Servings: 8 to 12
A gingery glazed nut topping and brown-butter-spiked cream cheese frosting are the finishing touches for this spectacular spiced pumpkin cake. Double the topping if you want to pile the nuts on as shown in the photo.
For more side Thanksgiving dessert recipes visit The Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner.
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Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans with removable bottoms (or butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter the parchment, and flour the pans).
Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Pour into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk 1-1/2 cups of the pumpkin purée with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until very well blended. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the pan bottoms or parchment, and cool completely.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and the brown sugar has dissolved, 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Put one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread 1/2 cup of the frosting on the layer. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nut mixture over the frosting and top with the second layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Arrange the remaining topping in a ring 1-1/2 inches in from the edge of the cake and serve
Make Ahead Tips
You can make the purée up to 2 days ahead. The assembled, frosted cake can be covered with a cake dome and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature.
You can substitute canned pumpkin purée for homemade, if you like.
I have been making this cake for years. It was featured on the cover of the magazine and I bought it just because that cake looked so good! I made it the next day and it has been a requested cake in my family ever since. It is absolutely the BEST pumpkin cake I have ever had. It's a little bit of work but worth every bit of it. Make it, and you won't be disappointed!
Delicious and beautiful. I made the cake a few days ahead and refrigerated it and then frosted it the day of so I didn't mess up the frosting. I will definately make again
I made this cake plus 2 other great desserts for a large party. This plate was the only one scraped clean. I got so many compliments on it I could have had investors in a bakery. I did do a couple of things differently...I didn't have pepitas and I forgot the ginger; the topping was fabulous anyway. And, I happen to love the browned, salty milk solids that the browned butter leaves,(I used salted butter) so I put them in the frosting, and I think that's what made it wonderful. I didn't add the vanilla like some suggested, but I will next time. I think this frosting could be easily used on a boxed spice cake mix, and be awesome. Amazing recipe!
I have been wanting to make this cake for like, a couple years. Oh, I should have made it sooner. This cake is out of this world, delicious. So flavorful, moist with a nice balance of flavors. Its deeply satisfying! I did add two teaspoons of vanilla. And in the frosting I added a 1/2 cup of butter and more confectioners sugar. Had enough to frost the cake with about 1/2 cup left over. I am posting it to my blog Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness on Saturday.
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