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Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake

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Serves 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.

For the purée
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium-large Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut in half from stem to bottom and seeded
Tip:
You can substitute canned pumpkin purée for homemade, if you like.
For the cake
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pans
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
For the topping
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, raw, hulled pepitas
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. chopped crystallized ginger
For the frosting
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 oz. (1-1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
Make the pumpkin purée

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Brush a 9x13-inch baking dish with the oil. Put the pumpkin halves in the dish cut side down and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Let cool. Peel the pumpkin and purée the flesh in a food processor until smooth. You’ll need 1-1/2 cups of the purée for the cake. Refrigerate or freeze any remaining purée for another use.

Make the cake

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.

Make the topping

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and pepitas and cook until the pecans brown slightly and the pepitas begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the ginger. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool in the skillet.

Make the frosting

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 the solids settle at the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the bowl to the freezer and chill until just firm, about 18 minutes. Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter from bowl, leaving the browned solids at the bottom; discard the solids.

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.

Assemble the cake

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.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 660; Fat (g): fat g 36; Fat Calories (kcal): 320; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 18; Protein (g): protein g 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 80; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 440; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 115; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

When my daughter got married, I told her I would make her wedding cake. The plan was to bake several cakes until she settled on the one she really liked. I started and ended with this cake. She fell in love with it, as we all have, and it was a perfect cake for her fall wedding. As my sister said, "Perfectly civilized guests turned into a frantic mob, coming back for seconds and thirds!" Now, I make it every fall as it is so delicious.

One of my favorite cakes to make now. I usually skip the crystallized ginger and pepitas and just use pecans.

Probably, the best cake I have ever had. This is my favorite recipe and a serious crowd pleaser. This cake is impressive.

Super delicious! Easy to make and got huge raves all around. I increased recipe by half again to make a 3 layer cake (doubled the frosting) and left out the pepitas, but otherwise did recipe as written. Cake baked up even, moist and delicious. This is a keeper - will use again and again. Next up - cupcakes.

I have made this cake about 10 times now. Every time I make it there is somebody who has never tried it and I always hear "That's the best cake I've ever had." I now have family and friends asking me to make it for the Holidays. I'm making 4 just for Thanksgiving this year.... It's awesome.

I will be making this for Thanksgiving for the fourth year in a row. This cake is so delicious that it has now replaced some of the pies we used to have. Lots of steps but well worth the end result!

Fantastic! Don't worry that the layers are only 1". Once you add the nuts & seeds in middle the cake is the right height. For those who like much frosting, I would recommend doubling the ingredients as there was just enough. I am making this for Thanksgiving!

Fabulous. Thank goodness I read the reviews. The review about using a coffee filter to strain the butter before putting it in the freezer was a tremendous help. It took all the brown pieces out of the butter. Also, definitely make at least 1 1/2 times the icing. This cake was a hit at a dinner party. Can't wait to make it again.

All the reviews are right on! This is truly the best cake ever. I did double the topping and did 1 1/2 the frosting and did add vanilla to the frosting. Unbelievably delicious!

Absolutely wonderful. Made 1/2 recipe of the cake (for 6" cake) but full frosting and double the topping with pecans not pepitas. Also used all the brown bits in the butter....not only delicious but as pretty as a bakery cake.

Got good reviews from all who tasted it. Turned out just like the picture, was moist and kept well over several days. Added to the frosting vanilla, maple syrup and whipping cream to give more flavor and increase the amount of frosting. I like lots.

Best cake I ever made!!!

I have made this cake three times ... always delicious! ... mild gingery flavor. The topping pushes it to the next level. I made a bit more topping and included more between the layers. It keeps very well in the refrigerator for days after your cake celebration. The last time I made it, I baked and frosted it the day before and kept it covered and cool. I think it's even better the next day. Perfect with vanilla/caramel swirl ice cream. If you have leftover topping, it's delicious sprinkled on ice cream. Store in the freezer.

