Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin mini bundt cake

I don’t really like pumpkin. There, I said it. The most sacrilegious words ever to be uttered by a blogger it seems. I mean it is autumn and there are pumpkins galore, at the farms, the stores and the blogosphere. I look at them, ooh and aaah at the sizes and the shapes and even at how pretty they are, but not one of them ever goes home with me.

My introduction to pumpkin was from our Kuwaiti neighbours back in England, the ones who made the delicious goodies and sent them down to us. One of the dishes that used to be sent down regularly was a savoury preparation of pumpkin; where chunks of the amber hued fruit were cooked with lamb in a tomato based curry. It was really good and I enjoyed eating the soft, orange, sweet flesh of the pumpkin. So, what happened? Store bought pumpkin pie is what happened.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

In England, my mother didn’t make pumpkin anything. In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing a pumpkin growing up (and I mean all winter squash) at least not in our house. So, on my first trip to the US we happened to be here around Thanksgiving. We were invited to a gathering at my parents’ friend’s house and that’s where I had my first experience with American pumpkin pie. And I’ve hated pumpkins since.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

Fast forward a few years, a wedding, a husband and four children later, and here we are. I have American children, and even though during their childhood, I never made pumpkin anything, they being Americans, wanted pumpkin pie one year. I was in a serious debate with myself, after hearing that request. But, I am a cook and a baker and I don’t back down from a challenge (unless it seafood, then I have no problem letting it go). I went straight to my favourite pie maker, Rose Levy Beranbaum and searched her book to see what kind of a pumpkin pie recipe she had listed. Her recipe looked normal, it didn’t have a million different spices, or tins of milk or where you opened a tin of pumpkin mixed it with eggs and poured the batter into a crust. No, hers was a recipe. It involved cooking the pumpkin and adding cream and a hint of spice. In short, it’s a perfect pumpkin pie recipe and it’s SO good. It has since become a staple dessert on our Thanksgiving table. Laith requests it every year and then eats almost half of it by himself. Last year, my husband complained he only got one piece. I think I will have to make two this year.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

So, yes, slowly but surely, I am getting over my dislike and fear of pumpkin. I still haven’t progressed to actually buying one from the farm stand yet but we’re getting there. Funny thing is, I don’t mind other winter squash, which actually happen to be pumpkins also, it is just those orange ones. To help the process along, I thought this year I would attempt something other than my usual pie.

After joining the Improv Cooking Challenge two months ago, I finally had time to take part this month. The Improv Cooking Challenge is hosted every month by Kristen Baker of Frugal Antics of a Harried HomemakerIt just so happened that this month the challenge was cake and frosting. I jumped on the opportunity to use pumpkin in my cakes (because it’s autumn and all, and you’re not a reputable blogger unless you have a pumpkin recipe on your blog) and make those cakes for Laith to take to school as his treat for our Eid ul Adha holiday and fulfill my challenge for this month. I am quite brilliant.

pumpkin mini bundt cake

So, here are my Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with some deliciously, crunchy pumpkin seed brittle. And you know what? I love them.

