Naked Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

This pumpkin cake is full of fall flavors, and it is easy enough for a beginner baker to make.
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My husband proposed to me again after I made him this cake. It was a complete shock to me, as he is not a big sweets eater. We have come to a comfortable understanding in our lives: I make desserts every day, I ask him to sample them, and he nods that they are fine.

But not with this cake!

See, this is the best pumpkin cake you will ever try. It is a three-layer beauty made up of tender and flavorful pumpkin cake that's paired with a delicious cinnamon buttercream frosting. Pecans are the ideal crunchy complement, and the addition of a caramel drizzle is perfection — exactly what's needed for an impressive finish. This cake is simple to put together, and the recipe is easy enough for even a beginner to bake.

Naked Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

Yield: 12 servings

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

4 large eggs, room temperature

One 15-ounce can pumpkin pie mix

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Cinnamon Buttercream:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3 cups confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

One 7-ounce container pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup caramel sauce, for drizzling

To make the Naked Pumpkin Cake:

To prepare the cake, coat three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray.

Place granulated sugar, brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until well blended.

With mixer on low, add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire rack.

To make the Cinnamon Buttercream:

In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy (about 3-5 minutes).

With the mixer on a slow speed, carefully add in confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time. Then add in the vanilla extract and cinnamon.

Add in heavy cream a little at a time. If you need a thicker frosting, use more confectioner's sugar; if you need a thinner consistency, add in more heavy cream.

To assemble cake:

Place cooled layer of cake on cake stand. (This recipe should yield a very level cake, but if your cake does dome, level it before assembling.) Cover with about 1/2 cup of buttercream. Spread 1/3 cup of chopped pecans.

Repeat with next layer of cake, covering with 1/2 cup of buttercream and 1/3 cup of chopped pecans.

Place final layer of cake on top.

Place remaining buttercream in a plastic bag fitted with a large open star tip. (I used a #362 tip.) Pipe out a design on the top of the cake making sure to only pipe around the exterior.

Sprinkle remaining pecans, then drizzle cake with caramel sauce. Serve immediately.

Amanda is a wife, a mom, a baker and the creative force behind iambaker.net. She homeschools her four children, lives in the land of 10,000 lakes and is self-appointed president of the Committee to Get Ina Garten on Twitter. (Amanda tweets at @iambakertweets)

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