Warm Pumpkin Pudding Cakes




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warm pumpkin pudding cakes on a baking sheet

Warm Pumpkin Pudding Cakes ~ this is an easy pumpkin recipe for those of you who love your dessert soft and squidgy ~ count me in!  If you’re looking to branch out from pumpkin pie this holiday season, these light as air pumpkin soufflé cakes are just the ticket.

warm pumpkin pudding cakes with spoon

These individual desserts are a cross between a fluffy sponge cake, a pumpkin soufflé, and a pudding.  Can we say yum??

Pumpkin pie is all well and good, but it can be dense and a little…boring. These warm pumpkin pudding cakes are inspired by my delicious Warm Lemon Pudding Cakes. I wasn’t quite sure my experiment would work, but I was thrilled with the results. 

warm pumpkin pudding cakes just out of the oven

See how they bake up nice and puffy?  That’s the water bath and the beaten eggs whites working together to create a light and airy texture. Sink your spoon into that fluffy pumpkin (the opposite of pumpkin pie, just saying) and when you get to the bottom of your cup you’ll be rewarded with a little bit of golden custard.  These are just lovely and definitely worth your time this fall.

Why does this recipe use a water bath, and can I skip it?

Short answer?  No.

  • A water bath (or bain marie) is simply a method of baking where you place your baking dish in a larger pan and add boiling water to come up the sides of your dish about half way.  You’ve probably done it with cheesecake.
  • The main effect of a water bath is to even out the temperature around your food and to cook it more gently. It also adds moisture to the oven which is important for things like cheesecakes and custards, flans, and soufflés.
  • Yes, it is necessary for this recipe, and believe me, I tried skipping it ~ I’m all for cutting unnecessary corners ~ but when I cooked these pudding cakes without the water bath they came out denser, and slightly over cooked.  Lesson learned.

warm pumpkin pudding cakes on a baking sheet with whipped cream

I chose to serve these with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and some toasty candied pecans.  You could absolutely flavor that whipped cream with maple syrup, bourbon, or a bit of pumpkin spice if you like.

I love the combination of temps and textures here ~ cool creamy whipped cream, crunchy sweet pecans, and soft, warm pumpkin cake.

warm pumpkin pudding cake topped with whipped cream and candied pecans

How to make quick candied pecans ~

The little bit of sweet crunch from the candied pecans really tops off these pumpkin puddings perfectly, here’s how to do it:

  • You can candy pecan pieces, or halves.  I used pieces for this dish.
  • Put the pecans and a tablespoon of brown sugar into a skillet and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar coats the pecans and caramelizes.  Watch carefully so the nuts don’t burn, this doesn’t take long.
  • Remove from the heat and let them cool.  They’ll crunch up as they cool down.

tvfgi recommends: a set of ceramic ramekinswhite ceramic ramekins Everybody needs a set of plain white ramekins, they work of all sorts of individual desserts, and come in handy for a millions other things.  I love these particular ones because they have a nice modern shape and hold just the right amount: 5 ounces.  They’re oven, microwave, and freezer safe.

Look for ramekins that hold 5-6 ounces, the sweet spot, not too big and not too small!

warm pumpkin pudding cakes on a baking sheet
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4 from 10 votes

Warm Pumpkin Pudding Cakes

Warm Pumpkin Pudding Cakes ~ this easy pumpkin dessert is light, fluffy, and so much better than pumpkin pie!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

For the pumpkin cakes

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs separated
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

For the topping

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp raw or brown sugar

Instructions

For the pumpkin cakes

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 6 (5-ounce) ramekins and place in a baking dish with high sides. Heat some water in a kettle or in a pot on the stovetop - you'll be partially filling the baking dish with hot water just before baking the cakes to make a bain marie.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy and fully combined.
  • Add the egg yolks, one at a time, allowing each one to get fully incorporated before adding the next.
  • Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, and fold that into the mixture.
  • Add the buttermilk and the canned pumpkin, and continue to mix until smooth and fully combined.
  • In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or with clean electric beaters, whip the egg whites and the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture until no large lumps or streaks of whipped egg white remain.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins, filling them almost to the top.
  • Add the hot water to the baking dish with the ramekins, you want the water to reach about half way up the sides of the ramekins. Note: It may be easiest to add the water to the pan once you've already placed it on your baking rack in the oven - that way you don't have to transfer the dish with the water and the ramekins in it.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes until puffed up and golden, and not wobbly in the middle.
  • Remove the ramekins from the water bath and set aside to cool. They will sink slightly.

