Pumpkin Cake

I would like to call this recipe my “no-fail pumpkin cake” recipe. However, yesterday, Thanksgiving, I had a minor disaster. At about 11 a.m. when I poured the mixture into the fancy bundt pan from Williams Sonoma, the batter didn’t look right. An hour later when I pulled it from the oven, it still looked wrong. I’ve been making this cake for over 35 years; I should know. I let it cool, turned it over, and, boy, did it look strange. So I called the taste-tester, um, Howard, and asked him to cut into it. I mean, I was desperate. This cake was going with us to our friends’ Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t want to show up with a cake with a slice cut out; but neither did I want to offer something awful. “I left out the sugar, right?” I asked. Howard said, “yeah, probably, but it tastes OK.” So I took a bite. It was kind of like biting into canned pumpkin with flour mixed in. Luckily, I had the ingredients on hand for another try–and enough time. Second go-round, I got it right. Anyway, here’s the recipe. This must be one of the easiest cakes in the world to make. You only need one bowl and a measuring cup. The fancy bundt pan makes it look prettier on the table. I got the recipe from my college and graduate-school roommate Karen Altman, who got it from her mom. I remember Karen’s recipe card said, “Mim’s Pumpkin Cake.” I have the feeling, though, that Mrs. Altman got it off a can of Comstock pumpkin.

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin (Comstock if you can find it; I can’t anymore)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 8 0z bag of chocolate chips, or more if you’d like
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, if you’re into that, but I never add nuts

The batter will be a nice orange color. Make sure the sugar and flour are both mixed in well. Pour into a well-greased bundt pan. (I use spray stuff.) Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean, unless you stick it into the chocolate. Let it cool for a 1/2 hour or so; turn over onto a cake plate.

  • Dawn Lodato

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have been making this pumpkin cake for over 25 years and when I went to find the recipe this morning it was missing. If I showed up to Thanksgiving dinner without it I would be in BIG trouble. The only differences that I can see in the recipe is that my version called for Comstock Pumpkin Pie Mix and no cinnamon (I always use plain canned pumpkin) and there is also a streusel topping of sugar, walnuts and chocolate chips.