pepitas brittle collage

Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Calories: 5674

Fat: 310g

Pumpkin Mini Bundt Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Mini Bundt Cakes
  • 2 cups/280g plain/all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick/113g butter. softened
  • 1 cup/200g granulated organic sugar
  • 1 cup/212g pumpkin puree, (I used an organic tinned one)
  • 1 cup/212g sour cream
  • 3 eggs, large organic
  • ½ cup/120mL organic milk
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz/227g cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup/60g powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup/175mL heavy whipping cream
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup/100g superfine/caster sugar
Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  1. Line a baking tray with parchment or liner.
  2. Place the sugar in a large skillet with a very thick bottom.
  3. Make sure the sugar is in a very thin layer not more than 0.1″/3mm, use a large pan.
  4. Heat the sugar gently until it turns a golden brown colour.
  5. Do not stir at any time. There may be little bits of undissolved sugar and that’s fine.
  6. Carefully, add the toasted seeds and stir with a wooden spoon until they are evenly coated.
  7. Pour the coated seeds onto the lined baking tray and let cool.
  8. When the seeds have cooled, break the brittle into medium pieces so they can top the cakes.
Bundt Cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉/180℃
  2. Grease and flour 2 mini bundt pans or line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake liners
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, the spices and salt together in a bowl, keep aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated.
  6. Add the sour cream and pumpkin puree and mix.
  7. Add the flour and the milk.
  8. Spoon into the mini bundt pans or into cupcake tins.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and golden brown.
  10. Let cool in the pan 10 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pans and cool on a rack before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat the cream cheese until softened.
  2. Sift in the sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth.
  3. Add the cream and whip until firm, and peaks form.
  4. Spoon into a piping bag, if desired, or can just spread the frosting on the cakes.
  5. Top each cake with a piece of pumpkin seed brittle.
I made these little cakes a few times and I made them with oil, with butter and oil and just butter. They all turned out really well. However, the butter ones do well in the bundt pans because it's a firmer cake. If you want a more fluffy, box cake mix like texture, use ½ cup of a neutral oil instead. I used avocado oil and they were excellent, moist and fluffy. Oil will work really well in cupcakes. Also, for the frosting, make sure your heavy cream can be easily whipped. If you doubt the ability of your heavy cream, whip the cheese and cream separately and then combine the two.

pumpkin mini  bundt cakes

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’ve been busy this week with Eid and all, but will visit all of you this weekend and catch up! 

  1. Pingback: My 13 Favourite Posts for 2013 » Coffee and Crumpets

  2. We don’t eat pumpkin pie here in Oz but I have a Canadian SIL and she invited the whole family over for lunch – about 30 relatives, and cooked her pumpkin pie. I don’t know if she strayed from the recipe but no one liked it. It was quite embarrassing to see so much pumpkin pie left on the plates. Good on you with persevering with your aversion to pumpkin and these little bundt cakes look very good xx
    Hotly Spiced recently posted..A Wine Appreciation NightMy Profile

    • Oh dear! The whole pumpkin pie is very much a North American thing. I really don’t think the Brits and the Aussies have the taste for such overly spiced pie. That is what I didn’t like about the commercial pies. When I made the pie, I cut back on the spices and even omitted some, it turned out so much better and to the liking of my taste buds. I’d be interested in seeing her recipe 🙂

  3. Oh Nazneen….these are lovely! Though I really enjoy pumpkin in savory dishes….it really does satisfy my sweet tooth. I admit…I’m one of those who can’t get enough of it in the fall. So glad you are warming up to it! These baby bundts look so good….I could pop one or two right into my mouth now! I love Kristen’s Improv….and hope to be back in the swing of it next month! : )
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart recently posted..Goober CupcakesMy Profile

    • Can’t wait to see what you post next month Anne! Your creations are always wonderful. Thanks for stopping by!

    • The pumpkin kind of hides in te name and adds moisture! A little bit of spice to enhance and we’re ok :). Thanks for your comment Caroline!

  4. I’m glad to have discovered someone not liking pumpkin. I am slowly getting accustomed to its taste and texture. Actually, I don’t mind the taste but the way it turns to mush…I dislike it! But as you said, being a blogger and not doing something what everyone else is loving to bits makes me feel isolated. So I have jumped into the pumpkin bandwagon too and made quite a few dishes this time. The one thing however,I love about pumpkin is its bright colour and that is showing so brilliantly in your cakes. They sound as amazing as they look! I made the brittle too…we call it praline..and I bet it’s the perfect accompaniment to your bundt cakes. Beautiful pictures..love them!
    Sugar et al recently posted..Blueberry and Maple Syrup Pancakes with BaconMy Profile

    • It does turn to mush! I doing care for mushy things either be she they just disintegrate into the food. I didn’t realise so many people don’t like pumpkin! I feel much better now 🙂

  5. Nazneen I am not big pumpkin fan either as people are here in west but i do remember my mother using squash (which is from pumpkin family) in cooking halwa, fritters and spicy and tangy curry. Though I never had anything baked. I love your addition of pumpkin puree in cakes. The pumpkin brittle on top really sets it apart from other pumpkin cake recipes.
    Balvinder recently posted..Besan Ki SabjiMy Profile

    • Yes, my mother made kaddu halwa, and it’s my favourite actually, I tried making the halwa using a green butternut squash and it came out really well. I don’t think I like the overly spicy treatment of pumpkin.

