The only thing worse than having an old Chinese food container full of caramel pecan pie filling in your fridge without an intended destination or life purpose (other than Grey’s Anatomy-induced stress eating on a Derek Shepherd-full Saturday night)….

…is finding a boom box on top of a filing cabinet in lab.  With a CASSETTE tape in it that is probably as old as the beginning of time.

And not having a dance party in the middle of lab on a dreary Thursday-that-felt-like-it-should-be-Friday morning.


Don’t worry.  My labmates and I are totally on the same wavelength when it comes to such things.

So we pressed play on that cassette tape, with the reckless abandon of people who have already been pipetting for three hours straight.  And we partied like it’s hot.

In the tissue culture room.

Lab coats and all.

(Well, except me. I refuse to wear a lab coat. I’m quite rebellious.)


We made it five minutes before the head of our lab came out of his office to inform us that whatever was coming out of that antiquated piece of technology was not, in fact, music after all.  But someone with a very nasal voice trying to pretend that he was not born tone deaf.

Actually, I think what really happened is that he stared at us with all the solemnity he could muster for a good thirty seconds.  And then said, “Uh, guys.  This isn’t going to work.”


Back went the boom box to it’s filing cabinet, left to collect dust and be discovered again in two decades when no one will even remember that cassette tapes ever used to exist in this world.

But what does this have to do with pumpkin cake, you might wonder?

Well.  Sometimes you just have to take life by the horns and dance to bad music in the middle of lab on a random workday just to get through the week.

And sometimes…

…you have to resist the urge to eat caramel pecan pie filling all alone in your room.


You have to take a chance on a pumpkin cake recipe that, by all means, seems boring but is actually revelatory in its simplicity.

You have to swirl that filling into a streusel as if your life depends on it.

And then you have to bring it into lab and share it with your coworkers.  Because though your dance partying days minutes may be over….there’s always room for cake.  Especially when it tastes this good.


Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Pecan Pie Streusel
Serves 12, adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook and Food and Wine


  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 batch caramel pecan pie filling


  1. Heat the oven to 350.  Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Place the sugar, oil and pumpkin puree in a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat well on medium speed.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift and fold the dry ingredients into the batter.
  3. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Drop the pecan pie filling on top of the batter in the pan so that it is evenly distributed around the pan.  Add the remaining batter to the pan.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Start checking the cake after 1 hour.  Let cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

I am submitting this to Bake with Bizzy!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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92 Responses to Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Pecan Pie Streusel

  1. Pumpkin! Love to see the return of this fabulous ingredient in the winter. Sometimes we forget to keep baking with it after November! Glad to see you’re not neglecting our beloved pumpkin. 🙂

  2. Pumpkin. caramel. Stresuel. Drool.

  3. Pam says:

    Perfect for an after dance party treat!

  4. Holy Cow…the insides of this cake are just so fantastic. Beckoning me, it is. YUM!

  5. I know that when you make pumpkin cake it will be anything but boring and this is no different. Currently eating pumpkin oats so I love that you are still baking pumpkin desserts!

  6. Barbara says:

    I suppose you just cut the top off and pigged out? That’s what I’d be tempted to do and I LOVE pumpkin. Eat the top first is what I say.

  7. Lynn says:

    That cake looks awesome! And I want to know what the music on the cassette was. 🙂

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Hell yeah dance party. I miss having co workers 🙁
    Also. I want that cake for breakfast right now.

  9. You’re right, in 20 years, no one WILL know what cassette tapes are. I tell my kids what albums I had and they are impressed that I actually had RECORDS. I had quite the collection of 45’s. In 20 years, this cake however will be remembered and still made. That’s the great thing about recipes, they will never be obsolete.

  10. OohLookBel says:

    Sometimes you have to make the best of what’s available, like last century’s music technology. I love the sharp edges of your bundt cake; I really must get a pan like that.

  11. Maureen says:

    What a wonderful cake! I can’t wait to try it. Or.. you could come to Australia and bake it for me?

