Pumpkin Pudding Cake with Fresh Nutmeg Sauce

Pumpkin Pudding CakeIt's putting it mildly to say I've been eating a lot of pumpkin flavored foods this fall. Last month I told you all about my favorite pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, today I am going to tell you all about my Pumpkin Pudding Cake with Fresh Nutmeg Sauce (drooling yet?!), and next week there is even more to come.

I made my mother's recipe for Pumpkin Pudding Cake last week in Cooperstown for a family gathering. I am not usually one for molded desserts, but this particular cake lends itself nicely to being made in a mold. It has a dense texture that holds it's shape well, but doesn't look at all off-putting or resemble any sort of gelatinous concoction from prior centuries. Today is my fun monthly Friday post with my Let's Lunch crew of Cheryl, Ellise and others. Our theme is fall dessert and I am so excited to share this one.

Glass Pumpkin When I was making this in Cooperstown last week my mother and I had loads of fun trawling through my grandmother's old collection of cake molds. My Grandma Pat was an ace baker, which makes me think these skills might be genetic. I wish I'd had my camera nearby when we were going through the boxes, I found some really cool things that I can't wait to share in the future. For example, her Easter lamb cake mold. It weighs about 4 lbs, is beautifully shaped, and reminds me of the vanilla cake with fluffy frosting she would make me on Easter Sunday. Other treasures included the cake tins she used to bake wedding cakes for church parishioners, as well as her gigantic punch bowl and holiday wreath mold. For my pumpkin pudding cake I chose to use one of her more classic bundt pans. The batter for this recipe should be poured into a 2 quart mold, and since her molds were all too big, at 4qts or larger, I decided the bundt would be best.

Le Creuset Pumpkin Spatula
Making the batter during my daughter's naptime was a snap. (It also didn't hurt that she was so exhausted from the doing morning errands with Grandma she took a three hour nap!) After I poured it into the mold I kept an eye on the oven while I prepared the sauce. If the idea of fresh nutmeg sauce sounds appealing, let me reassure you, it is indeed as delicious as it sounds. It is essentially the same as a nutmeg custard, which was especially easy for me to make since I became an expert custard-maker after three months of making ice-cream last summer. The key to making this sauce is stirring constantly to make sure it doesn't boil over. Just keep making circle with your spoon as instructed and it will thicken up into a beautiful, smooth custard sauce that smells simply awesome.

After the pudding cake cooled I cut a few pieces and drizzled some sauce on it for a sampling. The cake was rich and dense, almost like a pound cake but with a creamier finish. It had a warm pumpkin flavor that was further enhanced by the smooth nutmeg custard. In fact, my father commented that is tasted like a rich pumpkin pie and whipped cream, only without a pie crust.

Pumpkin Pudding Cake When I serve this at a party I either pre-slice it with sauce on the side, or leave it whole for people to slice themselves. There are many great ways it can be presented and I encourage you to see what looks best on your table. In the mean time, if you are looking for more pumpkin dessert ideas stay tuned. There are many more delicious fall treats to come!

Pumpkin Pudding Cake with Fresh Nutmeg Sauce
adapted from my mother and our neighbor, Nancy
For the cake:

1 2/3 c. flour

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. ground cloves

1/3 c. shortening, softened

1/3 c. water

1/3 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

1 14oz. can pumpkin puree

1 large egg

For the Sauce:

1/4 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 T. flour

1 t. vanilla

1 1/4 c. boiling water

1/4 t. nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease 2 qt mold or bundt pan.

2. Sift dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add the shortening, water, nuts and pumpkin. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
3. Add egg, beat 2 more minutes at medium speed.

4. Pour batter into a prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and allow cake to cool on a wire rack.

6. Serve slices with a warm drizzle of nutmeg sauce.


1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in egg yolk, flour and vanilla.

2. Put mixture in a saucepan and put over low heat. Gradually add the boiling water. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Stir in the nutmeg. Serve warm.

Naptime Notes:

Naptime Recipe Props: If you want a great fall dessert that makes everyone swoon, here you go. I highly suggest using a great mold if you have one available!
Naptime Stopwatch:
I was able to make this batter in about 5 minutes. The sauce takes a little longer and needs constant attention, but is well worth the effort.
Naptime Reviews: Needless to say, as a dessert this is a huge hit with everyone. My daughter happens to like pumpkin so she happily ate a slice, and then asked for more.


  1. Wow Kelsey, this sounds fantastic! It goes straight to my cookbook stand for next week's baking. Today it's banana birthday cupcakes for 40 for the kids' party tomorrow. Can you hear the whir of my Kitchen Aid?

  2. Kelsey, I promised my little brother that I would make him a pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving. I have been searching high and low for the perfect recipe, but I really think I may have just found it. This sounds really delicious, I love that it's a little more sophisticated than a basic cake, but doesn't hold back on flavor. I look forward to making it!

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  4. I can't get enough of pumpkin either! It's funny, I was just interviewing a local pie shop in SF and they were saying that after Thanksgiving, no one can stand to look at pumpkin pie so they stop making it immediately. I don't know. I think I could eat it year-round...there's just something about pumpkin! This recipe looks fantastic.

  5. Dear Kelsey,
    I recently started following your blog-very cute and clever. Plan to try the cheese biscuits this weekend--sounds like perfection with a glass of wine! I recently started my own blog, Hampton Hostess, hope you will visit me soon!

  6. I love the idea of serving Nutmeg Sauce on top on this moist delicious cake!

  7. Wow... What a fantastic cake. I definitely have to give this a try! I'm thinking it might be a good Thanksgiving recipe!