I made this amazing cake for Thanksgiving. When my sister found out I made a Pumpkin cake (she was expecting chocolatey) she was disappointed. Well she loved, loved, loved it! She said she will never poo-poo anything I choose ever again. I have baked so many cakes over the years. This is one of the best. I did add a teaspoon vanilla and cut the cloves in half because I am not a fan. As I was mixing the frosting I added a 1/4 C. too much brown sugar.....oopsie. Well, I just threw in an extra 1/4 C. softened butter, 1 t. vanilla and some extra confectioners sugar to even it out. Fabulous. I had plenty of frosting to cover the whole cake without skimping. The Cake to frosting ration was perfect and it was even better over the next few days in the refrigerator. My other sister has made it now twice in the last month with the same raved reviews. I am serving it to my Son and his new girlfriend tonight. This will be my go to dessert for holiday dinners.

After reading other reviews, I too added extra spice to the cake. I also made it a sheet cake after reading about the need for extra fosting for the layers. I baked it for 35 minutes and it came out perfectly! There was plenty of frosting and topping and it was very easy to serve. I baked it in a buttered/floured glass pan. I made it last night to test on my husband. He loved it. I plan to make another to take to my sister's house for Christmas Day. A nice change from pumpkin pie and the frosting is wonderful - not too sweet!

Absolutely fantastic cake! Good the day you make it and great even days later. I read other reviews about having difficulty separating the butter for the frosting and decided to use a REALLY small stainless bowl for the freezer. This made it very easy to separate the browned butter from the dark sediment pieces. I did have to make the cake twice though as I forgot the pumpkin puree the first time. I had the puree on the counter but it's not listed in the cake ingredients per say, just above it and in the direction content, so when I was double checking my steps by ingredients I forgot it.

This is a stunner - for the eyes and the tastebuds. Let me start by saying this was the first cake I've ever made so you don't need to be a pro to do this. As per other reviewer's suggestions, I amped the flavour in the cake (2t dried ginger, 1t pumpkin pie spice, 1/8t nutmeg, 1.5t cinnamon, 2 t fresh minced ginger, 2t vanilla extract and 2t molasses) and it was perfect. I also added 1t vanilla to the icing. This cake is moist and very rich and was just as good, if not better, in the days after making it. I also used the brown butter technque for the topping - out of this world. Just let the butter brown in the pan before throwing the pecans and pepitas in. I timed it so that it browned but had not yet created the dark brown separated bits as I didn't want them incorporated in the topping. Also I'm a big ginger fan so I ampled up the crystallized ginger in the topping. Definitely double the icing and topping (although you will have a little left over of both but I'm sure you can find a way to deal with this!) Solidifying the butter was the only tricky part, especially if you double the amount. It takes longer with double the amount and it's easy to let it go past solidified to frozen. In this case, you may get flecks of butter in the icing (I did and no one noticed). I think I could have rectified this by overbeating the icing but I didn't realize what happened at the time. This is a decadent cake, reminiscent of harvest time and prosperity!

This is a fantastic cake. I have made it at least a dozen times and its always a big hit with the family.

I loved this recipe. I stayed true to the original except that I added a few more spices, namely nutmeg which I love. I also skipped the toppings and frosting and used a Vanilla Bean Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream instead. It was the perfect compliment. It was like eating a Pumpkin Spice Latte! Check out photos and the recipe: http://dozenflours.com/2012/10/pumpkin-spice-latte-cake.html

Unbelievably flavorful, moist and delicious - gets rave reviews every time!! I've made these into cupcakes too, and they are equally delicious!

This recipe is just awesome! It's beautiful, unique and absolutely scrumptious! Everyone raved about it and loved it at Thanksgiving. I made it again for a Christmas party. It's a good thing it was all eaten because it is dangerously delicious!

Excellent! The browned butter definitely adds an interesting flavour twist, and the pepitas/nuts are great for texture relief. I would make this again and might try adding rum to the cake batter, as the flavour rather closely resembles that of pumpkin bread and is a bit bland.

I actually made and froze the cake layers a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, thawed it the Monday before and then frosted and refrigerated it the next day. This cake is fabulous!!! Everyone loved it and I'll be making it again!!

I made this cake for my family get together this week and it was a success! Rave reviews all around, everyone with different tastes had nothing but exciting things to say. I've been asked for the recipe by everyone! HUGE SUCCESS!

Yup. Really good. Judging from the reviews here I knew it would be a good one but I was surprised to find that it was actually fairly easy to make as well. Delicious. The icing is a great match for the cake.

