Pumpkin Spice Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This charming cake is a delicious spiced pumpkin cake with brown butter frosting. I first saw this cake in Country Home magazine and realized it was a winner and a perfect Halloween dessert. I have slightly adapted the original recipe, but used the jack-o-lantern stencil from Country Home. After frosting the cake, lay the stencil on top and sprinkle a cinnamon-sugar mixture over the cake top to create the friendly pumpkin face.
Recipe type: Dessert | Butter Layer Cake
Serves: 8 to 10
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
Brown Butter Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • ¼ cup milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • About ½ cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8 inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour.
Optional: Use cake strips around the pans to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Tip: Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is 2 to 3 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, milk, and vanilla; stir together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed. Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the pumpkin mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and pumpkin mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  6. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top of the batter with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Brown Butter Frosting:
  1. In a small heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter over medium heat until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Pour the hot butter through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the burned sediment. Discard burned sediment.
  2. Let butter sit until it is cooled, reaches room temperature and solidifies, or cover and chill about 1 hour until it begins to solidify, remove from refrigerator and let sit until it is room temperature and solidified.
  3. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and continue beating another 1 to 2 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy. Tip: The frosting should be used immediately as it will set up while standing. If frosting becomes too firm to spread add a few drops of milk and re-whip to reach spreading consistency.
  4. Using an offset spatula, spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Spread the frosting as smooth as possible over the top and sides.
  1. As soon as cake is frosted, gently press the chopped pecans into the frosting around the sides of the cake. Tip: the frosting sets up fairly quickly; add the pecans while the frosting is still soft so the pecans will adhere to the frosting.
  2. Let the cake sit until the frosting is set or cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until the frosting is set.Pumpkin Spice Cake
  3. In a small bowl, combine superfine sugar and cinnamon. Place the cutout pumpkin stencil on top of the frosted cake. Place the cinnamon mixture in a fine mesh sieve and sprinkle over the top of the cake and stencil; carefully lift off the stencil.
Adapted from: http://www.countryhome.com
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two 8" Round Layers Pan Prep: Greased and Floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Covered, Room Temperature

Help: Cake Hints and Tips

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cakes/pumpkin-spice-cake/