Pumpkin Layer Cake
This is a rich, flavorful, and beautiful cake that will please a large crowd. It’s great for a special occasion. Made with Pamela’s Bread Mix.
- FOR THE BROWN BUTTER
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons (2¾ sticks) unsalted butter FOR THE TOPPING
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup pecans
- ½ cup unsalted, raw, hulled pepitas
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger FOR THE CAKE
2 cups (300 g) Pamela's Bread Mix
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, only if using fresh pumpkin puree
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs, large
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup brown butter (see directions below) FOR THE FROSTING
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown butter (see directions below)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
TO MAKE THE BROWN BUTTER: Melt 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until butter turns a nutty golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. If butter foams up, scoop off most of the foam with a large spoon; the foam will subside as it browns. Pour brown butter into a small bowl, leaving brown bits in bottom of pan, and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes.
Leaving any brown bits in bottom of bowl, measure out amounts needed into two separate bowls: ¾ cup for the cake, and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons for the frosting. Refrigerate brown butter for the frosting so it solidifies while making the topping and cake.
TO MAKE THE TOPPING: Melt butter in heavy-duty 10 to 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and pepitas and cook until pecans brown slightly and pepitas begin to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in brown sugar and salt, stirring until sugar melts and nuts are coated, about 2 minutes. Stir in ginger and mix to distribute. Remove from heat, and set aside, letting mixture cool in skillet.
TO MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350° with rack in center of oven. Either spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, line bottoms with parchment paper rounds cut to fit, and spray again, or grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans with removable bottoms.
In a medium bowl, whisk together Bread Mix, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin puree (and oil if using fresh pumpkin), 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 ¾ cup cooled brown butter until completely incorporated.
Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Bake about 38 to 42 minutes, until cake is starting to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Because the cakes are very tender, let them cool in pans for 15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING: Using electric stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons solid brown butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until brown sugar has dissolved and frosting is light in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Put one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread ¾ cup of frosting on the layer. Sprinkle ¾ cup of nut mixture over frosting and top with second cake layer. Frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Arrange remaining topping in a ring 1½ inches in from the edge of cake. Cake is now ready to cut and serve.
The assembled, frosted cake can be covered with a cake dome and refrigerated for up to 2 days; best served at room temperature.