This might be the best cake ever!

This is the most delicious cake I've ever made! My family asks for this cake at special occasions. The frosting is amazing too. It looks complicated, with all of the instuctions, but it is well worth it. When I make this cake I use the frosting recipe, but I put candied pecans on top instead and it is fantastic.

O my gosh! I made this cake for a birthday dinner party, and even after tons of food, our guests raved about this cake, even guys! I think the secret is that I made it the night before, and put it on a plate with dome and placed in the fridge. I had been worried about the brown sugar hard chunks in the topping, but the refrigeration put them at a perfectly blended consistency. I can not wait to make this again. I cut it into 12 pieces- really too much for each person, I wish I had given each person about 1/16 cake, then there would have been enough left to take to my assistant tomorrow! I served it with a lemon gingersnap ice cream from Trader Joes that was the perfect complement to the tartness of the cream cheese, and the ginger in the topping and cake. Yummy! I don't know why my husband ordered this magazine for me, but I have made so many awesome recipes in the 4 I have received. Yum-Yum!!!

So, I made this cake as my flagship dessert for a Fall Harvest Celebration party, and let me just say that this is one of the best cakes I have ever made! This cake can and should win awards. It didn't last more than 10 minutes and that's only because there was a line. The simple flavors of the pecans, peptias and ginger enhanced the flavors of the cake (and it makes a beautiful decoration on the cake), and the icing, well, can you say OMG? Amazing. It was decadent! The down side for me was that it seemed to take forever to make; however, if you can follow instructions, this cake is extremely easy to make. Great recipe, highly recommend, five stars all the way, hands down!

Such an amazing cake! I wanted a change from the traditional pumpkin pie, and I had no regrets. I made it for Thanksgiving last year, and my family has been talking about it literally all year. Guess what the request was this year?? More pumpkin cake!

This is the best cake ever!!!! I made this last year at Thanksgiving and the family was scraping the cake plate for every crumb. With a whole buffet full of desserts, this one had people coming back for more.

Made this four times this past Fall. So excellent! I don't have a big sweet tooth but the brown butter flavor in this cake made me want to eat the entire thing myself! Even made it for a dessert buffet party I had. Hear more about it here http://gustatorydelight.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/a-dessert-buffet-fit-for-a-mom-to-be/

GREAT CAKE FOR ANYTIME OF THE YEAR, ESPECIALLY THE FALL. This was the first cake I made at home and it came out perfect. It was so good I ended up making two a month last fall season; it disappears fast! The taste is not overpowering at all and the consistency of the cake is moist and soft yet slightly firm...just the way a cake should be. After making it once it becomes much easier and faster to make. I substituted walnuts for the pecans and pepitas. And instead of using crystallized ginger since I couldn't find it I shredded some fresh ginger and it still came out amazing. Also, if you don't have buttermilk the alternative of milk and lemon juice results in the same taste and consistency.

One of the best cakes I've ever made. Next time I'll omit the nut topping - I didn't especially care for the crunch between the layers of cake. Otherwise, fantastic.

This is truly one of my favorites....I'm making it again today and yes I agree it's the brown butter that just makes this cake so delightful!!!! Enjoy!!!!

This recipe is fantastic. I think it's the browning of the butter. It also makes very tasty cupcakes and recently I modified it to be the bottom layer of a three tier baby shower cake. I put the entire recipe into one 10 inch pan and baked it for 55 minutes. Turned out beautifully.

This has got to be my favorite cake now! I made this for Thanksgiving and it was fantastic! So indulgent with the brown butter. I plan to make this again this week for a party, though I'm going to try to do cupcakes. I'm wondering if I can even do mini cupcakes. This is such a rich cake, a bite or two might be enough for some... Thank you Fine Cooking! This is a winner!

Unbelievable! The cake is incredibly moist and flavorful and the topping is a perfect crunchy contrast to the sweet cake. I too made extra topping but other than that followed the recipe. The brown butter is worth the effort. I did add a splash of vanilla in the cake & frosting. Also cooked the pumpkin ahead and froze it. BIG time saver. Hint: Use sugar pie pumpkins for halloween pumpkins/fall decor and then cook for cake, muffins, etc.

