Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting by Sarah Patterson Scott 

Link to recipe as featured on Bon Appetit website here .

I happened upon this recipe a bit over a year ago, living on Galveston Island.  While Galveston Island is a beautiful, vibrant place to live, fall is - well, uneventful.  A few palm fronds fall, the temperature refuses to dip past 68, Ooo chilly.  Longing for a brisk breeze and falling leaves, I went to one of my favorite recipe websites, Bon Appetit and happened upon Sarah Patterson Scott's pumpkin cake recipe.  It fulfilled my; "I miss fall!" hissy fit with a moist cake, rich in pumpkin and laced with the spices of fall.   If you are need of a dessert to serve at your Thanksgiving table, or like me, just in need of a "fall fix", this cake is it.  One of my favorite cake recipes.  


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 
1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin 
1 and 1/2 cups sugar 
1 and 1/4 cups vegetable oil 
4 large eggs 
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel 

1 pound box powdered sugar 
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 


Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter and flower two 9 inch cake pans, tapping out any excess flour.  Whisk first nine ingredients in large bowl. Using and electric mixer, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil in another large bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate between additions.  Mix in orange peel.  Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend.  Divide batter between prepared pans. 

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, approximately 33 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert onto rack, then turn top side up and cool completely.  (Depending upon your oven strength the time is a suggestion. My oven in Galveston was something else! I only cooked the cakes 25 minutes. Consider checking them around 25 minutes to see if they are ready.)

Sprinkle 1/2 cup powdered sugar over the bottom of a small nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts (do not stir).  Continue cooking until sugar turns deep amber stirring occasionally, about two minutes.  Carefully stir in 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously).   Stir until caramel bits dissolve.  Stir in remaining  tablespoon of cream.  Allow caramel to cool to room temperature. 

A word of warning here - allow me to say "bubble vigorously" is an understatement.  I brought my whipping cream to room temperature in an effort to prevent the violent reaction of cold cream and caramelized sugar.  Be very, very careful. When caramelized sugar pops, it sticks to you, and it will burn. Anyone who has ever made homemade caramel knows it is a trick.  But the violent reaction, results in the yummiest of caramel icings.  Please be mindful. I tend to wear my kitchen gloves when making caramel. 

Using long serrated knife, trim rounded tops from cakes. Place 1 cake layer on cake plate, cut side up.  Spread 3/4 cup frosting over the layer. Placed second cake layer, cut side down, atop frosting.  Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, creating smooth surface. Sprinkle candied orange peel over top of cake for garnish.  

Well worth the effort for a bit of fall, pumpkin, spice goodness.  Enjoy! 

Until next time, wishing you all the best - 



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