Little Bites: Patrick Musel of Praline Bakery and Bistro’s Pumpkin Pound Cake

By Nevin Martell

Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Oftentimes chefs don’t want to cook another meal when they get home after an arduous 12-hour stretch behind the burners. But throwing together a comforting snack to help take the edge off the day is another proposition entirely. These scrumptious nibbles don’t require a degree from the Culinary Institute of America to make, but they’re worthy of winning a Top Chef Quickfire Challenge.

This week, we stop by Bethesda’s Praline Bakery & Bistro, which is owned and operated by pastry chefs Susan Limb and Patrick Musel. The duo met while working in the White House and opened this charming patisserie-cafe in the spring of 2006. Musel took a break from baking to share his autumnal recipe for pumpkin pound cake. Cut a thick slice of this and get yourself a latte for the perfect afternoon snack.


Pumpkin Pound Cake


  • 2 oz. unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 oz. canola oil
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1 lb. 7 oz. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 oz. baking soda
  • 1/2 oz. salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 lbs. pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz. chopped fresh cranberries



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease three 9×5 loaf pans. (You can also make muffins instead of loaves, which is also helpful if you have extra batter after filling the loaf pans.)
  2. Combine butter, oil, sugar, eggs and sour cream in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5. Fold in pumpkin puree and fresh cranberries.
  6. Divide and pour into prepared loaf pans.
  7. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Cool on rack for 30 minutes and then unmold from pans and cool completely.