This cake is absolutely fabulous! Although it is more complex than most of the cakes I bake, it's totally worth the effort. My friends and family raved it was the best cake they have ever eaten and I am making it again for Christmas. Every element is harmonious with the next and I love the crunch of the homemade topping. Yup, it's a keeper!

I did not expect this to be nearly as good as it is. It really was loved by all and I will make it again without a doubt.

This is a delicious recipe. I used canned pumpkin and made cupcakes instead of a cake. They were fantastic!

A great cake. I also find one needs more frosting, but fixed that by adding more Icing Sugar to the exisiting mix. The frosting is rich enough with all that cream cheese & butter to handle more. I added vanilla to both the cake & the frosting(On general principles !). I wonder about adding the cooled brown butter to the batter last....it would seem less mixing would be required if it were added to the wet ingredients. Anyone tried that? I used mostly pecans plus some pine nuts, curious to try maple sugar as the glazing agent another time. Our dog ate half a cake layer before I coudl assemble, so had to quickly make a new "half batch"...worked OK!

I've made this twice now, and I am by no means a seasoned baker. The recipe is complex but easy to do well if you follow the instructions, and it might be the best cake I've ever tasted. It's fun, and looks fantastic! Definitely a must for any birthday's around harvest time and a GREAT treat for the holidays. I Love it.

Hands down, the best cake I've ever eaten or made.

This recipe's a keeper. I agree the frosting amount is scant and doesn't need that much sugar. The nuts are a fantastic counterpoint. We tried it a couple of times, and found what we think works best (including substituting 1/2 butternut squash for the pumpkin). Cupcakes with this recipe are killer.

My previous favorite cake was the Buttermilk Butternut Squash Cake (http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/buttermilk-cake-spiced-vanilla-icing.aspx)also from Fine Cooking. This one supplanted it. I made the cake for Thanksgiving and again last night (only 5 days later) and I didn't have any issue with having enough icing, but I did have to bake the cakes for 45 minutes. I double-checked my oven with a thermometer and it is calibrated properly, so I'm not sure why it took nearly twice as long as the recipe says. It is still an excellent cake that I will be making for years.

Made this for Thanksgiving dinner and everyone loved it! It is now one of our favorite recipes. The burnt butter added a depth of flvor that made it an elegant and moist cake. I also agree with another review that it needs more frosting. We will double the nut mixture and frosting next time. Great, Great cake.

Made this last week and the cake is now on the list of our Thanksgiving regulars. If it wasn't for another cake recipe from Fine Cooking, we might also serve it at Christmas. One thing, though, we could have gotten by better with about 25 percent more icing than the recipe made.

I made this cake for my husband's birthday. It was beautiful to look and to eat. Wonderful, wonderful tastes, textures and aromas. This is the first time I've made a cake with this many steps but it turned out to be very easy. It is very decadent and oh yes, I WILL be making this again.

Amazing cake! Easier to make than you'd think with really great results. I used a different method to make my puree than one that they list (I make puree every year for my pumpkin pie, so I have a method that I prefer) and it came out really good. Looked and tasted wonderful. Pepitas were actually no harder to find than any of the other ingredients, so don't let that stop you from making this cake. People went back for 2nds and 3rds of this cake, and I myself had a hard time not eating the topping before I could use it.

Best. Cake. Ever. I made it for Thanksgiving and everyone raved. Hubby and I just finished the last piece tonight. Will make it again, just need to hit the gym several times in between!

yum yum for the tum tum!! Delicious!! I changed the frosting a little bit: 1/2 stick butter, 8oz. cream cheese, 1tbsp. ground cinnamon, 1tsp. ground nutmeg, 1tbsp. honey! I did this on Thursday and repeating it on Saturday!

This was terrific cake, moist and not too sweet. Made it twice, once to make sure it was as good as rated, testing it out for Thanksgiving Dinner Desert, second for Thanksgiving. The first one disappeared before Thanksgiving Day by different visitors. Everyone enjoyed a piece and took some home.

This is terrific! I've made it twice now - for a co-worker's birthday, and for Thanksgiving. I used canned pumpkin - a regular size can is just right. 1 batch of frosting will cover the cake. If you want to swirl it like in the picture, then make more. But I found that 1 batch was enough tastewise - it might overwhelm otherwise.

