Dreamy rich and indulgent pumpkin layer cake with caramel. This layer cake is perfectly frosted with pumpkin spice cream cheese buttercream and pecans. This layer cake is the perfect seasonal dessert to share with family!
It’s incredibly difficult for me to get into the whole “fall” season when we are still dealing with 90 degree weather. What has totally been tricking my mind lately is the amount of sunlight in the evening. I know the “seasonings” have changed because it’s dark outside at 6pm. When did that happen? I swear it’s easier to get into autumn living in the Mid-West. I mean, I LIVED for fall. Or maybe fall lived for me?!? Anyway, back to this Pumpkin Layer Cake! Mom and I have been wanting to make a layer cake together since forever ago. It’s my first one for the blog and I’ve got to say that I really enjoyed making this, especially with her!
I have so much to be thankful for. I shared with you guys last week that my mom and best friend surprised me for my birthday. They flew into town to celebrate with me and spent the week here. Well, my mom’s flight was delayed due to Hurricane Nate. Maybe I should explain.
Nate was forecast to hit the Gulf Coast as a windy category one hurricane. The day before her departure and the arrival of the storm it was “windy” here. Part of me thinks she wanted a reason to stay longer and part of me thinks she wasn’t aware of what to expect. Anyway, she rescheduled her flight because it was an available option due to weather conditions.
Nate made landfall southwest of New Orleans. Luckily, we didn’t see much damage here. We were lucky that we had time to prepare ahead. We spent Friday filling up on gas, stocking up on water and refilling our emergency hurricane kit. Of course, we also hit up Home Depot to get wood cut to keep busy over the weekend and make new shelves for the cabinets. Just another bonus to having mom in town!
Have you guys seen all those beautiful cake videos on facebook? You know, the ones that are like 45-seconds long and make frosting the cake look like a breeze? I always wondered if I’d grow up to be a cake decorator and I’ve got to say, it’s really a learned skill. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m working in high humidity. I mean, we frosted this cake at 10pm and still had to do a second coat once cooled.
I’ve included extra ingredients to fight against high humidity but it was pretty clear that this cake needed to chill after the first frosting. Some call this step a crumb coating. However, there really were no crumbs. Instead, we allowed the frosting to harden on the cake in a thin layer before being able to get a desirable and smooth coat on top.
The trick to getting a smooth top is to use an offset spatula. It also helped to run the spatula under hot water to sort of melt the imperfections into the frosting. All in all, you don’t need to have cake decorating skills to make this cake. If I’m being completely honest, this is my first layer cake as an adult. Be patient and cool the cake in the refrigerator as needed.
You’ll love showing this cake with family and friends!
Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cake
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/52 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons caramel extract
- 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup milk
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 24 ounces cream cheese block(s), at room temperature
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1 stick )
- 7 1/2 - 8 cups powdered confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon caramel extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pumpkin spice
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8 x 8 inch round cake pans; set aside. Alternatively, you may use an 8 x 8 inch round cake pan and bake three separate layers.In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; set aside.In a bowl fit with a mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar; about 4 minutes.Slowly mix in half the oil then beat; 3 minutes. Beat in the remaining oil. With the mixer on low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time until fully combined. Beat in pumpkin puree.Slowly beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating between dry ingredients and milk. End with dry ingredients then beat just until mixed.Evenly divide pumpkin batter between three prepared cake pans or bake one at a time. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until center of cake is set. Cake is done if the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Allow cake to cool then remove from cake pan(s) and place on cooling rack. Cake should be completely cooled before frosting crumb coat.To Make the FrostingBeat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Slowly beat in powdered confectioner's sugar. Heat flour in microwave for 30 seconds then beat in flour.Beat in caramel extract, vanilla extract and salt.Refrigerate, about 1 hour.To Assemble and Frost CakePlace cake on cake stand. Place first layer on bottom. Add frosting to first layer then evenly spread. Place second layer on top. Repeat with frosting. Place third layer on top. Coat with frosting, working down the sides of the cake until coated. Place cake and remaining frosting in refrigerator until frosting hardens and cools. Work the second coat of frosting over cake top and sides. Use an offset spatula dipped in hot water to smooth frosting top of cake. Carefully add chopped pecans to side of cake. Place pecans in hand then pat onto sides. Refrigerate until ready to serve.