Pumpkin Ale Cake + A Pumpkin Party!

Guys. The amazing Sara Cornelius of Cake Over Steak has organized a virtual celebration of pumpkin! I can’t decide if she’s a genius or just my hero. Probably both. Because can you think of a better way to ring in the autumn season? And if you don’t slow down and eat loads of pumpkin, you’re probably doing October wrong.

Side note, thanks to my good friend Charlene I’m getting in all of my favorite Halloween and fall activities! Countless movies and two bent pumpkin carving knives later…

So what did I pick for my pumpkin recipe to share? Well the changing leaves and blustery winds always make me a bit homesick, so I perused around the old MN church cookbook for some inspiration. And I came across a recipe for a pumpkin beer bread! The best sounding recipe ever. Am I right? But wait! It gets better. I tried this baby out and the beer bread is more like a beer cake! With a crunchy top to boot! Add a sweet glaze and you’ve got yourself one kick-ass pumpkin-rific cake.

Creamy pumpkin, fragrant spices, bubbly beer, and soft golden raisins come together in one bite to make all of your whimsical October dreams come true. So now that I’ve got you all excited about pumpkin, I’m sure you’re just dying to get this recipe and all of the others.

Well first, I thought I’d share with you a secret to success with this cake. Golden raisins are sprinkled throughout to make each piece extra flavorful. If you skip one important step, however, the raisins will all sink to the bottom and make a big mess. In the batter, the fruit pieces always seem so well dispersed before it bakes. But in the oven, before the batter cooks and thickens, the heat thins out the batter. That’s when the pieces can sink.

The secret? Flour those fruit pieces before mixing them into the batter. I bet you have heard of this tip, but did you ever wonder why it works? The flour acts to suck up extra water on the exterior of the fruit. This extra water can be released during baking, and when the crumb isn’t set yet, it essentially makes the pieces slippery in the batter causing them to fall to the bottom of the pan. By sucking up any excess water in the nooks and crannies of the fruit pieces, flour helps to keep those pieces “sticky” and suspended within the batter. So cool, right?!

Also, another interesting note about the science in this recipe: remember that epic post all about beer waffles I did earlier this fall (also with Cake Over Steak)? Well, this cake uses some of that super-amazing functionality of the beer. The extra bubbles from the carbonated beer help the cake to rise extra tall and create that crisp crust. Use pumpkin or another seasonal beer to really step this cake’s game up!

Well pals. The time has come. Pumpkin mania! Head on over to Cake Over Steak for a full list of the recipes, or scroll down below the recipe to browse them! And ‘tis the season to be pumpkin-y.

Pumpkin Ale Cake

Makes 3 small cakes (4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inch) and 1 large 6×6 inch cake, or 2 9×5 inch cakes

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1-16 oz can pumpkin

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup beer (I used a seasonal fall beer)

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups golden raisins—dusted with 1-2 teaspoons flour

Glaze (optional)

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

⅓ cup milk

1. Preheat your oven to 350⁰F. Grease and flour your selection of pans. Set aside.

2. Cream the sugar and oil together in a stand mixer for 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin. Scrape the bowl and make sure everything is incorporated.

3. Mix the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together in a small bowl and add to the pumpkin mixture. Mix to combine.

4. Alternating, add the beer and flour in 3 parts each beginning with the beer. Mix for about 30-45 seconds until just mixed. Fold in the flour-coated golden raisins with a rubber spatula by hand.

5. Divide your batter amongst your baking pans. The pans should be filled about ⅔ of the way with batter for a nicely domed cake.

6. Bake your cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This could take up to 1 hour for the larger cakes.

7. Top with glaze and enjoy while warm. This cake also freezes well, so thaw in the fridge overnight and heat in the microwave when ready for a special pumpkin breakfast the next morning!

Hooray for the fall flavors!

Pumpkin Lovin’ (it’s pretty epic)

