#VirtualPumpkinParty: Pumpkin Pie Cake

pumpkin pie cake

It’s pie! It’s cake! It’s pumpkin pie cake!

As I mention every year, pumpkin season is the best season. I secretly do not mind when it starts just a bit earlier each year (though I’ll admit, this year’s first pumpkin spice related sighting may have come a bit too early). I do not get pumpkined out. So when I saw that my friend Sara of Cake Over Steak was organizing a virtual pumpkin party, I was in, and I knew exactly what I would make for the occasion.

Pumpkin Pie Cake started to be a thing in my house shortly before I left for college. My mom says she found it in one of her cookbooks, but can’t remember which one, and the recipe I have is buried deep in my Gmail archives from 2010, several years after it’d been in regular fall rotation back home. So it’s hard to pinpoint the origins of this, but I’m sure it’s floating around the internet elsewhere, too.

Growing up, cakes and brownies mainly came in the 9×13 Pyrex format, and involved a box of cake or brownie mix. We didn’t really do fancy cakes, for the most part. That’s not to say that I didn’t come from a long line of from-scratch bakers; my mom always made cookies, pies, pastries, and maybe an elusive nut cake from scratch. All the Amish-Mennonite food got its proper due with homemade crusts, and even boxed cakes only got homemade icing. I didn’t even realize store bought icing was a thing until I found out it was something that some people eat with a spoon in college. So this Pumpkin Pie Cake fits into that no-nonsense, unpretentious paradigm, but uses the cake mix a little unconventionally. As are most things, this is especially delicious warmed up with a little vanilla ice cream. I bet butter pecan would go extremely well with it, too.

pumpkin pie cake

Pumpkin Pie Cake


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup)
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 large can pumpkin
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 stick softened butter

Takes about .


  1. Mix first three ingredients (box of cake mix with 1 cup set back for later, 1 stick of melted butter, and 1 egg) with a fork until they’re moist. Pat into bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.
  2. Beat pumpkin, 3 eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, and 1/4 cup white sugar together and spread on top of the first layer.
  3. Combine the 1 cup of reserved cake mix, 1/2 cup of white sugar, chopped nuts, and softened butter to form crumbs, and sprinkle these on top of the pumpkin layer.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes.

As this is mostly made of actual pumpkin, it’s basically eating a vegetable. A buttered, sugared vegetable. With some eggs. Protein!

pumpkin pie cake

Thanks so much to Sara for organizing this! I’ve been hankering for some pumpkin pie cake for awhile, and this was the perfect reason to stop being lazy about baking in my new house. You can check out the rest of the #virtualpumpkinparty posts over on Cake Over Steak or Twigg Studios.


Make a Homemade Rosemary Latte

Rosemary Latte

Awhile back, Christie either tweeted or ‘grammed about some sort of homemade rosemary latte goodness, and I needed to know more. So I asked her if she’d mind sharing the recipe here, and she was kind enough to do so! So if your herb garden got a little out of control this summer and you’re not sure what to do with all that rosemary, or if you’re just tired of the pumpkin hype happening too early in the season, this one’s for you. Take it away, Christie!

If you love coffee but are tired of the typical morning (or afternoon!) cup of joe, this is the recipe for you! Who would have thought pairing something like rosemary with fresh coffee would turn out to be a delicious treat? But I can’t take all the credit — in my house my husband is the barista and this is his concoction.

Note: This recipe assumes that you are creating a latte which includes espresso not regular coffee. You can certainly adjust the ingredients and use the syrup in a regular cup of coffee if you prefer.

Rosemary Syrup Ingredients

Rosemary Syrup: to make a bottle

Fresh Rosemary: 1 sprig
Water: 300 grams
Sugar: 150 grams

Combine with
Espresso: pull a double shot 1-2 ounces yield.
Milk: approximately 6 ounces – you will use this to steam


In a small saucepan boil the water. When the water is boiling add the sugar and rosemary. Let boil for 5 minutes and stir occasionally. Let cool. Remove the leaves if the container you will hold your syrup in will let out the leaves into your coffee (not something you want!). Keep them in for added flavor!

Pull a double shot of espresso. We have an affordable Mr. Coffee espresso maker that was approximately $80. You don’t need to have a professional espresso machine, but your equipment may alter the quality of espresso. Set aside.


 Pour the milk into your frothing pitcher (ours is stainless steel) and begin to steam your milk. Trick of the trade: when steaming milk if you are hearing screeching noises you may have too much air in the pitcher. You want to achieve a cyclone pattern while frothing.

Frothing Milk

Combine the milk and double shot. Top it off with a teaspoon of the cooled Rosemary Syrup (or more if you would like it stronger). Enjoy!

Photo credit: Ian Jones

Don’t forget to say hi to Christie over at her blog, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.



Homemade Popcorn

For the longest time, I thought I did not like popcorn. In college, I would buy boxes of microwave popcorn to snack on while staying up to write. It started giving me a stomach ache, and I decided that I just didn’t like it.

But this popcorn is different. Simple. Pure.

My sister told me that she’d been making her own microwave popcorn using popcorn kernels, a little oil, and a brown paper bag. She then could season it however she wanted.

Lacking brown paper lunch bags, I decided to try on the stovetop. I’ll never go back to gross bags of popcorn with some slimy excuse for butter slathered on the insides. This is where it’s at.

Homemade Stovetop Popcorn

Melt 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (it’s light and doesn’t break down at high heat like olive oil does) in a large pan with a lid. Drop in a few popcorn kernels. When those test kernels pop, take the pan off the heat for 30 seconds. Pour in 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels and return to heat. Cover and shake a bit to prevent burning. Enjoy!

For something close to kettle corn, add a bit of raw sugar to the kernels while they’re popping. It’s easier to burn it this way, so keep a close eye on it! After it’s finished, you can sprinkle it with sea salt or parmesan, or drizzle with butter. So good.