  12. Amy says:

    Last time we moved and were purging things, I found an 8-track tape! How old am I?! As for eating caramel pecan pie filling all alone in your room…resistance is futile. Looks DELICIOUS.

  13. This reminds me of my all time favorite cardamom coffee cake, which I’ve been planning to make for ages and never seem to get around to. This one sounds incredible—and I love your photos!

  14. Do you realize I am fasting right now and I swear I was licking my computer screen over this cake. I LOVE pumpkin and I’m not sick of it. Your cake looks so moist and so delish!! Dam it!! I got about 6 more hours till I can eat again! Sigh…

  15. Lora says:

    Spontaneous dance parties got me through some really tough days at work. This delicious looking cake would also be an instant mood lifter.

  16. I love how the filling is a surprise… and that you rebel by not wearing a lab coat. Happy Friday!

  17. Mary says:

    Count me in! This looks and sounds delicious, Joanne. I’ve bookmarked the recipe and will be trying it real soon. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  18. Eliana says:

    Hmmm – so yummy Joanne. This looks like what delicious pumpkin dreams are made of.

  19. Anne says:

    I am so excited to make this cake — the days of pumpkin definitely aren’t over for me!

  20. You are too funny, Joanne! While I have no tv, we have a tape player AND our landlords left us their record player (complete with records!). You quickly remember how sucky it is to change the record, though. 😛

  21. LOL!!! yeah no dance parties for me. I’m good, you go on with your brave, bad self.
    Pumpkin recipes died quickly on the internet lately didn’t they?

  22. Jenna says:

    Hey, I’m down with deceptive simplicity! And with spontaneous dance parties to old cassette tapes–for shizzle.

  23. Ahh, cassette tapes. If a cassette inspired the caramel pecan pie filling going into this cake, then tapes were worth having existed. Sounds delightful!

  24. Danielle says:

    pumpkin and caramel – yes please!

  25. Erica says:

    Caramel……This cake has to taste good!!!Looks moist and delicious!

  26. I really want to taste this concoction – never tried anything like this before.
    The lab sounds like a great place to work/party. There is a bar here called “The Lab”, one of very few places open till 0500 on Monday. Different kind of lab to yours but both have music and few dancers:)

  27. Ben says:

    Yeah! Party like it’s 1978! Hehe. Hmm I still have some pumpkin in my freezer so I think a night full of cake, ice cram and movies is in order.

  28. Cassette tapes? Distant cousin to the 8-track? Great looking cake, just say streusel and I’m in!

  29. sally says:

    What a great combination of ingredients! I’d like a slice of that cake about now.

  30. The streusel is the perfect touch.

  31. Pierce says:

    “Take life by the horns and dance to bad music” is a lovely mantra, I think I’ll borrow it 🙂 Hey, streusel is a great thing to add to nay cake or cobbler. Cool idea and it makes it pretty. Your lab must be fun!

  32. Laura says:

    OH LA LA..I love anything with pumpkin and carmel in it. So together= perfect!

  33. Shannon says:

    genius combining these two 🙂 and i love the scene that went down in your lab. if only i could’ve seen the look on the boss’ face 🙂

  34. The struesel on this looks fantastic!

  35. Adrienne says:

    Dance parties are a must to get through the dreary days of academia. The fellow graduate assistants and I would have Lady Gaga and 80’s dance parties regularly or else we would have lost our minds! By the way this cake looks epically fantastic.

  36. I can’t even tell you how good that sounds. I’m talking about the cake not the cassette tape from 1980 something… I can’t vouch for what was going on with that boom box! 🙂

  37. Man oh man, Joanne, that is one delicious cake. I have an almond flour pumpkin cake recipe, and I’m going to have to give it a caramel twist…

  38. Love your bundt pan! And the cake sounds amazing with the caramel pecan filling, what a great use for it. Love that you guys had an impromptu dance party. 🙂

  39. I bet the head of your lab department just wishes he was cool enough to join in on your lab dance party. Who was the awesome nasal-y artist on the cassette tape? Debbie Gibson perhaps? Tiffany? Either way, I would’ve totally gotten down and groovy with you guys, and I actually have a lab coat so I would already fit in. Thanks for the great recipe, by the way. It looks so dang yummy and I’m sure my taste buds would have a dance party of their own in my mouth 🙂

  40. I’m guessing the cassette tape and machine belonged to the head of the lab department and he just didn’t want to admit ownership 🙂

    I love to dance around with a piece of that delicious cake! The filling sounds amazing.

