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Camp Recipe: Pumpkin Coffee Cake

A warm fluffy treat to celebrate the fall season, this pumpkin coffee cake is great for breakfast, afternoon coffee or dessert.

It’s easy to go overboard with pumpkin spice and turn everything into a pumpkin spiced spectacular. This can lead to some truly bizarre crossover products. Does anyone really need pumpkin-spiced Pringles? Or pumpkin-spiced sparkling water? Probably not.

Slice of pumpkin coffee cake

We prefer to seek out more intentional ways to embrace the now hallmark flavor of the season, which means finding something that is naturally enhanced by the flavor. Originally created as a baking product, pumpkin spice fits best with baked goods. This is why we decided to pair it with the soft and crumbly deliciousness of a coffee cake.

We made this entire recipe from scratch at our campsite, just to prove it can be done. However, the far more reasonable approach would be to combine the dry ingredients for both the batter and the streusel topping beforehand at home. This way you only need to add the wet ingredients to both on-site.

Spreading pumpkin coffee cake batter into dutch oven

One of the reasons we like making this recipe in fall is due to the cold weather. In order to properly make the streusel topping, you need cold butter. Not room temp or cool butter. This task is made easier when it’s relatively brisk outside. The butter crumbled and flakes rather than melts and smushes. Try making this recipe in summer when it’s outside at 90 F and it’s just not going to work.

As a type of quick bread, the coffee cake doesn’t take much time to cook in a Dutch Oven, but you will want a proper ratio of heat. We suggest a 1:3 ratio, which for our 10” inch 4 quart Dutch Oven came out to having 5 coals on the bottom and 15 on top.

Pumpkin coffee cake with streusel on top

Once the coffee cake is baked, it’s best to allow it to cool for a few minutes. However, one whiff of the heavenly smell and we had to cut out a sample slice immediately.

If you’re looking for a more subtle way to integrate some pumpkin spiced goodness into your life, this pumpkin spiced coffee cake might be for you!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Makes 8 servings, 40 minutes of prep time

Pumpkin coffee cake in dutch oven


Coffee Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 vegetable oil

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes


Whisk together 1 ½ cup flour, ¾ cup sugar, 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1 tsp each baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Add in the pumpkin puree, whole milk, and vegetable oil. Wisk to thoroughly blend.

Whisking pumpkin coffee cake batter

Pour batter into a lined 4qt Dutch oven.

Make the streusel topping by whisking together ½ cup flour, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and ¼ tsp salt in a small bowl. Add the butter, then using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly in texture. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Making streusel topping for pumpkin coffee cake

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid, then place on a bed of 5 coals. Add 15 coals to the top of the lid. You’re aiming to create an oven of 350F, so you may need to add or subtract coals depending on the outside conditions.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Carefully remove the Dutch oven from your campfire and lift the cake out.

Enjoy with your morning coffee and maybe a dollop of whipped cream!

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