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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Naked Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

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!

Naked Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

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

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.

Naked Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

Amanda is a wife, a mom, a baker and the creative force behind 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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