Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients, especially during the fall months. This is a great cake for friends with October/November birthdays (like me!) It’s also a nice alternative to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. Feel free to substitute whole wheat or white wheat flour for the all-purpose.
3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter; more for the pans
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups (9 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon table salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cake:
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, butter the parchment, and flour the pans.
3. Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl; let stand until cool but not set, about 15-20 minutes.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
5. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until very well blended. With a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Gently whisk in the brown butter until completely incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
6. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove the pan bottoms or parchment, and cool completely.
For the frosting:
1. With stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. When cakes are cooled, spread about 2 cups frosting on one cake layer. Top with second cake layer and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.