Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream

November, 2014 · By Coryanne Ettiene

Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Spiced….  everywhere I look this Thanksgiving, pumpkin everything is within arms reach.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore pumpkin pie, and I love pumpkin bread, but I’m not sure I want everything I taste this November to taste like pumpkin pie; after all, isn’t sitting down to your first slice of pumpkin pie one of the secret joys of Thanksgiving dinner?  I remember waiting with anticipation for the pies to be presented after our Thanksgiving meal.  My taste buds would tingle, my eyes would light up and I would be holding my pie fork so firmly in my hand, heaven help anyone who tried to take it.  Some might say that turkey is at the heart of Thanksgiving — let them have it.  I’ll take the pie, because you simply can’t have Thanksgiving without a huge slab of pumpkin pie with heavy, dense whipped cream on top.

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cake by Coryanne Ettiene

But….despite ranting on about pumpkin spiced everything, I could not resist grabbing hold of the bandwagon and giving it a test drive.  We’ve got pecans falling from the sky, blanketing every corner of our house and I’ve been staring at this tin of pumpkin for a year and simply can’t look at it any more.  That, and our neighbors so kindly brought over pumpkins for the children, and I thought that the best way to say thank you for the pumpkins would be with a pumpkin spiced pecan cake.

I spent a few hours on this cake, for no other reason than I really wanted to.  I could have cut corners by pre-glazing my pecans, or making a standard frosting, but I was in heaven and nothing else was more important to me than making a cake that showed how much we appreciated the pumpkins.

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cake with salted caramel buttercream frosting  for Thanksgiving 2014 by Coryanne Ettiene


Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Salted Caramel Buttercream Cake  

I candied my pecans with maple syrup and brown sugar, but to be honest there is so much flavor in the cake, I’m not sure it needed that extra touch, simply roasting them in butter would have been enough.  Or if you are in a hurry, go for raw pecans, just don’t skip them out all together because they offer a fabulous crunch when you layer them inside the cake.  I started by making my frosting and pecans, and then moved on to the cake.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup of white granulated bakers sugar
  • 3 medium room temperature eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup of tinned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

Directions:  Pre-heat your oven to 350F and lightly butter and flour dust your round baking pans, then line the bottom with parchment paper.  Add your dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together until fully blended.  In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, start on a low speed then move to medium to get that creamy finish.  And then add your eggs one at a time on a low speed before adding the pumpkin.  Turn up the speed to medium to fully blend the batter. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl before adding the a 1/2 cup of the dry mixture and turing the speed to medium, alternate between adding the buttermilk and dry mixture until both are included in the batter.  Stopping half way through to scrape the sides of them mixing bowl.  The result will be a thick orange aromatic batter.  Pour into you baking tins and cook for 35-45 minutes or bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, let rest for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack before frosting.

Salted Caramel Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt, more if you like it extra salty
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar, less if you don’t want it so sweet
  • 12 tablespoons of butter

Directions:  In a warm sauce pan, add the water and then stir in the sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil over medium heat.  Allow it to cook, resisting the temptation to stir until it you have a dark amber color.  Remove it from the heat and slowly pour in the cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until you have thick, smooth caramel.  Set it aside and allow it to cool at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.  Combine the butter and salt in a stand mixer, and beat on medium speed using the paddle attachment until the butter is creamy.  Reduce the speed to low and add the powered sugar and mix until fully blended together before adding the caramel.  Beat for another minute, before scraping the sides and then beating for another minute to ensure that the buttercream is fully blended.  Remove from the stand, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm before using.


Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cake by Coryanne Ettiene

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