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Pumpkin Cake with Caramel
Cream Cheese Frosting

The smell of pumpkin "anything" baking in the oven reminds me of a cool, crisp Autumn day. Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting is a great alternative to pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Another creative way to present the pumpkin cake is at the end of the recipe - Pumpkinettes.


Pumpkin Cake

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 12 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups toasted pecan halves, broken into pieces

Streusel Topping

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch pans with vegetable shortening/flour mixture. Line the pans with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper as well. Dust the pans with flour and shake out excess flour from pans.
  2. Pumpkin Cake: In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter with both sugars for 3 minutes on medium high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl periodically. Add the eggs and mix until combined.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/4 cup of the cream then 1/2 of the dry ingredients. Mix in the remaining cream and finally the rest of the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Mix only until smooth.
  6. Divide the batter into the pans.
  7. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove pans from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
  9. Flip pans out onto another cooling rack and then invert cakes to cool completely on a rack.
  10. Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting: Place 4 tablespoons butter and all of the brown sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, turn the stove off and add the cream, stirring until blended. Set aside to cool completely.
  11. Once the caramel mixture is cool, cream the remaining 8 tablespoons butter and cream cheese (both should be softened) together in a large mixing bowl on medium high speed until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until all are blended in.
  12. Reserve 1/2 cup of frosting to decorate the top, if desired. Place one of the cake layers on a cake round or plate. Spread 2/3 cups frosting over. Top with the other layer. Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
  13. Use the palm of your hand to gently apply the toasted pecan pieces to the sides of the cake. If desired, use a #21 star tip to pipe either shells or stars around the top of the cake and a swirl in the center of the cake. Place a toasted pecan half in the middle of the center swirl.
  14. Refrigerate until set and enjoy!


Pumpkinettes are individual pumpkin cakes that are baked directly in miniature pumpkins. Miniature pumpkins are carved similarly to large pumpkins. Remove the top, scoop out the seeds and excess string and the miniature is ready to be filled with Pumpkin Cake.

Follow the directions for the Pumpkin Cake and then carefully spoon the cake into the carved pumpkins. Do not fill higher than the inside rim of the pumpkin. Top the Pumpkinettes with about 1 tablespoon of Streusel Topping.

Streusel Topping: Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix it together with your fingers until it is combined.

Place the Pumpkinettes on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Place the tray on a cooling rack and cool.

Serve either warm, room temperature or cold.

The Pumpkin Cake recipe makes between 19 and 21 Pumpkinettes (depending on the size of the miniature pumpkins). The recipe may be halved without a problem. Should some of the cake flow out over the sides of the pumpkin while in the oven, do not worry about it. Just peel the tasty treats off the side of the pumpkin and enjoy the nosh!

Source: Betsy Cohen, Baking with Betsy

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