  41. Dawn says:

    Love me some cassette tape dance parties.
    And this cake….mmmm….

  42. Debbie says:

    I would have danced along too to burn up the calories from the sweets I love! Great recipe!

  43. Beth says:

    I’ve just decided that the four loveliest words in the English language are “caramel pecan pie filling”. Swoon.

  44. SOO Excited your still baking with Pumpkin :). AND how funny you found a boom box & cassette tape. I haven’t seen one in years!

  45. I’m just not sick of pumpkin yet. Especially not with incredible recipes like this to try!

  46. Mo 'Betta says:

    I so wish I was one of your coworkers. And I remember buying ALBUMS. Damn, i feel old.

  47. Candace says:

    I have absolutely nothing creative or wonderful or witty to say about this. I just can say “yum”. You have rendered me speechless with this one. Have a beautiful weekend, sweet lady!

  48. Kristen says:

    I love how you connected the dots in this post; and how you saved your hips by sharing that AMAZING creation with your lab-mates.

  49. I think the caramel pecan pie filling could make anything taste fabulous. Mmmm, gooey caramel pumpkin deliciousness. 🙂 Too bad it wasn’t a record player you found!

  50. Talking about cassettes, I was just asking my hubby the other day if we had any old ones lying around somewhere so that I can show it to our boys. CDs and DVDs will probably join the ranks of those cassettes in the not too distant future.

    Your pumpkin cake looks really moist and tasty. I would love to have a slice with tea…yumm! Have a wonderful weekend!

  51. marla says:

    Thrills me that you are still using pumpkin. For me it never goes out of season 🙂

  52. Deborah says:

    I could totally go for a slice of this while dancing to a mixed tape!

  53. That Girl says:

    The head of your lab sounds like a real stick-in-the-mud.

  54. JasmyneTea says:

    Wow. Our lab manager would have blasted us. Seriously, there’s actually a ‘no music’ clause in our contracts.
    Anyway, I’ve been looking for an excuse to use my bundt tin, I’ll have to give it a go!

  55. Loveforfood says:

    They look so festive, perfect for any holiday party

  56. Hannah says:

    I’m now kicking myself for using up the last of my canned pumpkin stockpile in an ice cream recipe. Never mind that I needed it for my cookbook… I wish I had made cake after seeing this luscious little number!

  57. never say no to dance parties. always let them happen. it’ll keep you sane.

  58. Lori says:

    You definitely know how to pass the time in lab. And a cassette tape? That makes it even better. I just made some pumpkin muffins this AM and have pumpkin leftover. Perfect timing.

  59. teresa says:

    i would have loved to see a bunch of med students getting down, how fun! LOVE the cake, i could totally go for a slice on this quiet saturday.

  60. Katerina says:

    This pecan cake is irresistible Joanne just like the pictures of all of you trying to dance at your lab. Very funny indeed!

  61. AikoVenus says:

    Yum – I think you should make this whole recipe over again…and give the whole thing to me! ^^

  62. Though I’m not a big fan of pumpkin, I have to say this looks really good. Caramel pecan filling…yum

  63. Monet says:

    I adore pumpkin…all year round! Thank you for sharing with me…and thank you for leaving sweet comments on my blog. They mean so much. I hope you are having a great weekend!

  64. Carolyn Jung says:

    The perfect winter sweet treat. I bet it smells divine, too, right out of the oven. 😉

  65. Casey says:

    The perfect cake. I love it.

  66. bellini says:

    Now if I found an 8-track on top of the cabinet I might think I was in the Twilight Zone, but this pumpkin cake would bring me back down to earth.

