It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I had my first pumpkin flavoured anything. I was working as a flight attendant and found myself, during one fall season, with lots of down time at Pearson Airport. I would drop my bags in the crew room and make my way to Starbucks, order my grande Pumpkin Spiced Latte and a pumpkin scone, and find a quiet corner near a gate with no departure flight for the next few hours and watch people rushing about. It was hectic all around me at the airport, but I was transported in my little corner. It’s something about the smells of the season I think. These warm spices of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cardamom, when combined with the luscious effect pumpkin has on the texture of baked goods, seem to encourage us to slow down, cozy up, take in the aromas, and simply enjoy.
Since I hadn’t grown up eating desserts baked with pumpkin, and since this was the pre-pastry-chef time in my life, I didn’t even consider that those dry little scones with overly sweet icing could taste better, let alone that I could improve them myself. I just knew that I liked the warm, spicy flavour that accompanied the orange-hued little cakes, and bought one to enjoy every time I found myself with a few hours to spare (ahh, twenties’ metabolism).
Fast forward to present day, and baking with pumpkin is yet another reason I anticipate this incredible time of year. Last year I made this Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Salted Cinnamon Whipped Honey Butter and these Pumpkin Brown Butter Spiced Cinnamon Rolls and this year I’m bringing you a four layer Pumpkin Cake that makes me want to curl up with the coziest sweater I own and a stack of Harry Potter books and stay there toasty and warm until Spring.
I decided to forgo a traditional cream cheese icing made with butter because I thought this delicate cake needed something lighter, so I used my recipe for the lightest, creamiest, eat it with a spoon Whipped Cream Cheese Icing, which uses whipping cream instead of butter. It is the perfect compliment to this cake as it doesn’t overwhelm. Adding my Salted Caramel sauce to the mix provided some bright contrast and really elevates this cake to next level delicious. I’m making it again for Thanksgiving this Sunday, but to save time on the big day, I’m going to bake it on Friday and wrap the layers well in plastic – I promise if you do the same they won’t dry out. Assemble the cake on Sunday and keep it in the fridge until about 2 hours before you plan on serving it.
Happy Thanksgiving! xox Leslie
A light as a cloud cream cheese icing is the perfect compliment to this autumn dream cake. Salted Caramel ties it all together for a delicious end to your Thanksgiving Feast.
- 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 Tsp Baking Soda
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/4 Tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
- 1/4 Tsp Ground Allspice
- 1/4 Tsp Ground Cardamom
- 15 Oz (roughly 1 3/4 Cups) Canned Pure Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
- 1 1/4 Cups Vegetable Oil
- 4 Large Eggs
- 2 Tsp Orange Zest
- 2 8 oz Packages Cream Cheese
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/3 Cup Cold Whipping Cream
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 2 Tsp Corn Syrup
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup Cream
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two 9" round cake pans with non stick spray and a parchment circle.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom in a large bowl to blend.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the pumpkin, sugar and oil until blended. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then the orange zest. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed just to blend. Divide batter between prepared pans.
- Bake until cakes slightly pull away from sides of pan, cake feels springy to the touch, and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 24 minutes if using convection setting - about 30 if using regular bake setting. Cool cakes in pans on racks about 10 minutes, then invert cake onto racks to cool completely. Wrap well in plastic once completely cool until ready to frost. Can be made 2 days in advance if well wrapped.
- *Keep the whipping cream in the fridge until the last second. Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of your electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until creamy, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the vanilla and beat a few seconds until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more then switch to the whisk attachment and, with the mixer on medium high, slowly stream in the cream This should take at least 30 seconds Turn the mixer to high and whip until the cream has thickened and the frosting is a pipe-able consistency, but be careful not to overmix. Store in the fridge until ready to assemble cake.
- *This happens quickly so have everything on hand and ready to go. Syrup needs time to cool.
- In a small pan over high heat, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Brush the sides of the pan down with water to remove any sugar granules clinging to the inside of the pan. Without stirring, allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook it until the caramel turns a light amber color *You can gently swirl the pan to get an idea of the color if it's bubbling too vigorously to tell. Remove from heat and quickly add the vanilla, lemon juice and salt, stirring with a wooden spoon; mixture will hiss and bubble. Slowly stream in the cream, stirring constantly. If the mixture clumps up, place it back over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Transfer the caramel to a small bowl and set aside to cool. Can be stored in the fridge for 10 days.
- Remove any domed top to the cakes and using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally for a total of 4 layers.
- Place one layer on a cardboard cake round and top with about 1/4 of the cream cheese icing. Smooth it out and drizzle with salted caramel sauce. Repeat with remaining 3 layers. Serve with additional salted caramel sauce drizzle.