Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting and Candied Pecans

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When this post landed in our mailbox recently, we knew it would get its chance. Well it is done, this beautiful autumn week-end seems like the perfect occasion to give this Pumpkin Salted Caramel Cake by Glorious Treats a try!

IMG_0015You’ll need:

Pumpkin Cake

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil (I usually use light flavored olive oil)

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Salted Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon corn syrup

1/4 cup water

3 Tablespoons  unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoons salt (such as good quality sea salt)

1 teaspoon vanilla


Candied Nuts

2 cups roughly chopped pecans

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons  unsalted butter

2 Tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Salted Caramel Frosting

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup caramel sauce (from recipe above, or good quality store-bought, see notes)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt


Prepare the cake-

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F., grease and lightly flour the sides of your baking pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper (we used 3 8-inch pans).

2.  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, then set aside.IMG_0012IMG_0013

3.  In another large bowl, whisk the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and stir (stir vigorously by hand or on medium speed with an electric mixer for 30 seconds or so).IMG_0014

4.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until completely combined.IMG_0015IMG_0016

5.  Divide batter into prepared pans and bake cakes until the tops are slightly rounded and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean (no wet batter).  IMG_0017If you are using 8″ pans the time will be around 35 minutes).  Cupcakes will bake in 22-24 minutes. IMG_0022

6.  Cool the cakes in the pans about 10 minutes, then (carefully) remove from pans and cool fully on a cooling rack.

Make the Caramel Sauce –

1.  Warm the heavy cream in a bowl in the microwave and then set aside.

2.  In a large saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir gently to incorporate the ingredients.IMG_0018

3.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring gently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.IMG_0019

4.  Stop stirring and allow the mixture to boil undisturbed until it begins to darken in color.  You want the mixture to reach a honey color, but no darker.  The syrup will change from light in color to dark very quickly, so it’s important to watch closely and remove the pan from the heat as soon as it’s light-medium honey color.IMG_0020

5.  Once removed from heat, carefully and slowly pour in the warm heavy cream (the mixture will hiss and bubble).  Stir to full incorporate the cream.

6.  Add butter and salt and stir to combine.  Add vanilla.

7.  Allow sauce to cool a bit, then pour into a jar.IMG_0001   Cool at room temperature, then cover jar and store in the refrigerator.

Prepare Candied Nuts –

1.  Add pecans, IMG_0002IMG_0003brown sugar, butter and water to a heavy bottom saucepan and cook over medium heat.  Stir to combine ingredients.

2.  Allow the mixture to come to a boil and boil, while stirring occasionally, until most all of the water has evaporated (so there is not much sauce in the pan, it’s move of just a coating on the pecans), about 5- 10 minutes.

3.  Remove pan from heat and add salt and cinnamon.  Stir well.

4.  Spread the nuts onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet and break up any clusters. IMG_0004Allow to cool.

Make the Salted Caramel Frosting –

1.  Cut cold butter into a few large pieces and then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.IMG_0005

2.  Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined and smooth.IMG_0006

3.  Add about half of the powdered sugar,IMG_0007 then while the mixer is running, pour in the caramel sauce. IMG_0008 The caramel sauce should be no warmer than room temperature.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Continue blending and add the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.IMG_0011

The frosting should be thick, creamy and fluffy.  IMG_0010If by chance you kitchen is very warm, or the caramel sauce was too warm when you added it, place the bowl of frosting in the fridge to firm up, then beat once more before use.

Assemble the cake –

1.  Level and split cake layers as desired.

2.  For easy assembly, add the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip.  This is optional.

3.  Begin with a layer of cake on the plate or cake stand of your choice.  Add a layer of frosting by piping a large spiral, then spread as needed with an offset spatula.  Alternatively, scoop a large dollop of frosting onto the cake layer, and spread as needed with an offset spatula.  Add a drizzle of caramel sauce on top of the frosting.

4.  Repeat layers of cake, then frosting, then a caramel drizzle.

5.  On top of the cake add a generous topping of candied nuts.IMG_0016



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