pumpkin spice cake with brown butter buttercream

honestly, do you really need another pumpkin spice cake or brown butter buttercream recipe? probs not, but i asked on instagram if people would want my recipe and i got a lot of yeses so here we are! this recipe makes a 3 layer 6 inch cake (like you see below), or a two layer 8 inch cake. 9 inch cake pans will work too, but your layers will just be slightly thinner. also, you can cut the recipe in half to make a single layer 8 inch cake like you see above!

this cake is by far my favorite. pumpkin, warm autumn spices and brown butter are the best flavors in my opinion, so this cake is just perfect. i hope you give this recipe a go and if you make it, don’t forget to take photos and tag me on instagram!

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon print print icon squares squares icon

pumpkin spice cake with brown butter buttercream

  • Author: kim van dyne
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 slices 1x
  • Category: cakes
  • Cuisine: american



for the cake:

2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (store bought is fine too)

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup (57 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature 

3/4 cup (177 ml) vegetable oil

1 cup (213 g) light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature 

1 tbsp + 1 tsp freshly grated ginger 

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (i always use Libby’s)

2 tsp vanilla extract

for the buttercream:

1 1/2 cups (170 g) unsalted butter, browned and chilled solid

2 1/23 cups (280336 g) powdered sugar

1/4 cup (59 ml) heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

for the spiced caramel + toppings (optional):

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

3 tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter, room temp 

1/4 cup (59 ml) heavy cream, room temp

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp clove

store bought candied pecans, chopped 

store bought candied ginger, chopped


for the cake: 

  1. it is important to first make sure all of your cake ingredients are at room temperature. so take out your butter and eggs to allow them to come up to room temp. (if you’re in a hurry, microwave the butter for 5 seconds or until soft and no longer chill, and put your eggs in a bowl of warm to hot water for 5 minutes.) 
  2. preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). grease and line three 6 inch or two 8 inch cake pans and set aside. 
  3. in a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. then, add the salt and whisk until combined. set aside. 
  4. in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add your butter, oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar. beat together until fully combined and slightly lighter in color. then, turn the mixer on low and add in your eggs one at a time. scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the ginger, pumpkin and vanilla. beat until fully combined.
  5. add half of your dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and mix on medium-low until combined. repeat with the second half. **i always turn the mixer off when i still see streaks of flour and then finish mixing by hand with a rubber spatula. this just helps to prevent over-mixing the batter! 
  6. pour batter equally into the three cake pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. 

for the buttercream:

  1. place your butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook on low until fully melted, stirring occasionally. once fully melted, turn the heat up the medium high and continue to cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly. you’ll know when you’re done when the butter turns golden brown. at this stage, transfer to a heatproof bowl and let chill at room temperature for 20 minutes. then, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge for a few hours or the freezer for about 30 minutes until the butter is chilled solid. (this can be made a day in advance).
  2. once your butter is chilled, take it out of the fridge and place all of it into the bowl of your stand mixer. fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown butter until it becomes light and fluffy, with no chunks of solid butter left. you will need to scrape down the bowl occasionally throughout this process to make sure it’s all beaten.
  3. once your butter is light and fluffy, add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time; scraping the bowl down after each addition. once all of the powdered sugar is added, add in the heavy cream, vanilla and salt. beat until combined. if the buttercream is too thick and stiff, add heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time. if it’s too thin, add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. 

for the spiced caramel (optional):

  1. in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and melt down. stir occasionally until the sugar starts to melt and clump together, and at that stage, begin stirring constantly. once fully melted, stop stirring and let the sugar caramelize until it reaches a golden amber color. 
  2. once it reaches that color, take the saucepan off the heat and add in all of the butter. whisk constantly until the butter is mostly melted, then pour in all of the heavy cream and continue to whisk until fully combined. 
  3. now add in the vanilla, salt, and spices and transfer to a heat safe bowl or jar. let chill at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using. if you need to make it thinner, just microwave for 10-15 seconds until desired consistency is reached.  

Keywords: pumpkin spice, brown butter, cake, layer cake, autumn baking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.