Sourdough Surprises: Pumpkin Maple Sourdough Cake

Pumpkin Maple Sourdough Cake

This month’s Sourdough Surprises Challenge was to make a cake with our starter.  I very nearly didn’t get this challenge done in time!  My first attempt to modify a baba au limoncello cake resulted in utter failure.  For my second attempt, I decided to play it safe and use one of the inspiration recipes provided for Pumpkin-Maple Sourdough Cake from Pinch My Salt.  I’m so glad I tried it as it was such an easy and flavorful quick cake, just what I needed after my problematic first cake!  I also love that this recipe uses whole wheat.  It’s completely unnoticeable, so it’s a good way to sneak some whole wheat into your diet.

We love pumpkin any time of year and maple is another year-round flavor favorite, so this cake was just our sort of dessert/breakfast/snack!  By coincidence, I was watching America’s Test Kitchen make pumpkin bread the day I made this cake.  They claim that pumpkin out of a can tastes tinny and raw in the finished product and that cooking it first with the spices added will remove some of the extra moisture, improves the pumpkin flavor and blooms the spices.   It sounded worth trying, so I did!   Since I haven’t made this before, I don’t know if it really made a difference, but I have to say that the finished cake had a fantastic pumpkin flavor.  The cake was pretty sweet and I discovered later that condensed pumpkin puree will taste sweeter, so I would reduce the maple syrup a bit next time.  I also threw in some maple flavor bits that I had on hand for extra maple goodness, so those also added some extra sweetness too.  All in all, a hit!

Pumpkin Maple Sourdough Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Quick and easy pumpkin cake with maple flavoring and no refined sugar.
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup "fed" 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • heaping ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup maple flav-R-bites (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and move rack to center position. Butter or spray an 8 inch round pan.
  2. Start with ingredients at room temperature. Melt the butter and set it aside. If using canned pumpkin, see note about cooking the puree first for better flavor.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the puree, maple syrup, egg ad vanilla. Fold the sourdough starter into the pumpkin mixture until well combined. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until incorporated. Stir in the melted butter. Fold in the maple bits if using.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and serve. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
On the advice of America's Test Kitchen, to improve the flavor of the canned pumpkin you can cook it in a saucepan to remove some of the moisture. Adding any spices from the recipe to the pumpkin while cooking will also make them more flavorful. Since you're condensing the pumpkin, be sure to cook a little more than the recipe calls for so that you have enough. Let it cool before using. You may also want to reduce the maple syrup slightly as condensing the pumpkin makes it taste sweeter. If you added the spices to the pumpkin puree while cooking, remember to leave them out when following the recipe to mix the cake.

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Sourdough Surprises: Pumpkin Maple Sourdough Cake — 13 Comments

  1. You had me at pumpkin. Then again at maple! 🙂 I am sorry that your first attempt didn’t work out, but this one worked great. What a delicious looking cake – awesome choice!

  2. Beautiful looking cake! Sorry to hear about your first flop, but this cake looks perfect! I wanted to make this cake, too! And fun tip about the canned pumpkin! ATK always has the best tips! 🙂 Thanks for baking with us this month!

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