Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

The other day my two little grandsons were visiting at my house. When it was time for them to go home, Gavin, the five year old started looking for a blue plane with which he likes to play when he visits. I have toys and books for the boys that are just for use at my house, but the three of us have established a lending policy, too. Both of the boys get to borrow a toy or book until the next time they visit me. When they return the item that they borrowed, they get to take something else home with them. It’s a nice little tradition and helps to teach the boys responsibility while also allowing them to have a special new play item for a while.

Gavin had decided that he wanted to take a blue airplane, but he couldn’t find it. Toys often disappear under or behind furniture around here. Any given toy could be “misplaced” in any given room on any given visit. We find toys everywhere. One night my husband pulled back the cover on his side of the bed to find that there was a line of matchbox cars parked under the covers. His side of the bed also had some dried strawberry milk stains on it, so we knew who the “perpetrator” had been. It was a funny moment and we had to laugh despite the mess.

So, anyway, Gavin couldn’t find the blue airplane. He had looked under the usual furniture for the plane, but it was not there. I told him to go into the living room and look in more unusual places. A few minutes later Gavin came walking into the kitchen with a disgusted, irritated look on his face. “Mom-mom? Here’s one of your pumpkins from last year,” he said as he plopped a small ornamental pumpkin down on the counter top. He continued to look at me as though I was a completely scatterbrained dingbat.

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

Hmmm. Somehow one of the miniature pumpkins which may or may not have been carried around in a certain toy shopping cart by one of the half pints, may or may not have either been deliberately or accidentally placed under the couch. The really interesting thing is that the pumpkin simply dried out instead of rotting. That’s good news. The amusing thing was how Gavin was blaming me for having been careless with the pumpkin. Seriously? What would I have been doing playing around with a miniature pumpkin?

The plane was never found and when I offered the dried pumpkin as a replacement, I was met with a glare. All of this was from a kid who has been known to keep rollie-pollies in his pockets and hide his dead goldfish behind the plant in the living room. Picky, picky, picky.

I had planned and written a different intro for this post, but what with the discovery of that dessicated pumpkin from under the living room sofa, I am saving the other intro for a different post. Some things are just meant to be.

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

The recipe for this Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake was derived from a previous post, Cinnamon Roll Cake. I made some substitutions and additions and holy smack-a-rolly I found a new path to food heaven. This cake has the stamp of approval from numerous health-care professionals of various national origins and political leanings. The two biggest questions were: 1) Does this have walnuts or pecans, and 2) Did you actually eat some of this yourself?

Regarding the first question, there were bets laid as to which nut I had used and much gloating and glee were had by the winners. (I used pecans.) Regarding the second question, yes I had actually eaten my own cooking, hence the reason for there being only 1 1/2 cakes brought to work instead of a full 2 cakes.

So that there will be no mistakes about the outstanding qualities of this cake, please note that it contains pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, butter, and sugar. As if this was not nigh unto completely sinful enough, I also added pure maple syrup to the glaze. Be sure to genuflect when you read the recipe.

pumpkin cinnamon roll cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Recipe adapted from Cinnamon Roll Cake as found at The Girl Who Ate Everything


    For the Cake:
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) real butter, melted
  • For the Topping:
  • ½ cup real butter, softened
  • ½ cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, (optional) (always measure the nuts first then chop them)
  • For the Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9” x 13” glass baking dish. Please note: if you are using a dark metal pan, bake the cake at 325-degree F. If you are using a light metal cake pan, then the cake may be baked at 350-degrees F. (I used a glass baking dish.)
  2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs. Add milk, pumpkin, and vanilla and whisk together.
  4. Once combined well, slowly stir in the 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix until smooth. Set aside.
  5. To make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, pumpkin, brown sugar, flour, and pumpkin spice. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.
  6. For the cake: Add the liquid ingredients from steps 3 and 4 to the flour mixture from step 2. Stir together just until ingredients are well combined. The batter is rather stiff.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread evenly.
  8. Drop the prepared topping evenly over cake batter by tablespoonsful. They will be fairly close together. Using a knife, marble/swirl the topping through the cake. Simply move the blade of the knife back and forth through the cake batter and topping; across the pan, then up and down the pan. Place the blade of knife deep into the batter, even scraping the bottom of the pan. This batter is on the thick side and it will take effort on your part to get some of the topping to work down into the batter. Don't overwork the topping and cake batter together. You don't want to be a homogenous mixture. There will be areas where it is mostly cake and areas where there will be mostly topping. Some of the topping will rest on top of the cake, and some of it will go completely through the cake. If it looks like a big mess, then you have done it all correctly. 🙂
  9. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out nearly clean from center. You want to make sure that the cake is done, but don’t over-cook it. In my oven, the cake took about 35-37 minutes.
  10. Remove cake from oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes while you assemble the glaze.
  11. Place powdered sugar, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake.
  12. Allow the cake to cool before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.


This cake is very rich. It can easily feed 15.




  1. says

    OMG, you are so evil. That looks so good my mouth is just hanging open. Thanks for the laugh over the pumpkin and boys being boys. I used to find rollie-pollies, worms and rock in the pockets of my boys jeans.

  2. says

    Beautiful recipe, photos and story. I bet that was so funny. We have a dog that hides things in the bed such as crunchy dog treats. My husband has found them in his suitcase while traveling too. Very cute! I also love the idea of toy/book exchange – great lesson. I’ll take a cinnamon pumpkin roll now!

  3. says

    ok. 1. you are so inventive. 2. you are so funny. i mean “holy smack-a-rolly” just killed me. and 3. everything you make looks so good!!!!! nicely done, once again. nicely done. -carol

  4. says

    No way! That same thing happened to me last time I commented on your blog. I returned to my own blog and found a comment from you. Are we on the same wavelength or what? I agree…kindreds. Plus, we are the only people awake at this hour!! LOL! It was great hearing from you, as always. I love your idea for peach-raspberry-lemonade-wassail at Christmas. Very clever way to resolve your space-time conundrum. (loved that, by the way!) I agree, it would be so nice to be a kid again and feel like Christmas takes FOREVER to get here. Where did the long carefree days go? And funny thing, we were just talking about carrot juice at my house because when I was a kid, my cute grandma got a juicer and threw a bunch of carrots in there along with an apple (for sweet flavor) and told us to drink up! I have to be honest. I never tasted the apple. Unfortunately. LOL!!

  5. says

    OH WOWZERS! This moist cake is calling my name for sure. Loved your story about the lost plane..and the found pumpkin. Too cute! Thanks a million for linking up at Weekend Potluck…please come back soon.


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