pumpkin layer cake with cream cheese frosting

i think macaroni are going to start laying eggies soon. i can feel it in mah bones! (lol no i can't, what does that even mean?) or at least i really really really want them to, so that on a day like today when i go to make a savory bread pudding and then fail the first time but need more eggs to try it again, i don't have to brave the vicious snow flurries and drive to town. 

while i'm at it, you know what else would be great during this nutso cookbook recipe testing phase? a little cow that produces just the right amount of milk, olive oil on tap, and a sesame tree.. err.. bush? with a tahini mill. 

that's all!

like a good cashmere sweater, this cake is a solid choice for when you want to feel comfortable, cozy, and just a little bit glamorous. it's very reliable and making it is easy peasy *pumpkin* peasy. here i'm using king arthur flour's pumpkin pie spice, which is amazing and cuts down on time measuring out each individual spice. and this cake is fluffier than your average pumpkin loaf, so it's extra receptive to a nice smattering of cream cheese frosting. i recommend putting this at the center of a little fall party or your thanksgiving table (because as you know, i err on the side of #teamcake over #teampie). to make things even easier, you can bake the layers now and freeze them until thanksgiving! simply wrap your cooled layers tightly in plastic wrap, freeze, and then defrost slightly before frosting.

pumpkin layer cake

makes one 2-layer 8-inch cake



1 3/4 c sugar
2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tb pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1 c buttermilk
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c vegetable or canola oil
1 tb vanilla extract
3/4 c water


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


caramel, optional

pumpkin seeds, optional



Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes.

Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.


using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat to combine. beat in the extracts and salt. this will make enough to frost your cake with a naked/crumb coat effect. if you'd like it to be fully, um, clothed, make another half batch of frosting.


when the layers are cooled, level the tops (if you want you can just level the top of the bottom layer) and then stack them up with a layer of frosting in between. frost all over with an offset spatula.

if you'd like to cover it in caramel, freeze your the frosted cake until the frosting is solid and cold, melt the caramel on the stove or in the microwave and stir it for a bit so that it cools slightly (you want it pourable but not too hot that it'll melt the frosting). pour it over the cake. do this right before you serve it and don't store it in a warm room otherwise it will all ooze off and get all over your counter, i know from experience. 😁 add pumpkin seeds if desired!

i used the following king arthur products in this recipe: all-purpose flour, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and this huge amazing block of caramel. thank you so much, king arthur, for sponsoring this post!