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Pumpkin Cake Two Ways — Beginner & Expert

Pumpkin Cake Two Ways — Beginner & Expert

I didn't realize the importance of having an excellent pumpkin cake recipe until last year. I had to make a dessert for a potluck, and was told it couldn't be a pie or cheesecake. The solution to my problem was a delicious pumpkin spice layer cake with whipped cream cheese frosting. If you enjoy baking for the holidays, you must add a pumpkin cake to your arsenal of recipes. It's a surprising alternative to pumpkin pie and perfectly highlights the flavors of Fall. While I prefer to make the cake from scratch, you can always jazz up a boxed mix and call it your own. To take a look at two tasty recipes,

Beginner Pumpkin Cake
From Kraft Foods

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
4 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) cool whip whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/4 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Beat cake mix, 1 cup of the pumpkin, the milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. of the pumpkin pie spice in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 28 to 30 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.
  4. Beat cream cheese in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin and remaining 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice; mix well. Stir in the whipped topping.
  5. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife. Stack layers on serving plate, spreading the cream cheese filling between layers. (Do not frost top of cake.)
  6. Drizzle cake with caramel topping just before serving; sprinkle with the pecans. Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

Serves 16.

Expert Pumpkin Cake
From Silvana Nardone

3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups pecans (about 8 ounces)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter two 8-by- 2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Flour the pans.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 2 cups granulated sugar over medium-high heat until light amber, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the pecans and quickly stir to coat. Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and, using a metal spatula, spread in a single layer to cool completely. Place the praline in a sturdy resealable plastic bag and crush into pieces; set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  4. In a bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined.
  6. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 parts alternately with the milk and orange zest on low speed until just combined. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until just combined.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the cake layers to a rack to cool, about 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans, invert and peel off the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely on the rack, about 45 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. On low speed, gradually beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  9. Assemble the cake: halve each cake layer horizontally with a serrated knife. Place 1 cake layer on a platter. Spread the whipped cream frosting on top about 1/4 inch thick; sprinkle with about 1/2 cup crushed pecan praline. Repeat with three more layers, saving enough frosting for the cake sides and reserving the last layer of praline. Spread the remaining frosting evenly on the sides of the cake and sprinkle the reserved pecan praline on top.
  10. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.

Serves 16.

Around The Web
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aSLAMMINhottie aSLAMMINhottie 9 years
I can't believe this is the first I'm hearing I'm hearing of pumpkin cake!! What else has been kept from me?!
shellbelle1 shellbelle1 9 years
I've made the beginner cake several times and it always gets rave reviews, people in my office ask for it every year. Haven't made one this year yet. I have a recipe for Pumkin Muffins with butterscotch chips that is to die for. My Mom has made them for years and I always turned up my nose until she convinced me to try them and now I'm addicted!
Diana172 Diana172 9 years
It finally does feel like fall now! Thank you rain!
SugarFreak SugarFreak 9 years
I second that Kaciegrrl! I wish it felt more like fall tho :(
Kaciegrrl Kaciegrrl 9 years
Can we say YUM?!?!
Sunshine-in-Seattle Sunshine-in-Seattle 9 years
It's the first time the beginner recipe looked better than the expert! I'm making this one for sure!
Pammy Pammy 9 years
YUM! I'm going to try making the beginner one as soon as I have a chance!
kedawen kedawen 9 years
Yummy!!! I would love to try this. I would also like to have a Pumpkin Spice Latte... I love October with all the pumpkin stuff. :D
designergirl designergirl 9 years
Looks good. I always like it when a cake is fully iced, though. There also a pumpkin cake recipe in the latest issue of Gourmet, so I might try that one instead.
cmachter1 cmachter1 9 years
SummerBaby SummerBaby 9 years
MMmmm this looks awesome! :) i also love pumpkin anything hehe.. i use to HATE it.. but now as i have gotten older its like i cant get enough!!
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Haha Pumpkin Queen!! I think I did too!
bamf-mylf bamf-mylf 9 years
mmmmmmmmmmm pumpkin.. i LOVE pumpkin anything.... pumpkin spice latte from starbucks and a big slice of this.... i might pass out. lol.
LuciLu LuciLu 9 years
mmmmm, pumpkin. :D
Pumpkin-Queen Pumpkin-Queen 9 years
Is it possible.. i think the cake pic just gave me an orgasm :D I love this idea.. reminds me of the pumpkin muffins my cousin makes
puddinpie puddinpie 9 years
Good for you for wanting to use fresh pumpkin! Most people can't be bothered but it does make a big difference in taste. If you want to stick with pumpkin, find something like a sugarpie pumpkin and cut it into pieces, then roast it in a moderate oven until the pieces are soft and you can easily pierce through them with a fork. Then run it through a food mill or even just break it up in your blender, and measure out the fresh pumpkin pulp accordingly. May I suggest using Kabocha squash, though, if you're taking the time to do the puree from scratch? It has a ton more flavour than pumpkin and can be used interchangably in recipes like this. =)
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
If I wanted to use fresh pumpkin instead of canned, how would I do it?
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 9 years
I have made that beginner cake before and it really does taste so good.
sophlb sophlb 9 years
WOW that looks so good...I can't wait to try this!
Kate-Marie Kate-Marie 9 years
Haha, I have actually made that "beginner" cake before and it is DIVINE. I highly recommend it!
sillyfilly sillyfilly 9 years
Yum! I might make cupcakes.... (Easier to handle for the multiple roommates...)
Diana172 Diana172 9 years
Thank goodness it's October again!
fragiletearz fragiletearz 9 years
This looks so good, I love pumpkins!
Staceylynn44 Staceylynn44 9 years
oops that was supposed to be a happy smilely, not whatever that was!
Staceylynn44 Staceylynn44 9 years
They both look fantastic!! Although I think I could do the "expert" one, I actually think the beginner one looks more appealing! :o) Maybe because you can see the yummy layers without cutting into it!!
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