Pumpkin Layer Cake with Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting

Pumpkin layer cake with maple vanilla bean frosting is moist, tender, and full of fall spices. It’s everything you’ve dreamed of and 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… For more tasty pumpkin treats try Pumpkin Praline Skillet Cake, Classic Pumpkin Roll, Spiced Pumpkin Crumb Cake, and Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes.

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting

Light and Tender Pumpkin Cake

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. 

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. 

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting

The Ingredients

Butter: 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. 

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. 

Buttermilk: Not only does it add flavor but it increases the richness of the cake. 

Blend of Fall 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!

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting

How to Make Pumpkin Layer Cake

PREP. 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.

CREAM. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

MIX. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated.

WHISK. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

BEAT. With mixing speed on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk and pumpkin puree. Beat the mixture just until smooth.

BAKE & COOL. 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.

Frosting:

CREAM. Meanwhile, using the paddle attachment cream the butter, scraped vanilla bean, vanilla extract, maple syrup and salt for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

ADD. 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!

Assembling the cake:

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 in the refrigerator for 30+ minutes to set the frosting and then slice it up and serve it!

 

 

FAQ and Storage Tips

What is solid pack pumpkin? Solid-pack pumpkin is just regular canned pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. Make sure the can says something like “100% pure pumpkin”. 

Can you just use pumpkin pie spice? The spices used in this recipe are the ones that are used to make pumpkin pie spice, and I think it’s best in these proportions. However, if all you have on hand is pumpkin pie spice, you can use 2 ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice in place of all the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

STORING: If your cake is completely frosted, you can put a bowl or cake cover over the top of it and leave it at room temperature. The frosting protects the cake from drying out and the bowl/cake cover just protects the cake from dust/bugs etc. If you live in a very hot and humid area, you’d be better off storing the cake in the fridge. 

FREEZING: When freezing a frosted cake, pre-freeze it by letting it sit in the freezer uncovered until the frosting is set (about an hour). Then, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and foil and place it in the freezer, where it should last for about 4 months. When you’re ready to eat your yummy cake, place it in the fridge for a few hours to defrost, then unwrap and bring to room temperature.

For more layer cakes, check out:

 

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting

Pumpkin Layer Cake with Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting

This delicious pumpkin layer cake is so incredibly moist and tender, you'll wonder where it's been all your life! It's spiced to perfection and kissed with an irresistible maple vanilla bean frosting.
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Course: Cakes & Cheesecakes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings: 24 slices
Calories: 321kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter - room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar - firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cup cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cup canned pumpkin - solid-pack
Maple Vanilla Bean Frosting
  • 4 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter - room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean - scraped
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 oz cream cheese - room temperature for 30 minutes

Instructions

  • 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.
For the Frosting
  • Meanwhile, 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.

Notes

-Store cake at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 24g | Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 237mg | Potassium: 128mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 2500IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1mg