  67. Reeni says:

    Yay! Someone else who still has pumpkin. This sounds delectable with that tunnel of pie filling hiding inside! Makes it far from boring!

  68. Genius Joanne…genius!

    I was just going to ask you what you did with all of your baked goods and I am happy to know you share them 🙂

    This would!

  69. Dear Joanne,

    I’m guilty of having a few of those cassette tapes by Swing Out Sister although I now don’t even have the right equipment to play it with LOL!

    Your pumpkin cake looks delicious and moist! Thanks for sharing a beautiful recipe.

  70. This is just my kind of cake… something you can have for breakfast… something for a snack… something before bed.

  71. peachkins says:

    That cake looks so good with coffee and on my breakfast table!!

  72. Mary says:

    Everything about this appeals to me. Do I really need to wear those skinny jeans though? This sounds delicious. I LOVE pumpkin all year long!

  73. I have a thing for cakes in the shape of large doughnuts! oh and pumpkin too ….. who am I kidding I love the pecan pie filling too.

  74. Chris says:

    Back in my day, there was nothing more romantic than making a “mix tape” for your beau or belle. Tapes from albums…..

  75. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, I wonder what tape was in the boom box?! Oh well, I do think this cake looks fabulous!! Cheers and blessings my dear, Catherine xo

  76. Pam says:

    My husband and I listen to all of our 80’s tapes on a boombox when we are working in the garage – it’s awesome!

    The pumpkin cake is awesome too. Totally wishing you were my neighbor right now!

  77. Joanne, I also want to know what was on the tape! Don’t leave us hanging!

  78. Cara says:

    What’s going on here, are you and I going to have some sort of duel as to who can post the most pumpkin recipes in 2012 before October 1st?! Cause I could totally see us doing that, in a friendly sort of way, of course 🙂

  79. Do you deliver? I so desperately want a bite and I do have some old dance music….BBD anybody?

  80. elly says:

    This is basically the best idea ever. I know we always say we are saving things from blogs (and I do!) but this one WILL be made, dammit! Also, I am sitting next to a small box of cassette tapes that I totally cannot throw away, because they are mixes from friends from over a decade ago. Hah.

  81. Miriam says:

    Sounds like it was a blast, tape and all :), the cake looks melt-in-your-mouth-to-die-for-awesome!!!! [email protected]Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  82. Allison says:

    You found the perfect home for the pecan pie filling. Yum. I love random mix tape dance parties.

  83. beti says:

    You always have mouth watering recipes, I’ve bookmarked a lot I just need to find some time

  84. kyleen says:

    HAHA I love reading your posts. You’re such a happy person. And the delicious recipes and mouthwatering pictures don’t hurt either. This pumpkin cake with caramel pecan pie streusel looks delicious.

  85. Christy says:

    Love the story, and how to be happy with our lives; although I am not a big fan of pumpkin, this looks wonderful still 😉

  86. 1) Lab coats are cool. If my husband didn’t leave his safely at the lab I would steal it and gain 20 IQ points in everyone else’s estimation. Don’t underestimate that kind of power!

    2) That pumpkin cake looks amazing. Does it want a bit of bourbon to finish or would that push it over the top?

    3 [and completely unrelated]) Do you happen to have a handy protocol for extracting atherosclerotic plaques from mice? Long shot, but it’s frustrating.

  87. Johanna GGG says:

    pumpkin caramel and pecan – oh my! sounds like my sort of cake! just hit the play button on the cassette and let me curl up with a piece of this cake and I would be very happy

  88. Michele says:

    That’s hysterical. Sounds like your co-workers are lots of fun. This cake looks amazing. I love a good bundt cake. Especially made with pumpkin and streusel.

  89. oh.. I am late again. sorry for the delayed comment. =I

    I actualy had forgotten the existence of cassettes. lol seems like ages ago…
    I enjoyed your article, very funny and entertaining.

    Your bundt cake looks so soft and moist, I d love one piece to try. thx for sharing the recipe!

  90. grace says:

    streusel is just so magical, and this particular breed of streusel rocks my world. round of applause, joanne!

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