachment, mix together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high until combined. Beat in egg, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Stir in the pumpkin puree and sour cream.  Stir in the flour.

Spread half of batter into springform pan.  Sprinkle half of streusel on top. Dollop remaining batter and spread the batter.  Top with remaining streusel.  Bake until toothpick in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.



Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the sides.  Allow to cool.




Prepare the glaze.  In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the cake.


note:  this is not a low cal recipe.  just make sure you run a few miles before eating. cannot guarantee there will be no eater’s remorse.



p.s. i am obviously on a food post kick.  if you are annoyed, sorry.  if you are happy, yay!



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