This cake, adapted from Bon Apetit magazine, is perfection – except for one thing, the frosting is incurably runny – it is barely sweet and moist pumpkin heaven inside and sweet, creamy caramel cream cheese bliss on the outside. Speaking of – how have I never combined cream cheese and caramel? Genius. Two great flavors: even better together…
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups pumpkin puree (1 15oz can)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
– Preheat oven to 350°F.
– Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices together in a bowl. Beat pumpkin, sugar, and oil in another large bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to incorporate between additions. Add flour mixture; beat just to blend. Divide batter between prepared pans.
– Bake cakes about 33 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert onto rack, then turn top side up and cool completely.
Cream Cheese Caramel Frosting:
1 1-pound box powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
– Sprinkle 1/2 cup powdered sugar over bottom of small nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts (do not stir). Continue cooking until sugar turns deep amber, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Carefully stir in 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until any caramel bits dissolve. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon cream. Strain into small bowl. Cool caramel to room temperature.
– Sift remaining powdered sugar into medium bowl. Preferably using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in cooled caramel. Cover and chill frosting until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours (it may take longer, mine never really set up how I would have liked it to…but it may have also been a problem with my caramel consistency…).
– Trim rounded tops from cakes. Place 1 cake layer on cake plate, cut side up. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Place second cake layer, cut side down, on top of frosting. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, creating smooth surface. Cover with cake dome or large bowl and chill. Let stand at room temperature before serving.