I love cinnamon buns, but homemade buns can be a bit time consuming to make from scratch when the craving hits. I’m not one to run out and buy a cinnamon bun in a situation like this. Instead, I made a batch of Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread, a yeast bread that tastes just like a cinnamon bun, complete with brown sugar and cinnamon filling, and comes together without kneading, shaping or waiting for the bread to rise! The original will always be a favorite of mine, but for a fall twist I turned it into a Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Cake.
The Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Cake is a sweet, yeast bread that is so tasty that it is more like a coffee cake than just a bread with a sweet topping. The dough is mixed up and there is no long rising time before putting the pan in the oven. This is achieved by using more yeast than you might ordinarily put into a bread of this size, and by putting the pan into a cold oven and letting it rise while the oven preheats with the bread inside! You can go from mixing dough to eating fresh cinnamon bun goodness – with a little fall flavor thrown in – in less than an hour.
The dough has pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice (I use a homemade mix) mixed into it for flavor and is topped with a streusel/filling of brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans. It bakes up to be sweet, moist and with a great balance of pumpkin and spice flavors. The topping is sweet, but the bread itself is only mildly sweet. The little bit of icing drizzled on top adds just the right amount of extra sweetness to bring everything together. It is best within a day or two of baking, but this is easy to serve up in generous slices and you won’t have a problem eating through a batch. You might even have to make two, if you happen to have a lot of cinnamon bun lovers to feed!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream
Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl filled with the warmed milk and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Stir milk mixture, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth.
Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough rests, make the topping. Mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula).
Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until bread is golden brown at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes, then prepare the icing.
Whisk the powdered sugar and milk together to form a smooth, pourable icing and drizzle it onto the bread using a spoon.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.