Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Total Time:
1 hr 45 min
40 min
30 min
35 min

8 servings

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream, recipe follows
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream:
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Orange gel food coloring
  • Arrange 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 6-inch cake pans and two 7-inch cake pans with parchment rounds and spray with nonstick spray.

  • In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter turns golden brown. Skim the foam from the top and remove from the heat. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.

  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, sour cream, eggs and brown butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and whisk until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans, filling each pan to about the same height. Bake, switching and rotating the positions of the pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pans to separate the cake edges, then place the cakes in their pans in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes to cool (this locks in the moisture). After the layers have fully cooled in the freezer, invert them onto a rack and remove their pans.

  • Place one of the smaller cake layers on a cake plate and top with some Cream Cheese Buttercream. Top with a larger layer and more buttercream, then the other larger layer and more buttercream. Finish with the final smaller cake layer, domed-side upward. Frost the top, then frost the sides of the cake.

  • Special equipment: two 6-inch cake pans and two 7-inch cake pans

Cream Cheese Buttercream:
  • Beat the butter and cream cheese together with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and add the confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, followed by the vanilla, cinnamon and salt, until everything is fully incorporated. Color the frosting orange.

  • Yield: 4 cups buttercream (enough to decorate one 7-inch cake)

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