    • Thanks Abbe! I got those pans from World Market when they had their 50% off sale a coils of weeks ago 🙂 it was a great deal. I think the spices get to get over done and I think that’s what I don’t like about it all.

  6. Wow, great flavors in these! Super recipe. Pumpkin is actually kinda bland tasting compared to most winter squash, IMO. This is actually one of those instances where the canned is often better than the fresh – I’ve never been disappointed with canned pumpkin, but my results with fresh pumpkins have varied quite a bit. Sometimes they have spectacular flavor, more often the flavor is dull and muted. Anyway, pumpkin is actually better in savory dishes, IMO, but in sweet ones I always like to include lots of cinnamon.
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..Penne alla VodkaMy Profile

    • Hi John! Thank you! I agree, I have found tinned pumpkin to be way more consistent. I bought a small sugar pumpkin way back to make a pie and it was not what I expected. The flavour just isn’t strong enough and seems watered down. I found the same thing with sweet potatoes. But yes, the pumpkin definitely needs spice but I hate the commercial pies with their generic pumpkin spice mix, its flavour is way too overpowering, I think it’s too much cloves. I didn’t even use cloves and chose to use allspice instead. They tasted much better with a touch of spice.

  7. I love pumpkin. Roasted on its own, in risottos, in pasta, in cakes, in bread. But, I have never had pumpkin pie or pumpkin from a can (canned pumpkin is not something that you can find in Australian supermarkets) 🙂 There’s a tiny little town about 1/2 an hour north of where I live that has a pumpkin festival in May every year, where locals bring their biggest pumpkins (some weighing hundreds of kilos) and compete for prizes. No, I’m not joking. It’s pretty fabulous, a little bit like a country fair with food and things, although in the last few years it seems that all of Canberra has found out about it and it gets a bit too crowded for my liking! Your cakes look gorgeous, and I bet that brittle has fabulous texture!!
    Jas@AbsolutelyJas recently posted..Nude Food!My Profile

    • Oh no, something we differ on 🙂 I think I would like pumpkin if I gave it a chance. I do like other winter squash just fine. We have pumpkin festivals here too, they do a pumpkin patch and have games and bp food etc. you can go out and pick your own pumpkin and stuff. I’ve never gone because……I don’t like pumpkins!! I have to say though, having started this blog, I feel obligated to try a lot of things 🙂 baby steps! I’m afraid people will find out I’m a fake and not a foodie at all 🙂

      • I know, there had to be something right?! I wonder if there’s a difference between the Oz and US interpretation of pumpkin and winter squash though? Butternut squash here is called Butternut pumpkin, and the skins of our regular pumpkins are grey or green, not orange! I also think you are well and truly a foodie 😉
        Jas@AbsolutelyJas recently posted..Nude Food!My Profile

        • I think there is a difference in our pumpkins. We probably do like the same ones, because I like butternut squash/pumpkin. We’re not so different after all 🙂

    • Good luck with that Holly!! I never ate pumpkins in England, but I don’t eat them here either! I don’t think the Brits are big on over spiced squash pies though 🙂

  8. While I DO like pumpkin, (and prefer to make the puree myself from a REAL pumpkin) last Thanksgiving my son and his fiancee came for a short visit and for the family dinner. The dear girl is from Charleston and insisted on making the pies. She made SWEET POTATO pies instead of pumpkin. They were delicious. I might even switch to sweet potatoes myself. In fact, I did tell her that I now prefer her pies to mine.
    Your mini pumpkin cakes look delicious, too. I am not sure, but I think it is the fragrant and warming spices we use in pumpkin anything that make us feel cozy and nostalgic!

