Hello! It is finally time to share this amazing pumpkin tea cake with meringue recipe! This is probably one of the best things I’ve made in the past few months, so I’m super excited to share it with you. The texture and flavor is very similar to the starbucks pumpkin loaf, if you’ve ever had that, but its just *that* much better. Just trust on this.
I was inspired to make this cake after stumbling across a bon appetit recipe for a sweet potato tea cake. I’m not exactly sure how I got there, but sometimes that’s when the best things happen. I knew that I wasn’t going to bake or steam sweet potatoes just to make this recipe, so I broke out the lonely can of pumpkin from my pantry.
I think it’s safe to say that if you did want to make this with sweet potatoes, you absolutely could. It would probably change the color of the loaf, but hey, that’s no big deal. You could also easily cut the sugar in the loaf cake to 1 cup if you dont want it to be as *sweet*. I would leave the amount of sugar in the meringue alone, as you want it to be there so the egg whites whip up super shiny and smooth.
So lets talk about why there’s meringue on top of the tea cake. Could you make it without it? Absolutely. But the puffy, chewy texture of the meringue in this recipe is really something special and not something I had tried before. If you’re up for a challenge, this is a great recipe to dip your toe in making swiss meringue.
The Swiss Meringue method of front-loading the egg whites with sugar interferes with the coagulation of both conalbumin (an egg white protein) and ovalbumin (the main protein in egg whites), which produces a meringue that’s less fluffy than French and less stable than Italian but easier by far to work with.
Separating your Eggs
Really the most important part about getting lift into a meringue is to make sure that no egg yolk gets in while separating your eggs. I do this by separating the white from the yolk into a separate bowl and inspecting it before adding it to the larger bowl. Your meringue wont lift properly if you have yolk in it, so definitely don’t skip this step!
There are also many tools to help you separate eggs and if you are comfortable using them, great! If not, just use the shells, or even your hand to separate them. The fresher your eggs, the harder it will be to separate the whites, but the lighter your meringue will be. I’ll take the trade off.
So now it’s time for you to take your baking training wheel off and give this pumpkin tea cake with meringue a shot in the kitchen! I swear you wont be disappointed. 🙂
Pumpking Tea Cake with Meringue
Its pumpkin season any time with this classic pumpkin tea cake topped with a silky Swiss meringue which bakes up crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
- 1⅓ cups plus 1 Tbsp. 185 g all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 1 cup 255 g Pumpkin Puree
- ¾ cup 180ml neutral oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 cups 400 g sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°. Lightly butter sides and bottom of a 9×5″ loaf pan. Line pan lengthwise with parchment paper, leaving about a 2″ overhang.
Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, baking soda, and cloves in a medium bowl to combine.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat pumpkin purée, oil, salt, and 1⅓ cups (266 g) sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition before adding the next. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add dry ingredients and beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl, then reduce speed to medium and continue to beat until smooth, 5–10 seconds (batter should be the consistency of a thick purée). Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth surface with an offset spatula.
Pour water to a depth of about 2″ into a medium saucepan, heat over medium, and bring water to a simmer. Whisk egg whites and remaining ⅔ cup (134 g) sugar in a medium bowl (or use the stand mixer bowl) set over simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Continue to whisk until whites are hot to the touch (an instant-read thermometer should register 120°), about 5 minutes.
Carefully remove bowl from pan and immediately beat on high speed (or return bowl to stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment) until mixture is very thick and holds stiff peaks when you lift out the beaters, 5–7 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to combine.
Spoon meringue over batter. Drag a knife through meringue and batter to create a marbled pattern. Don’t thin out the meringue too much, though; it bakes best when left in thicker patches.
Bake cake until a paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 90–100 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife around short sides of pan, lift out cake using parchment overhang, and let cool completely. Serve cake at room temperature.
Do Ahead: Cake can be made 4 days ahead. Tightly wrap and store at room temperature, or chill up to 1 week.
** Recipe inspired by Bon Appetite