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Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves: 12
Hands On Time: 
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3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pans
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed


To make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with softened butter. Cut three 8- or 9-inch circles out of parchment paper and fit them into to bottom of the cake pans. Lightly coat the paper circles with butter.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the pumpkin puree, followed by the buttermilk and vanilla, until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and ginger. Add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cream cheese frosting: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, butter, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, in batches if necessary, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar, if needed, to form a thick, spreadable frosting.

Assemble and frost the cake, using a generous layer of frosting between each layer and around the top and sides of the cake. Serve.

Photo Credit: Ramona King

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