This cake received nothing but rave reviews at work...having to work the holidays in the ER is never fun...but always better with wonderful food...pumpkin cake was moist and yummy...I just used one can of pumpkin - I unfortunately did not have the time to make my own puree...you do need to 1.5 the frosting though to have enough...but the browned butter is what gives it that unique taste...I have been asked by most of the hospital for the recipe...if you're going to have to be trapped at work...at least make it delicious!

It's the idea which works! Pumpkin layer cake is absolutely a different way of preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Perhaps more frosting is needed, but the important aspect to remember is that recipes usually represent suggestions, hints. The user is free to modify ingredients or its quantities. Naturally the frosting will never be "sparkling white", owing to the brown sugar! In culinary arts, food photgraphy has an eminent role! The techniques aim at emphasizing the beauty and the aspect of food! In the majority of times, a recipe prepared will not be identical to the illustration. In this case, the award is definitely given to the originality of the dessert, even if I would rather use fresh pumpkin purée. Anything prepared with fresh wholesome ingrdients makes a difference!

Although Really Delicious, It is extremely rich. There is WAY to much sugar in this recipe and the butter could be reduced as well if i was ever to make this again. I made the pumpkin puree from scratch which didn't take long but may try the canned version next time.

Followed the recipe to the letter with these additions: First off, I added 2t. vanilla to the cake it really ramped up the flavors in combination with the brown butter. The cake isn't a light and fluffy type cake. In order to achieve that one would have to use baking powder along with soda or remove the moister from the pumpkin puree. That would improve the structure of the cake, yet mine was not at all gummy or to dense. Also, you need to double the frosting and the nut topping, they both are a tad stingy in my opinion. The frosting also really benefited by the addition of 1t. of vanilla too, again just added another layer of flavor and complexity to the frosting. I would also suggest if you have a vanilla bean you could use that instead of adding extract for the frosting. To remove the solids from the browned butter for the frosting the easier way is to stain the butter through a fine mesh stainer lined with a piece of paper toweling or a coffee filter. That will remove all the unwanted bits for the frosting. Then proceed to chilling with no fear of getting any solids into your frosting. This cake is really good! I loved the consistent flavor profiles of nutty, caramelize, and salty-sweet, starting with the cake, to the frosting, to the nut topping!

Needs more frosting!! Make 1 1/2 times the frosting recipe. As written, there is barely enough to skim the cake. I've chatted with three others who had the same problem. I used KA unbleached cake flour and the cake was the lightest and most tender pumpkin cake. I think the usual pumpkin cakes are dense and heavy-this was not. Will become a holiday classic.

This cake is amazing, both in flavor and in texture. It is quite dense, but not in a bad way. The brown butter in the frosting gives it a caramel flavor, and although I personally might prefer a regular cream cheese frosting, my husband loved it and I think it is really good, even if it's not my preference. I had tiny bits of butter in my finished frosting as well, so I switched to the whisk attachment and it took care of it quickly. I may be alone on this, but I don't prefer the cake with the topping. Possibly just some toasted pecans for me. I made this cake for my birthday and am really glad I did!

Truly a delicious cake - I'd increase the spice a little bit and add some vanilla to the frosting, personally. Here's my version: http://darbyoshea.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/november-cake/

There is nothing else to add. Everyone has said it so well. A wonderful cake well worth making.

Made the cake this weekend for a "Thanksgiving Recipe Trial Run" dinner party, and everyone loved it. Agree with other reviewers -- canned puree works just fine. If I made it again, I would add slightly more spice, without overwhelming the brown butter taste. The frosting is incredible -- note to Danamay07, your frosting will never be "sparkling white" because there's brown sugar in it. Also, I made cake layers the night before, hoping flavors would meld in the fridge, but I think it made this very moist, dense cake a little gummy (I served cake at room temperature). As others have noted, the salt in the topping really balances the sweet. However, I'd coarsely chop the pecan halves -- they looked too big mixed in with the pepitas and ginger.

