Nothing screams fall more to me than pumpkin and caramel. However, when you add them together, it's a sweater weather party in your mouth! This pumpkin cake with caramel frosting is a sweet spiced pumpkin cake layered with a homemade caramel sauce and frosting! Serve it with some mulled apple cider and you have the perfect fall dessert combination!
Looking at this photo makes me just want to eat 10 pieces of it (which I will not do), but I am drooling over here! Do yourself a favor and make this for your next fall get together. I promise you that the guests will talk about this pumpkin caramel cake for months!
Why is this caramel pumpkin cake the best?
Caramel and pumpkin are the quintessential fall duo when it comes to dessert.
Caramel is usually used in baking and sweet dishes because it is so creamy and smooth, but you can also salt it up to make it go with savory dishes. Pumpkin is harvested in the fall and seen in almost every drink, dessert or store front from September through November.
Either way, caramel and pumpkin are the perfect compliment to autumn. Not to mention, I did have all the ingredients in my pantry this week for this cake. Win, win on the caramel pumpkin cake!
- Cake Flour: all purpose flour can be used as well.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
- Pureed pumpkin: Libby Brand
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil: Olive oil can be used as well
- Vanilla extract
- Heavy cream
- Unsalted butter
- Cream Cheese: Kroger brand
- Confectioner's sugar
How to make a caramel pumpkin cake
This cake has several steps but they are not difficult ones!
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line 8 inch round cake pans with parchment circles. Whisk all the dry ingredients together and set aside. Stir all the wet ingredients vigorously in a bowl. Combine both dry and wet ingredients together and mix on medium with electric mixer until well combined.
Second, pour cake batter into prepared pans. Bake for 31-33 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pan and remove them after 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Third, while the cakes are baking prepare the caramel sauce. Place sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat on medium until sugar completely dissolves. Increase heat to medium high and boil until sugar turns an amber color. Once it's amber in color remove from heat and add the heavy cream, butter and vanilla. Set aside until the sauce reaches room temperature.
Fourth, make the frosting. Add the cold, cubed butter to a large mixing bowl. Mix until smooth. Add in the cream cheese and mix until smooth and creamy. Pour in one cup of confectioner's sugar and beat until well combined. While continuing to mix, pour in the room temperature caramel sauce. Next, add in the confectioner's sugar and vanilla. Frosting should be creamy and fluffy!
Lastly, assemble the naked cake! Layer and torte cakes. Pipe frosting on first layer, drizzle with caramel and repeat. Once it is done, serve and enjoy!
- Be sure to monitor the sugar when making the caramel sauce. It can change from clear to amber quickly and you don't want to burn your sugar
- Don't freak out when the heavy cream seizes when put in the caramel, putting it on medium will make the caramel smooth again
Substitutions and variations
- Use homemade caramel sauce or boxed cake mix
- Another cake size pan or cupcake pan can be used, baking times will vary
- Add in some pecans or walnuts
- Substitute with a cream cheese frosting
Yes, once is has cooled, cover in an airtight container and put in fridge 1 day.
It served anywhere from 12-15 people depending on how large you slice the cake.
Pumpkin cake with caramel frosting
- Electric hand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wire rack
- 2 8 inch round cake pans
- piping bag
- Offset spatula
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 15oz pumpkin pureed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Homemade Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoon unsalted butter 1.5 sticks, cold and cubed
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and line two right inch round cake pans with parchment circles. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices). Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk the pureed pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla. Be sure to stir vigourously until it is all combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and with an electric mixer on medium, mix until well combined (no clumps).
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans (I only had enough for 2 intially and had to wait until one pan was free to make another cake). Bake for 31-33 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes in the round pans for 10 minutes and then remove and put on a wire rack to complete cooling.
Homemade caramel sauce
- Add the granulated sugar to the bottom of a saucepan. Pour in the water to fully moisten the sugar.
- Place the pot over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and turns clear (a couple of minutes).
- Increase the heat to medium high and cook the caramel until it is an amber color (10 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and add in the heavy cream (caramel will seize up and that is okay). Add the butter and stir everything together until the caramel smooths put. If still clumpy, return to a medium heat and gently stir again until it's smooth. Add in the vanilla extract.
- Let caramel sauce cool to room temperature before adding it to the frosting mixture.
- Add the cold and cubed butter to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in the cream cheese and blend until fully combined and smooth.
- Add 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar and then with the mixer on, pour in the caramel sauce. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. Continue blending and add the rest of the confectioner's sugar and vanilla. The frosting should be thick, creamy!
Assembly of the cake
- Level and torte cakes as desired. In a large piping bag, add the caramel frosting (a round tip can be used, but I just used my Wilton 16 inch reusable piping bag alone).
- Begin by adding a layer of cake on a plate or the cake stand of your choice. Pipe a layer of frosting in a spiral and then spread as needed with the offset spatula. Then drizzle caramel on top of frosting.
- Repeat this process until all the layers of the cake are used. Nuts of your choice could be added on top, but this is optional! Serve and Enjoy!
Fun fact of the day!
The largest pumpkin pie was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 lbs! Holy Moly, that's a HUGE pumpkin!