For the topping

  • In a skillet, toast the pecans with the sugar over medium heat until the pecans are toasted and the sugar melts and coats the pecans. Watch them carefully so they don't burn. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. They will get crunchier as they cool.
  • Whip the heavy cream and the confectioner's sugar until soft peaks form. You can also leave the cream unsweetened, which is how I often do it.
  • Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top of the pumpkin cakes (you can eat them warm or cooled), and top with the candied pecans.

Notes

Be sure your bowl and beaters are squeaky clean before you whip your egg whites...any trace of oil or grease will prevent them from reaching their full fluffy potential!

warm pumpkin pudding cakes pin

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18 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    2SistersRecipes
    October 27, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    These look amazing!! Love the individual ramekins – perfect for portion control! Pinning !!

  • Reply
    Ellen
    October 25, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    5 stars
    I love pumpkin recipes all year long, therefore canned pumpkin is a must have pantry staple at my house. I knew just as soon as I read this post this morning that the recipe had to be made today! I had everything on hand, but alas no ramekins. I called my neighbor and told her about this newly discovered recipe. She came right over with her ramekins. After reading the recipe together and printing a copy for each of us, into the kitchen we went. What fun we had making these pumpkin pudding cakes. As they were cooling enough to eat, an accompanying pot of pumpkin spice coffee was prepared. This dessert was declared YUMALICIOUS by both of us!! Thank-YOU from two dignified ladies of septuagenarian ages. Just one wee question, my youngest daughter has Celiac Disease and I would love for her to be able to enjoy this recipe too. Do you think that a gluten-free flour could be successfully substituted in this recipe?

    • Reply
      Ellen
      October 25, 2019 at 6:43 pm

      P.S. I meant to add that tomorrow, October 26th, is National Pumpkin Day…this is the perfect recipe to celebrate the day! Thank-you again!

      • Reply
        Sue
        October 25, 2019 at 8:14 pm

        I didn’t know that!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2019 at 8:17 pm

      Quick work ladies, thank you! And I suggest you substitute almond flour, or oat flour, for your daughter, that should work fine. The texture won’t be exactly the same, but it will work.

  • Reply
    Diana P.
    October 25, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Squidgy????? I LOVE it. And I love the recipes that you take the time to share with us, Sue. I’ll be trying this
    new suidgy dessert, too !

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 25, 2019 at 11:12 am

    I wonder if these can be frozen after step 8. I have a chocolate soufflé recipe that allows that. Any idea?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2019 at 11:26 am

      If you’ve done it with a souffle recipe then I think it’s worth a try.

  • Reply
    Jacqueline DeAngelis
    October 25, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Can you make this in one pan and double the recipe. I’m going to a thanksgiving get together and need a larger amount.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2019 at 11:25 am

      I haven’t tried it that way but I think you can do it. I would do a test version before the big day to figure out the cooking time etc.

  • Reply
    Kathleen Vehlow
    October 25, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Yummmmm! Can these be made ahead

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2019 at 8:55 am

      You can make them ahead, but I have to say they’re best when they’re warm. We did enjoy them at room temperature, too, so you could make them a few hours ahead.

  • Reply
    Jordan
    October 25, 2019 at 8:04 am

    5 stars
    Your lemon pudding cakes became out favorite summer dessert this year, the texture is so awesome, I can’t wait to try these, thank you!!!!!

  • Reply
    Kit B
    October 25, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Your headline on the story says “chocolate pudding cakes.” Just an fyi!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2019 at 7:42 am

      That’s what I get for putting out a mass email before my second cup of coffee…I guess that means I better get busy making a chocolate version of these :)

    • Reply
      margaret
      October 30, 2019 at 10:52 am

      I ditto that!

  • Reply
    Teri
    October 25, 2019 at 7:36 am

    I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful website, your dedication to step by step teaching method and… every single recipe turns out deliciuosly perfect. Teri

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2019 at 7:43 am

      Oh Teri you made my WEEK! Thanks for your support.