I made this cake twice. It is the best cake I have EVER made and it gets many compliments. Everyone asks for this recipe. The cake is moist and delicately spiced. The pralined pecans are a delicious treat. The second time I made it, I skipped the pepitas and just used pecans and in my opinion, it was better.

Wow! This is a moist and delicious cake - everyone really loved it. You don't need to bother making your own pumpkin puree, canned pumpkin works perfectly. Be sure to double the topping so you can mound it on top of the cake - just like in the cover photo. I ended up with little flecks of butter in my frosting apparently because it was in the freezer too long, so I'd recommend checking the butter after 10 minutes instead of the 18 minutes indicated in the recipe. I highly recommend making this impressive cake.

This is one of the BEST cakes I've ever tasted. Some people tell me it's better if you candy your own ginger, but that seems a little like showing off to me.

Save yourself the time and use canned pumpkin, it will still come out perfectly. The whole thing took me only 3 hours, but now that I know it, could probably finish in 2 or less easily. This cake is very very good, and I love that it is not overly sweet. Made it as cupcakes (18) and baked for 20-25 minutes.

Another winner!!!.....the pumpkin seed/pecan topping......YUMMMMM! This cake isn't overly sweet which was really nice.....and the recipe was pretty straight forward to follow.My company also seemed to enjoy this one and asked for second helpings as well....

I have made this cake twice, everyone loves it....This is my new favorite cake...

I'm not a cake person because they're usually so sweet and give such a sugar overload...BUT this cake made me eat my words!!! The salty crunch from the topping make such a HUGE difference and puts this cake above and beyond. The only issue I had was that my icing wasn't sparkling white like the picture- I think that stemmed from my butter (I didn't scoop any solids) and the brown sugar...but for that to be my only problem...def. a keeper and well worth making again and again!

I fixed this cake for a pitchin. Everyone loved it, there was 1 pc left to take home. Loved it and simple to make.

This was a wonderful cake, it took a bit of time to make it but was well worth the effort.

10-27-10 This is a fabulous cake. I made it for my husband to take to work for his computer team. It is light, moist, tasty, and a great way to start the fall baking season. The cake plate came home empty. They all loved it. Even the one that did not like pumpkin items or spice cake, gave it a thumbs up.

This cake is amazing. I too had a guest say that it was the best cake he had eaten in his entire life!

I would never call myself a baker but now my friends think I am. I served this at a dinner party a month before Thanksgiving, and upon everyone's request, again at Thanksgiving. It was an unbelievable hit and now the expectation from my friends is that I'm going to serve moist, flavourful cakes like this all the time! I made it with 10 inch pans since I didn't have any 9 inch ones. I took about 5 minutes off the cooking time and the cake still turned out moist and rich. Thanks for this recipe!

This cake was good but some folks including myself found it sweet despite the topping which is great. One guest just wanted the frosting and nuts for a gift. To me the spice flavor of the cake gets lost in the frosting. It tasted better the next day after the flavors had time to develop. I'll make cupcakes next time and increase the spices, double the topping and go easy on the frosting. Nice and moist.

This cake if fabulous! Made it for my Thanksgiving dessert buffet and it was the hit of the evening. Next time I may double the icing, even though there was plenty to cover and fill the cake, my family loves icing and this was one that they were swooning over. I live at a high altitude and made the cake exactly as written and it turned out beautiful.

This cake was amazing!! I made it for Thanksgiving and people went crazy over it. I will definitely be making it a Holiday tradition! I did not include pepitas in my topping, instead I used dried cranberries which really added some beautiful colour to the presentation. If you have chunks of butter in your frosting it is because you cooled the butter in the freezer for too long. The recipe says 18 minutes or so? Way too long. I did this, so I reheated butter and let it cool for less time. My frosting worked out fabulously after that.

This recipe is fantastic, I made it for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. Definitely double the topping, it looks and tastes great.

