Alright, so I have to admit…this week’s challenge for Clash of the Cooks bye WHOLE FOODS ENCINITAS was incredibly puzzling, BUT

I am TOTALLY proud of myself!!

if you were given these four ingredients what would you do? :

  1. Coffee
  2. canned Pumpkin
  3. a jar of hot sauce
  4. fresh made Parmesan crisp crackers


At first I thought of BBQ sauce… I have a few rubs and a few awesome sauce recipe’s that involve mixing hot sauce and coffee and a few other ingredients to splash over a good chunk of meat and throw on the grill…  But then what the heck do I do with the pumpkin and crackers??


Okay, second thought:  Maybe some ice cream?? I’ve always had a love for coffee ice cream and I have heard there are some health benefits(not sure what exactly they are or if they are true lol) to putting a dash or two of hot sauce in your coffee each morning…so maybe I could make some ice cream with a dash of hot sauce?? Then I could put together a pumpkin scone with the Parmesan crackers. That works right??

Right.  But my crazy mind kept telling myself, “its not unique enough…. it’s not challenging enough.”
So okay, I went back to the drawing board and thought up this idea….

Pumpkin Parmesan Java Coffeecake


  • 2 cups of Pure Cane Sugar
  • 2 cups of All Purpose Flour,
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tbs hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon fine grained salt
  • 2 tbs coffee (fresh brewed double strength)
  • ¾ cup of melted unsalted butter,
  • 2 cups of cooked pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs beaten,
  • 1 pkg Parmesan crisp crackers soaked in strong coffee for 10-15 minutes

Frosting Ingredients

  • 3 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons strong coffee
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups of powdered sugar,
  • ½ cup of pecan pieces, soaked in 3 Tablespoons of that strong coffee
  • 2-3 Parmesan crip pieces crumbled and spread on top with the pecan crumbles


1. Preheat oven to 350. and brew a pot of extra strong coffee and Grease a 9 x 13 glass baking dish

2. For frosting prep, chop nuts, place in a small bowl and add coffee to soak.

3. Set aside. 2-3 pieces of Parmesan crisp then place the rest of the Parmesan crisps in a shallow dish and pour strong coffee over the top, let sit for 10-15 minutes.

4. combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk through to mix.

5. Add strong coffee, butter, pumpkin and eggs. Mix until all ingredients are just moistened.

6. Flop the 1/2 batter into the greased dish, spread with a spatula then lay soaked Parmesan crisps across the surface of the baking dish then cover with remaining batter.

7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

8. Remove from heat and thoroughly cool before frosting. For frosting, use a mixer to beat cream cheese, butter, coffee and vanilla until fluffy.

9. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until everything comes together. Spread over top of cake.

10. Crumble the 2-3 Parmesan crisp pieces and mix quickly into the Pecan nut concoction then Generously sprinkle coffee soaked pecans and crumbled Parmesan mixture across the top.

Despite all the troubles and the hours questioning myself, wondering what on earth I should do with these ingredients… I am happy to report: IT WORKED!!!  My gamble with these “spicy n sweet” ingredients   FINISHED!!! AND IT TASTES GOOD!!!


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