Pumpkin Sourdough Coffee Cake

Wondering how to use up your Amish sourdough starter? Try this easy Pumpkin Sourdough Coffee Cake. It has a tangy flavor that pairs beautifully with the pecan streusel topping. 

Who remembers Amish sourdough starter? You know…the flour, milk, sugar mixture that you keep in bag on the counter for 10 days, then divide and divide again until you have so much sourdough that you don’t know what to do with it? We’re sharing a way to use up some of that starter in something other than Amish friendship bread. An easy, small pumpkin cake that you’ll love eating with a cup of coffee.

Sourdough Pumpkin Coffee Cake on a plate

Pumpkin Sourdough Coffee Cake

So what does sourdough taste like?

Sourdough is hard to describe as it just tastes like…well…sourdough. But in general sourdough has a slightly tangy flavor to it. It shouldn’t be too strong, but should taste just ever so slightly like vinegar. The beauty of sourdough is that it has so many different flavors.

Amish Sourdough or Herman Sourdough

This pumpkin coffee cake calls for a sweet sourdough. It’s often called Herman Sourdough and is the sourdough that you use in the infamous Amish Friendship Bread. Read all about that starter and find different recipes to make with it here. We have traditional sourdough on hand at our house, but this sourdough is much sweeter so is great for baked goods and desserts.

pumpkin coffee cake on a plate

How to Make Pumpkin Sourdough Coffee Cake

As you prepare to make this cake, here are some hints:

  • Have the sourdough starter ready to go. It should be active and “fed” meaning it will be slightly bubbly. We feed our sourdough starter, then bake with it the next day.
  • Make sure ingredients are at room temperature. The eggs and pumpkin puree should not be cold. This will help everything mix together very easily.
  • Mix the dry ingredients separately, then stir them into the wet ingredients. This helps to prevent over mixing so your cake is nice and soft!
  • Bake in a pie plate, 9″ round cake pan or an 8×8 cake pan. Any will work, just be sure to grease the pan first. Depending on what pan you choose the baking time may vary, so watch it closely.
  • The cake is done when the center of the cake springs back when you lightly touch it.

A close up of a piece of cake on a paper plate, with Sourdough and Pumpkin

Pecan Streusel Topping

We believe all good coffee cakes should have either a streusel or a glaze and many even both! For this recipe we stuck with a simple brown sugar streusel. Just mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans and pumpkin pie spice (you could also use cinnamon). Use a fork to mix them, then sprinkle it on the cake batter after it is in the pan, before you bake it. It adds the perfect amount of sweetness.

A piece of cake on a plate, with Pumpkin and Coffee cake

Other Coffee Cake Recipes

pumpkin coffee cake on a plate
pumpkin coffee cake on a plate

Pumpkin Sourdough Coffee Cake

5 from 2 votes
Wondering how to use up your Amish sourdough starter? Try this easy Pumpkin Sourdough Coffee Cake. It has a tangy flavor that pairs beautifully with the pecan streusel topping. 
Servings 8
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


For the cake:

For the topping:


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spray a deep dish pie plate with cooking spray. (Or you can use an 8x8 baking pan or round cake pan.)
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Add the sourdough starter and mix again.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Add to the pumpkin mixture and mix.
  • Add in the melted butter and mix just until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate and smooth it until even.
  • In a small bowl, combine the topping: brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and pecans. Use a fork to mix it well.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the cake batter.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when you lightly touch it.
  • Serve warm.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container.


The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 8 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**


Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 2590IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 242
Keyword breakfast cake, cake with sourdough, easy pumpkin cake, sourdough coffee cake

pumpkin sourdough coffee cake title image

About Julie Clark

We are Julie, Maddie, and Kinslee – a mother and daughter team sharing with you the best cakes to satisfy any need or sweet craving that you may have. Welcome to our family’s kitchen!

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I think there is something missing in the streusel topping- shouldn’t there be solid butter?

Hi I have an important question, because I plan to make this recipe this weekend. Can you clarify what you mean by bubbly and active? Like is the starter at its peak rise (mature) or is it discard starter that’s more liquid? Maybe a better question is how long after you feed your starter do you use it in this recipe. Because that can really change the results.

I pulled one cup of starter out of the freezer and let it thaw. Is it now ready to mix directly with the other recipe ingredients? Do I need to do anything or add anything else to prepare the one cup starter for this recipe? Thanks so much!

5 stars
Moist delicious