Pumpkin Pie Layer Cake

Recently I have not been much of a pumpkin pie fan. I do love pumpkin but the traditional pie is a bit of a bore for me. This time around I decided to make something a bit different. Being that i am a fan of naked layer cakes I figured I would give this a shot.

Instead of making the Candied Graham Crackers as the original recipe called for I used these Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies. I got them a couple of weeks ago and I’ve wanted to use them in something. I also made a Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream frosting, because, duh, it’s me and I strongly believe Bourbon makes everything taste better 😉

I made this for our Thanksgiving potluck at work and I think it went over quite well.

For the Cake:
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1⁄4 cup plus pumpkin purée
2 cups vegetable or canola oil
2 2⁄3 cups granulated sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
6 large eggs, yolks and whites separated

Pumpkin Spice Syrup:
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Bourbon Buttercream Frosting:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
5 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Bourbon (this is optional if you;re not much of a Bourbon fan)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. First, make your cake. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and grease and/or line three 9-inch cake pan. Set aside. Whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.

2. In your mixer or a large bowl, whisk together your pumpkin puree, oil, sugar and salt. Using your paddle attachment or a wooden spoon, beat in your egg yolks only, incorporating one at a time before adding in the next, until fully mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix together your dry ingredients, and add them to your batter.

3. In a separate bowl beat your egg whites until frothy, which will take about 5 minutes and a good amount of elbow grease, but it’s worth it. Once your egg whites are frothy, fold them into your cake batter until fully incorporated, but don’t overmix.

Pour your batter into your prepared cake pans, smooth out the top and bake in the middle of your oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

For the Syrup:
1. In a small sauce pot, combine your water and sugars. Over medium-high heat, stir until the sugars are totally dissolved, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, and add in your pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to combine, and continue stirring until the pumpkin is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Frosting:
1. Beat your butter until smooth, about 3 minutes, then add in your powdered sugar after sifting it to make sure you don’t have any lumps, 1 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, add in your Bourbon, vanilla, salt and beat on high to aerate the frosting, for another 2 minutes or so. Use immediately, or cover, place in the fridge, and allow to sit out at room temperature for about an hour, then aerate again, before using.

1. Place your first layer down on your cake board and secure the cake to the board with a dollop of frosting (you can also secure your cake board to your preferred surface with a dollop of frosting). Level off your first layer with a serrated knife, then soak the layer with a few tablespoons of your pumpkin syrup. Let it dry for about 5 minutes, then spread 1⁄4 of your frosting over that layer. Crumble up bits of the Pumpkin Snaps over that and then press it lightly into the frosting. Place your next layer on top and repeat. Place your third layer on top, level it, and coat your cake in a thin layer of frosting (otherwise known as a crumb coat). Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

2. After 15 minutes, take the cake out again and finish frosting. Using a bench scraper or cake leveler, scrape off the frosting you just applied for a flat, “naked” look. Top the cake with more crumbled graham crackers. This will keep well, in a cake saver, in the fridge for up to 3 days.

For the original recipe, go here.


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