I made this cake instead of pumpkin pie for our Canadian Thanksgiving and it was deemed to be "the best cake that I have every had" by one of my guests! Re: the complaint about it not rising...I think that it is not supposed to be a light fluffy cake but rather a dense rich cake. I would make this again; well worth the effort! Hockleygramma :)

Great cake. Upped ginger by 1/2 tsp and added dash of nutmeg. Increased brown sugar to 1 cup while decreasing white sugar by same amount. I added pecans that I had spiced and candied earlier...could really play with topping (sugared dried pears, cranberries, etc) as this is a versatile cake. NOTE TO UMBAR RE RISING PROBLEM: Most likely its due to your baking soda being out of date. Need to make sure you check that (and any baking powder, yeast etc) for freshness, and remember to just fold in flour mix till all incorporated. Don't despair, we've all been there..(and I am a pastry chef and caterer with a litany of disasters under my belt!)

I was very disappointed because I slaved all day to make this recipe and the cake didn't rise properly. The cake turned out more like a dense blondie than the fluffy cake in the photo. Consequently, the entire recipe was far too rich. Does anyone have any ideas on how to fix this? I followed the recipe to the tee so I have no idea what I could have done wrong?? I think this recipe is flawed which agravates me because afer all, it was the Cover recipe. Please help!

Love this cake. Not too sweet. Moist and delicious. The icing is amazing. Eat this in small slices as it's dense and very filling.

I very seldom make layer cakes but I will definitely make this one again. I had to use pepitas that were already salted, so I omitted the extra salt in the topping recipe. Most definitely you MUST double the topping recipe and pile it ALL on the top. The presentation is decadent. The brown butter addition to the cream cheese frosting is over the top.

Absolutely delicious! I've made this cake twice now in the past week (for my birthday and now for Thanksgiving) and will continue to make it as long as the pie pumpkins are in season. Thank you from everyone who was lucky enough to have a slice!!!

Super moist, great balance of sweet and salty and the frosting is awesome too. Loved this cake.

I requested that my boyfriend make me this cake for my birthday. The salt in the topping threw me at first but it really adds contrast to the sweetness of the topping. The frosting is rich and delicious and the cake is moist. I'm planning to try to make these as cupcakes for a bake sale this weekend.

This was a fantastic cake. I doubled the topping - and snacked on it during the day.. Was so well recieved - I have to make it again for Thanksgiving next weekend.

I made this a few weeks ago and this is one great cake. Good texture and flavor. The brown butter and the crunchy topping make the cake yummy. I am making this as a part of a dessert buffet for a rehearsal dinner this Friday. I am making 14 inch cakes, and then will use leaves and other fall natural decorations around the bottom of the cake. This cake is for the bride who loves pumpkin. A chocolate stout cake for the groom, who loves beer. Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts, and Sweet Goat Cheese Tarts with Roasted Pear Compote round out the buffet.

Over the top in taste, really interesting texture with the creamy frosting And crunchy topping. I went to buy Sugar Pie pumpkin but it was not yet available so I used The puree which was still good but I do want to try it again with fresh pumpkin. I accidentally bought salted pepitas but it was fine I just left out the salt called for in the topping. I highly recommend making this cake in steps staring at least the day before, It takes a lot of time but well worth the effort. By time I got to the brown butter prep for the frosting I wanted to get done And as a result some brown solids in the frosting got away but it did not seem to matter in taste or appearance. One other step I would do next time is to Melt all the butter at the same time, measuring out what you need for the cake, frosting and topping. I did double the topping which is worth making in its own right for other uses if not just snacking. This cake is very extraordinary and I will be making again very soon.

Excellent recipe. Very much worth the effort!

OMG! This was a wicked recipe. The brown butter flavour is wonderful and the cake is so moist and full of spice. I used canned puree and like the others I doubled the amount of topping. You do have a tendency to eat it while it cools on the stove so you need the extra. :) I took this to work and people actually came up and hugged me after. It made me look good. :)

This cake is a real keeper!! I have never made anything using browned butter like this in the frosting, but the flavor really came thru! (I did get tiny butter bits, even tho I folled directions exactly. Minor tho with how delicious the cake was!) The cake was moist (I used the canned puree) & yummy. Frosting so different with the browned butter. And the nut topping - well I could have eaten it all before it even went on the cake! Very very good! Got rave reviews from my staff too.

This is a beautiful and delicious cake with moist cake, rich tangy frosting, and crunchy topping. Browning the butter makes it a little more involved but well worth the trouble. Also, as the notes suggest, definitely double the topping-- you will want a little crunchy pepita or pecan in every bite and it looks great heaped on top.

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