B. Britnell • Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Macaroni
A Couple Cooks • Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter
I Am a Food Blog • Roasted Pumpkin and Pork Stuffed Shells
Well and Full • Harissa-Spiced Pumpkin Gnocchi
Loves Food, Loves to Eat • Pumpkin Pork Burrito Bowls
Girl Versus Dough • Pumpkin Challah
Snixy Kitchen • Black Sesame Pumpkin Mochi Cake
Hungry Girl por Vida • Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake
Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • Pumpkin Spice Latte Truffles
Two Red Bowls • Pumpkin & Caramelized Onion Galette
The Frosted Vegan • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Gingersnaps
Warm Vanilla Sugar • Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Ice Cream + Affogato
An Edible Mosaic • Pumpkin Spice Latte Snack Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream
Kitchen Konfidence • Yeasted Pumpkin Waffles with Candied Ginger
Chocolate + Marrow • Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Butter Swirl
The Pig & Quill • Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes with Pumpkin Spice Caramel + Coconut Cream
Salt & Wind • Apple Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins with Pepita Streusel
With Food + Love • Creamy Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets
A Cookie Named Desire • Pumpkin Crepes with Cinnamon Ginger Cheesecake
Nommable • Pumpkin Moon Pies
Feed Me Phoebe • Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy
The Yellow Table • Coconut-Curry Pumpkin Soup
Ginger & Toasted Sesame • Pumpkin Ricotta Gnudi
The Crepes of Wrath • Pumpkin Pie Cake
The Swirling Spoon • Pumpkin Hand Pies
Erin Made This • Pumpkin Rye Waffles with Coconut Caramel
Beard and Bonnet • Pumpkin Spice Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandwiches
My Name is Yeh • Pumpkin Slice and Bake Cookies
Earthy Feast • Pumpkin-Stuffed Turnip-Ravioli with Pepita Pesto
Broma Bakery • Pumpkin Pie White Chocolate Brownies
Floating Kitchen • Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum
The Sugar Hit • Pumpkin Everything Bagels
The Bojon Gourmet • Pumpkin Flatbread with Gruyére and Crispy Sage (gluten-free)
Sprinkled with Jules • Pumpkin Spice French Macarons
Feast + West • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Toffee Bark
Jojotastic • Pumpkin Cinnamon Rimming Sugar
Fix Feast Flair • Pumpkin Spice Japanese Cheesecake
Appeasing a Food Geek • Pumpkin Ale Cake
Tending the Table • Roasted Pumpkin with Tamarind and Coriander Chutney
Long Distance Baking • Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream + Pumpkin Pancakes
My Blue & White Kitchen • Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto
Fork Vs. Spoon • Pumpkin Buttermilk Pudding
Alyssa & Carla • Pumpkin Tea Bread (in a Coffee Can!)
Twin Stripe • Pumpkin Spice Toffee
Le Jus d’Orange • Lentil-Stuffed Acorn Squash, Crispy King Oyster Bacon + Aged Goat Cheese
The Scratch Artist • Japanese Pumpkin Temaki with Ginger Kale Chips
Brewing Happiness • Caramelized Apple Pumpkin Muffins
Blogging Over Thyme • Homemade Candied Pecan Pumpkin Ice Cream Drumsticks
Heartbeet Kitchen • Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes
The Speckled Palate • Pumpkin Brown Butter Streusel Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie
Style Sweet CA • Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Checkerboard Cake
Fork to Belly • Pumpkin Orange Brulee Pie
Tasty Yummies • Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Påte á Chew • Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting
Holly & Flora • Pumpkin Pie Martini with Coconut Cream + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Southern Soufflé • Sorghum Pumpkin Soufflés
Okie Dokie Artichokie • Creamy Pumpkin and Chorizo Pasta Bake, Cheese Tortellini, Sage-Mascarpone Sauce, Toasted Hazelnuts
Kale & Caramel • Pumpkin Goat Cheese Polenta with Brown Butter Thyme Mushrooms & Kale
The Little Epicurean • Maple Pumpkin Butter Brioche Toast
Vigor and Sage • Maple Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie
Tried and Tasty • Whole Wheat Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Sprouted Routes • Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sweet & Spicy Roasted Pepitas (gluten free)
The Fauxmartha • Baked Pumpkin Donuts
So… Let’s Hang Out • Grain-Free Apple Crumble Pumpkin Pie
Wit & Vinegar • Pumpkin Flaxseed Dog Treats
Dunk & Crumble • Pumpkin Roundup
Biscuits and Such • Pumpkin Pound Cake
SugarHero! • Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pound Cake
A Little Saffron • Spiced Pepita Brittle
Farmette • “Tis Different” Pumpkin Pie



  1. Ohhh HECK yes to beer in cake, love love love it! This party is basically the best thing ever, right? I want it ALL!

    • Kelsey
      October 21

      Awww yeah this party is seriously the best thing to happen to the internet. The problem is that now I don’t have any pumpkin to enjoy today at work…so I’m going through some things over here 😉

  2. This sounds so good! How could your wrong when you combine pumpkin, beer, and cake!? I love that you get into the science of how it works. I’m a science nerd as well! :-)

    • Kelsey
      October 21

      Hi Julia! Yes pumpkin, beer, and cake together at last! Glad to hear you’re a fellow science nerd! :)

  3. October 21

    I love that cake mold!! It’s gorgeous! And this cake sounds HEAVENLY. I’ve been testing out beers in cakes and brownies so you were totally reading my mind with this cake!!

    • Kelsey
      October 22

      Thanks Erica! Yes beer + baked goods = amazing results 😉 xoxo

  4. So cool! I did not know that trick with the raisins. I can’t get over that elephant! you have the best dishes and props!

    • Kelsey
      October 22

      Thanks Kathryn! :)

    • Kelsey
      December 4

      Thanks for organizing Sara! It truly was a blast! And yummy 😀

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