Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Swirl and Cinnamon Streusel

Makes one 9×5-inch loaf

This decadent, rustic loaf cake is incredibly moist and tender. The cake itself is sweetened entirely with puréed medjool dates much like a traditional sticky toffee pudding. The canned pumpkin purée also adds a touch of sweetness, incredible flavor, and a deep amber hue. For an added flourish, we swirl in a custardy cream cheese layer and top it all with a crunchy, cinnamon streusel. While this recipe uses a loaf pan, you can easily adapt this for muffins—just adjust the baking time for the smaller baked goods.


Crumb Topping

  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground clove
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups chopped, pitted Rancho Meladuco medjool dates (18-20 dates)
  • ¾ cup pumpkin purée
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup milk, heavy cream, or warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Make the crumb topping In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Work the softened butter into the flour using your hands until it is completely incorporated and forms large clumps when you pinch it between your fingers. Refrigerate while you prepare the loaf cake.

Make the Cake Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and then dust with flour, shaking out any excess.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice,  baking soda and salt.

In a blender, combine the dates, pumpkin purée, buttermilk, eggs, and 1½ teaspoons of the vanilla extract. Puree until just combined (it’s ok if there are some chunks of dates).

Scrape the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and gently stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with milk, granulated sugar, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth.

Scrape half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Dollop the cream cheese on top of the batter and spread in an even layer. Scrape the remaining batter on top of the cream cheese layer. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the layers together.

Remove the crumb topping from the refrigerator and break into large clumps. Scatter the crumb topping over the batter.

Bake the pumpkin bread for 55 to 65 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before unmolding. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe & photos: Julia Heffelfinger @juliaheff

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