    • I find real pumpkin purée to be inconsistent so I like using the tinned variety. I found the same with sweet potatoes, I found the flavour to be a bit lacking with the fresh potatoes too. But I do use fresh sweet potatoes vs the tinned. I want to make sp pie but the pumpkin always wins out so we end up with that. I’m thinking I may sneak one in this year 🙂

  9. Not growing up eating pumpkin or pumpkin pie, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it too. I like pumpkin tempura when I can get it but pumpkin is often “hidden” among sweet potatoes or squash that I’m not altogether sure what it actually tastes like! But Iike most things, there are always good recipes for an ingredient. Your mini bundt cakes look really lovely and a great way to feature pumpkin. And I really like the brittle! I now wish I had a mini bundt pan! : )
    Monica recently posted..The forgotten pear…mini pear clafoutisMy Profile

    • Thank you Monica! I didn’t have a mini bundt cake pan for ages and then when I decided to make these for my sons school treats, I decided to get one. Luckily, one of our local stores was having a half off sale on pans and I was lucky to grab 2 for half off, I think they’ve paid for themselves because I’ve used them like 6 times already!

    • I so agree with you! I see a million pumpkin recipes and not one appeals to me! I can handle a pumpkin cheesecake and I’ve made one before, but all those other things like bars and cookies and mousses…yuck.

  10. For someone who came to pumpkins so late, Nazneen, you sure did a great job with these cakes. Topping each with a bit of cream cheese frosting and that pumpkin seed brittle was a great idea. If I make these, though, I’ll have to quadruple the brittle recipe because I’ll surely munch on most before any is put on top of the cakes. Just think, Nazneen, if you could create these incredible cakes with so little previous pumpkin experience, just imagine the fantastic dishes you could create with seafood. 🙂
    ChgoJohn recently posted..This Recipe has Legs: Strangozzi Pasta with OctopusMy Profile

    • You are a funny man, John! I know, I know, I should give seafood a chance. I guess I’m just not a huge meat person. And yes, make lots of brittle, it’s great stuff!

  11. The pumpkin seed brittle on top is the perfect touch for these cute little pumpkin goodies. So glad you were able to join us this month!!

    • Thank you Kristen! I am glad I was able to as well. I’ve been wanting to each month but a crazy schedule just gets in the way 🙂 Thank you for stoping by!

  12. These look so pretty Nazneen. We do get into the pumpkin trend whether it be for the kids or because we see it everywhere.
    Growing up, pumpkin was a savory thing for me too, I’ve slowly started loving it in desserts. Really, I love pumpkin pie, but not with a ton of cinnamon, I in fact use cardamom instead. I am gonna try your mini cute little cakes, I have a ton of pumpkin puree frozen up.
    Have a great weekend my dear.
    Ash-foodfashionparty recently posted..BANANA-APPLE CHOCOLATE CHIP BUNDT CAKE – GLUTEN FREE and GUEST POSTMy Profile

    • I always find it funny how crazy everyone gets in fall as soon as pumpkins appear! I am getting used to them now, I didn’t grow up with them so it’s a new challenge for me. Have a great weekend too Ash!

    • Thanks Minnie! They did turn out well and were kind of cute 🙂 I have a good recipe for pie if you need one!

  13. I am not a big pumpkin fan either. I prefer pumpkin in savory dishes. I don’t get this pumpkin pie craze. I made pumpkin pie for my husband’s cooworkers last year and everyone loved it but I was not too excited to eat it myself. I think I should try your recipe. Maybe I’ll change my mind 🙂 thanks for sharing. (Now I have to think of some pumpkin recipe for my blog to become a reputable blogger 😉 )
    kat recently posted..Chicken Avocado Salad SandwichMy Profile

    • Thanks Kat. I should post the recipe but I hate to make something for Thanksgiving early! I don’t like to eat it twice 🙂

  14. I’m not mad about Jack o’ lantern pumpkin, not sure what to do with it, nor do I like pumpkin pie!! But I love other squashes. I don’t think you could buy much pumpkin here when I was a child, so maybe it was the same for you. Now that the UK is following fast and firmly the US Halloween traditions there is squash all over. These cakes look lovely really cute, I love mini bundt cakes they’re less overwhelming than a big one and very tempting. GG
    Glamorous Glutton recently posted..Mushroom Foraging And A RisottoMy Profile

    • I think you’re right GG, I don’t remember ever seeing a pumpkin till I came to the US. It took me a long time to like pumpkin pie, and I’m still not sure I do! Kids love it though so I make it. I do like other winter squash buts it’s just that ubiquitous big orange one!