Pumpkin Layer Cake with Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting
This past week I’ve been sharing a few of my favorite new pumpkin recipes, this cake is certainly one of them! It’s moist, tender and full of fall spices. It’s everything you’ve dreamed of a more. Seriously. I didn’t think it was possibly to make such a light and delicate pumpkin cake. I mean usually pumpkin bread and pumpkin cupcakes have a little heft to them, but not this layered beauty. And let’s talk about that frosting- so light, tangy and flavored by pure maple syrup and a whole vanilla bean. Mmm…
So what makes this cake so special? First off, skip the vegetable oil, because butter is best! Using 100% butter makes this cake more flavorful and rich than your typical oil-based bread. Next, cake flour. If you’ve browsed through some of my cake/cupcake recipes you can probably tell that I’m a huge fan of cake flour. It makes cakes incredibly light and tender and that’s exactly what we’re going for here. Then there’s the buttermilk. Not only does it add flavor but it increases the richness of the cake. Lastly is the blend of falls spices. Usually I don’t mind adding a teaspoon or two of pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice to my recipes, but this time I went for individual spices- it made all the difference!
And then there’s the frosting, we can’t forget about that. I turned one of my favorite cream cheese frosting recipes into a maple flavored, vanilla bean flecked soft and creamy layer of goodness. That was pretty easy. I just added a few tablespoons of pure maple syrup and scraped the inside of a vanilla bean to get those beautiful little specks. Assembling the cake couldn’t be any more simple. Stack the first layer on the plate or cake stand you want to use, add an even layer of frosting, cover with the second layer and then top with the remaining frosting. Go slowly to prevent picking up crumbs while spreading with an offset spatula. Chill the cake to set the frosting and then slice it up and serve it!
I was definitely smitten by this easy double-layer cake. It’s full of simple ingredients, lots of fall flavors and topped with a cream cheese frosting with a twist. It’s going to be something we serve up for holiday dinners for years to come. I seriously can’t wait to make it again. Enjoy & happy fall baking!
- ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ c. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 c. cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1¼ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
- Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting:
- 4½ c. powdered sugar
- ¾ c. (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 12 oz. (1½ blocks) original cream cheese, room temperature for 30 minutes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter two 9-inch cake pans, line them with parchment rounds. butter the parchment then lightly dust with flour, tap out any excess.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
- With mixing speed on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and pumpkin puree. Beat the mixture just until smooth.
- Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Place in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 30 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Meanwhile to prepare the frosting, using the paddle attachment cream the butter, scraped vanilla bean, vanilla extract, maple syrup and salt for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. With mixing speed on low gradually add the powdered sugar, beat until it forms a paste-like mixture. Add the cream cheese and mix on the lowest speed possible for 1½ minutes, then STOP!
- Spread over the top of the first layer, then set the second layer on top and then frost the top of it along with the sides. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30+ minutes to allow the frosting to set before slicing and serving.
Recipe source: adapted from Leite's Culinaria