Nutty Pumpkin Squares

As the seasons change, these tender pumpkin cake squares make a comforting autumn treat

These bars feel just like your favourite fall sweaters, cozy scarves and walks in the leaves with a hot beverage—peaceful, familiar and full of potential for cuddles.

Nutty Pumpkin Cake Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 12 ounces (1 1/4 cups) pure pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup caramel, store-bought or homemade


  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons warm water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8-inch cake pan with canola oil cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. Make the cake: Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cloves into a large bowl and stir together.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin purée, sugar, canola oil, and eggs until the sugar is dissolved and no oily film remains around the edges.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the ingredients are fully incorporated and no dry flour remains. Scoop the batter into the prepared cake pan and, using a small offset palette knife, smooth out the top.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the chopped pecans and caramel. Drop teaspoonfuls of caramel pecan mixture evenly over the batter to cover as much surface area as possible. Do not mix it in. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and water until smooth. Drizzle the glaze diagonally over the cooled cake in a zig-zag pattern.
  7. Cut the squares using a serrated knife. Wipe the knife clean with a warm cloth between each cut to get nice clean cuts.

Do Ahead

The cake can be baked ahead and stored, un-glazed and wrapped in beeswax or plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can make the caramel ahead and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. The glazed squares are best enjoyed at room temperature on the day of baking but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Makes one 8-inch square pan, nine 2 1/2-inch square bars
Prep: 15 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook: 50 minutes

Excerpted from Cake & Loaf Gatherings: Sweet and Savoury Recipes to Celebrate Every Occasion by Nickey Miller and Josie Rudderham. Copyright © 2023 Nickey Miller and Josie Rudderham. Photography and illustrations by Nickey Miller. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.