Pumpkin Spice Cajeta

by autumn on September 23, 2012

I drink my coffee black. I’m always surprised at the reactions that this elicits. In a deli in Yonkers, the guy behind the counter asked if I had had a “rough night” after I turned down milk and sugar even after the second time he asked. Nope. I am also not on a diet. Even at Dunkin’ Donuts, the temple of “light and sweet” coffee, I break their hearts and ask for my coffee black.

This is all a round-about apology for that fact that I’m not crazy about a certain seasonal coffee drink that gets a lot of play this time of year. I simply prefer a coffee and a treat over a coffee that is a treat. (Although, I can certainly support a D.I.Y version.) Pumpkin spice cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel with warm fall spices, keeps both the latte lovers and haters happy. Of course, you could stir this into a caffeinated beverage, but I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t consume the entire jar with just a spoon. There aren’t enough superfluous food adjectives to describe how great this stuff is.

After an ill-fated attempt at cajeta pudding that ended with curdled, scalding goat’s milk spraying from my blender, I had a fierce, unfulfilled cajeta craving. I remedied that with a fall riff on this goat’s milk caramel recipe from Rick Bayless. If you’re a little caramel-shy because of the whole burning sugar thing, this caramel is made from cooking the milk and sugar low and slow until the liquid reduces and caramelizes. In other words, no hot sugar.

Pumpkin Spice Cajeta


  • 1 quart goat's milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger, ground clove, and ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
  • 1 spent vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Cooking Directions

  1. Mix the baking soda with about 2 teaspoons of water and set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer while stirring frequently.
  3. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the baking soda mixture. It may foam up slightly.
  4. Return to heat and bring it to a steady simmer. Regulate the heat (I kept mine around medium-low) to maintain a steady simmer for 45-60 minutes.
  5. When the mixture turns a golden color and noticeably thickens, begin to stir more frequently and test for doneness.
  6. The mixture is done when a drop or two on a plate doesn't run when cooled for a minute or two in the freezer.
  7. Let cool completely to room temperature and store in the refrigerator. Eat with a spoon.



Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar September 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm

This sounds fabulous! And so unique!


2 autumn September 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

Thanks, Katrina!


3 la domestique September 25, 2012 at 4:49 am

I think you are awesome for drinking your coffee black. The second temperatures drop below 70 degrees I start craving hot chocolate, but I could definitely enjoy this cajeta.


4 autumn September 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

I totally had a hot chocolate craving the other day too! I’m sure it wasn’t much below 70 either 🙂


5 amelia September 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

this looks so good but I’m majorly lactose intolerant – do you think I could make this with coconut milk or almond milk?


6 autumn September 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

Hi Amelia, Thanks! If I were you, I’d seek out a similar recipe that is specific to those ingredients and adapt the spice. For example, here’s a coconut milk jam: http://blog.junbelen.com/2011/04/26/how-to-make-coconut-jam-and-buttermilk-biscuits-2/. I also have the book “Viva Vegan,” by Terry Hope Romero and there is a Coconut dulce de leche recipe in there that’s worth checking out. That said, I too am lactose intolerant and do ok with goat’s milk, although that sounds like it might not be the case with you.


7 kelly @ kellybakes September 26, 2012 at 3:05 am

I may be a huge pumpkin spice latte fan (I blame two years of donning the green apron), but I am open-minded and open-hearted when it comes to any and all things fall. This sounds perfectly lovely.


8 autumn September 26, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thanks, Kelly! I actually tried one after writing this post. I was pleasantly surprised. I had remembered disliking it, but it was pretty good!


9 Sarah October 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm

This sounds yummy! But I was wondering, does it have to be goats milk, or does regular milk work just as well too?


10 autumn October 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Thanks, Sarah! Definitely. Here’s a normal dulce de leche recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/dulce-de-leche-recipe/index.html. I’d use that as a guide and incorporate the pumpkin spices into that.


11 Billy October 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I’ve totally had his cajeta on my to make list! My only issue is finding the goats milk. I’ve seen it a couple times from local places but it’s like a million dollars and I don’t think I need it that bad.

I’m on a mission.


12 autumn October 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

No, you’re totally right. It definitely falls into #treatyoself territory.


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