About two weeks after I was born, my parents decided to attempt their first bring-the-baby-to-a-restaurant experience before my grandma flew back home that weekend. Armed with the world’s largest diaper bag and my extra soft blankie, they drove to the next town over to eat breakfast at their favorite brunch place.
In the span of about 15 minutes, they dashed into the restaurant, ordered their favorite dishes, shoveled food into their mouths, and paid the check—all before I could utter a peep. They were terrified that I’d howl louder than a banshee and annoy the other diners!
But since I stayed on my best behavior, they’ve taken me back more times than I can count. Mostly because the restaurant’s famous blueberry coffee cake is just SO darn good! It’s about 3-4 inches high, incredibly moist and tender, studded with the juiciest berries, and finished with a thick cinnamon sugar crumb topping. With a little melted butter on top, it’s absolutely heavenly.
However, nearly every time we go, the servers politely inquire whether we’d like to try their seasonal flavors: peach walnut in the summer, cranberry in December, and many other choices during the rest of the year. Although sometimes Dad rebels and agrees, Mom and I (and my grandparents too!) are total purists. Their other varieties just aren’t quite as good!
But… If they offered a purely pumpkin coffee cake, without any nuts, this is exactly what it should be. Tall, moist, rich… And covered in the thickest streusel imaginable!
If you haven’t guessed, this Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake is Part 3 in my Slow Cooker Week series! On Sunday, we devoured sticky pecan buns (ohmygoodness please make those NOW!); on Monday, we ate gingerbread apple crumble (perfect for the holiday season); and today, we’re moving on to cake! Breakfast cake… Because birthday desserts aren’t the only occasion you should enjoy it!
The cake itself is fairly straightforward: flour, spices, and lots of pumpkin. Plus one secret ingredient… Lemon juice! I know it sounds strange. Citrus in a pumpkin cake? But you only need 1 itty bitty teaspoon, and the acidity in that reacts with the baking soda to make the cake rise taller and turn out with a more tender texture. If you don’t have any lemon juice, regular vinegar will work too.
Before spreading the batter into the slow cooker, line it with foil. We need to be able to remove the cake after it finishes baking, but we can’t exactly invert the pot like with sticky buns or chocolate cake. All of the streusel would fall right off! By lining it with foil, you can life that out easily (and you don’t have to wash the slow cooker either!).
For the streusel topping, I mixed melted butter into the oats and cinnamon. I’m lazy, and it’s a lot easier (and faster) than cutting in cold butter! Because of the maple syrup, the streusel will be a little moister than your typical recipe, and it might stick to your fingers as your sprinkle it over the batter. (But that just means you can lick it off afterward, right?) Just make sure you gently press the streusel into the cake batter so it doesn’t fall off when you slice the coffee cake to serve!
Curled up with a warm mug of tea and my fuzzy slippers, a slice or two of this Slow Cooker Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake is pure cozy breakfast bliss! And an afternoon snack… And dessert after dinner…
No wonder it’s already gone!