Pumpkin Cake with Butterscotch Filling

by Melissa on November 18, 2009

I try not to post 2 recipes in a row with the same common ingredient, but I really want to get all of my pumpkin posts up before fall has come and gone! I made this pumpkin cake, with butterscotch filling and brown sugar buttercream, for my mother-in-law’s birthday last month and it was delicious! As with most baked goods with pumpkin, the cake was moist and flavorful. The butterscotch filling, with nuts, adds a delicious, contrasting texture to the cake. And the brown sugar buttercream could possibly be my favorite frosting of all time. This cake would be a perfect addition to the traditional pie spread on Thanksgiving, and would be sure to impress your guests!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of the cake before cutting into it, but you can click the links below to see how others have decorated this cake.

Pumpkin Cake with Butterscotch Filling and Brown Sugar Buttercream

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the filling

  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 – 1 oz. pieces
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts (optional)

For the icing

  • 2 cups tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 8 – 1 oz. pieces
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar

To make the cake:

Line the bottoms of 2 round 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment, as well as the sides of the pans.  Preheat the oven to 325°.  Center a rack in the oven.

Combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree and buttermilk and mix until smooth.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Increase to high speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and scraping down the bowl between additions.  Add the vanilla extract and beat on high for 30 seconds.  With the mixer running on low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter, until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Immediately divide the batter between the prepared cake pans, spreading evenly.  Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 10 minutes.  Invert onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the filling:

Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot (do not allow to boil or simmer).  Combine sugar and lemon juice in a separate saucepan and stir with a whisk to combine (the sugar will resemble moist sand).  Caramelize the sugar for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk to break up any lumps.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the hot cream, one half at a time.  Add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring to incorporate completely before adding the next piece.  Cool in the refrigerator 45 minutes.  Place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until light (but not fluffy).  Add the chopped nuts and stir to incorporate.  Set aside.

To make the icing:

Heat the brown sugar, heavy cream, 2 – 1 oz. pieces of butter, and cream of tartar in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, while bringing the mixture to a boil.  Allow the mixture to continue boiling while stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.  Transfer the bubbling hot mixture to a stainless steel bowl and allow to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before proceeding.  Place the cooled mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, adding the 6 remaining pieces of butter one at a time, until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Increase the speed to high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for an additional 1 minute until light and fluffy. 

Assembling the cake:

Place one of the pumpkin cake layers on a cake platter or a cardboard cake circle.  Spread butterscotch filling evenly on top of cake.  Top with remaining layer of cake, pressing down firmly.  Frost sides and top of cake with brown sugar icing.  Use remaining frosting to pipe decorative accents onto top and bottom edge of the cake.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats, who adapted it from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and Desserts to Die For, by Marcel Desaulniers.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

katie November 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

That, in all seriousness, looks like the MOST delicious cake I’ve ever seen. Totally starring this. Wish I could have some now! :)


Stephanie November 18, 2009 at 11:29 am

That looks great and I love the idea of the brown sugar buttercream. Yum!


Kate November 18, 2009 at 11:45 am

I love the idea of butterscotch frosting. I’ve never had it but it sounds SO good!


Melissa November 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Oh, my word. I think I gained 10 pounds just reading about that. Sounds so delicious!


thecookingnurse December 11, 2009 at 10:08 am

This looks sinful!


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