This is a specialty of Los Angeles teacher and cooking school owner Phyllis Vacarelli. I tasted it at her house when visiting in October 1995 and just had to have the recipe—I know it will immediately become one of your favorites, too. This is a perfect breakfast or brunch cake, or you can dress it up for dinner with a scoop of cinnamon or butter pecan ice cream.

Makes two 9-x -5-x-3-inch loaf cakes, about 15 to 18 servings


3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 16-ounce can pumpkin
1/3 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil, such as corn or canola
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs
2 cups (about 8 ounces) pecan pieces, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) dark or golden raisins

Two 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pans, buttered and floured

  1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine 3 cups of the flour and all other ingredients except pecans and raisins in bowl of mixer with paddle attachment. Beat 2 minutes on low speed.
  3. Dust the pecans and raisins with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour and fold into the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick emerges clean, about 1 hour.
  5. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then cool on a rack. Wrap and store at room temperature or freeze.