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Home » Desserts » Cake and Cupcakes » Pumpkin Caramel Cake

Pumpkin Caramel Cake

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Caramel pumpkin cake is delicious, decadent, and perfect for fall. It’s made with a tender, moist pumpkin spice cake that’s topped with a rich and creamy salted caramel frosting. The combination of flavors and textures is irresistible.

A slice of Pumpkin Spice Cake on a plate with fork

Why You Will Love This Cake

Pumpkin spice caramel cake is a delicious and versatile dessert that can be enjoyed year-round. However, it’s especially popular during the fall season, when pumpkins are in season and the weather is cooler.

Cream cheese or buttercream is the standard frosting for a spiced pumpkin cake but this salted caramel buttercream is hands down the best choice! Pumpkin and caramel are perfect pals that compliment each other.

  • Easy to make. You can make this pumpkin spice cake even if you don’t have a lot of baking experience.
  • Delicious: The pumpkin and caramel flavors are perfectly balanced, and the cake is moist and delicious.
  • Festive. This spice cake with salted caramel buttercream is perfect for any occasion, from a casual family gathering to a formal holiday party.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cake

  • Pantry – All-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vegetable oil, vanilla.
  • Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
  • Vegetable oil – Canola, Sunflower, Corn, any light vegetable oil.
  • Eggs – Large eggs, room temperature.
  • Canned goods – Pumpkin puree (solid-pack pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling).

Ingredients for Caramel Frosting

  • Fridge – Butter, heavy cream, cream cheese (block style).
  • Pantry – Brown sugar, powered sugar, vanilla extract, salt (regular salt and Maldon salt).
  • Powdered sugar – Sifted and free of lumps.

Cake on pedestal with salt being sprinkled on top

How To Make This Pumpkin Caramel Layered Cake

This is a simple cake to bake. It has a wonderful pumpkin flavor with just the right amount of spice and sweetness. We used three, 9-inch round cake pans to bake the three cake layers.You can also bake this cake in a sheet cake, Bundt cake or as cupcakes. 

Scroll to the ‘Notes’ at the end of our recipe card for the pan options and baking times.  

Make The Pumpkin Cake Recipe First

  1. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  Parchment paper is optional but it sure makes a tremendous difference!  Your cake is guaranteed to come out of the pan in one piece if you line the pans with parchment. 
  2. In a medium bowl sift all the dry ingredients together, (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices).  This is really important.  You don’t want any lumps of baking soda, flour or spices left in a clump. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat all the wet ingredients together until smooth (the sugars, oil, eggs, pumpkin and vanilla). 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter and mix until well combined. 
  5. Divide the batter equally into the prepared pans and smooth the surface.
  6. Bake the cakes in a 350° oven for about 28 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out just barely clean.  It’s ok if there are a few crumbs stuck to the toothpick, as a matter of fact, that is ideal for a moist cake.
  7. Set the pans on cooling racks to cool completely then run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the cakes then invert them onto racks and remove the parchment paper.

How Make The Salted Caramel Buttercream

Once you make this caramel buttercream, it’s sure to be your new frosting favorite. It’s over the top (pun intended) with a rich, creamy caramel flavor and a touch of sea salt. 

This salted caramel buttercream is smooth, creamy and so-ooo good!  It takes a few minutes to make but it’s so worth the effort and time. The secret to the creaminess of the frosting is the addition of the cream cheese.

  1. Add the butter and both brown sugars to a large saucepan and bring to a boil while whisking continually. 
  2. Whisk in the heavy cream and return to a boil and cook, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is syrupy. 
  3. Remove from the heat and carefully transfer to a mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or an electric hand mixer.
  4. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the powdered sugar, vanilla and fine sea salt.  Beat the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes while adding the cream cheese, one cube at a time and beating well before adding the next cube.
  5. The frosting will be warm, allow to cool before frosting the cake. 
  6. Assemble and frost the cake, then sprinkle large-flake Maldon salt over the top.

Overhead view of top of cake with salt flakes

Ways to Serve the Cake

You can serve this layered cake plain or with a variety of toppings, such as whipped cream, drizzled caramel sauce, chopped nuts, Maldon salt like we used in our recipe, or even toasted pumpkin seeds. It is also delicious when served with a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Additional recipes that complement this fall cake are:

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting on a plate with fork, cup of coffee, napkin, cream and sugar

Other Fall Pumpkin Recipes You Might Love

Substitutions and Variations

Here are a few substitutions and variations when making this salted caramel pumpkin spice cake:

  • You can add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
  • Fold 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans into the batter.
  • Vary things up and use different flavor of frosting, such as coffee or chocolate buttercream.

Storage Options

  • You can store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • It will last in the freezer for up to 2 months if stored in a freezer-proof container. To defrost, simply thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator.

Helpful Tools

Some of the following are affiliate links. We may receive a small commission if you click on these links and purchase something. You don’t pay any extra, but it will help us keep the lights on. 

Some pieces of equipment you may find helpful when making this pumpkin cake:

Tips For Success with This Cake

  • To make sure the cake is moist, don’t overbake it. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few moist crumbs attached.
  • To make a bundt cake, simply pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • You can use Pumpkin Spice blend if you don’t have all the individual spices on hand.
  • To make sure your frosting is smooth and creamy, use room temperature butter and sifted powdered sugar.

More Cake Recipes

Here are some more cake recipes that offer something for everyone, from chocolate indulgence to vanilla-laced goodness. Each one comes with its own sweet frosting, elevating the cake to a whole new level of deliciousness.

from here

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this pumpkin cake in a bundt pan?

Yes, pour the batter into a large greased and floured bundt pan. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean

Can I make cupcakes with this recipe?

Yes, use the cake batter for the cupcakes, then frost with the caramel buttercream.

What is the difference between pumpkin puree and pie filling?

The puree is simply cooked and mashed pumpkin, while pie filling contains added sugar, spices, and other ingredients. When making this cake, be sure to use plain puree, not pie filling.

Can I use Fresh Pumpkin in this cake?

You can peel and cook a fresh pumpkin and use it in the recipe if you are ambitious.  However, if you decide to go that route I would suggest roasting the squash.  Roasting will keep the moisture content down whereas steaming or boiling will make the squash too wet and add extra moisture to the cake batter.  

For more information on roasting pumpkin to replace canned puree go to our recipe for Thai Pumpkin Soup.

Right here

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a slice of 3 layer pumpkin caramel cake.

Pumpkin Caramel Cake

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Salted caramel pumpkin cake is delicious, decadent, and perfect for fall. It's made with a tender, moist pumpkin spice cake that's topped with a rich and creamy caramel frosting. The combination of flavors and textures is irresistible.

Ingredients

For the Pumpkin Spice Cake:

  • 3 cups (360 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups (400 grams) white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 15 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Salted Caramel Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups (400 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups (500 grams) sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces soft cream cheese, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon large-flake Maldon salt, for garnish

Instructions

For the Pumpkin Spice Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a bowl to remove any lumps..
  3. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl beat well until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat until everything is well blended.
  5. Divide the batter equally into the prepared pans and smooth the surface. Bake about 28 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out just barely clean. Begin checking after baking for 30 minutes.
  6. Set the pans on cooling racks to cool completely then run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the cakes then invert them onto racks and remove the parchment paper.

For the Salted Caramel Frosting:

  1. Add the butter and brown sugar to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes while whisking continually.
  2. Whisk in the heavy cream and return to a boil, whisking continually until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth and syrupy.
  3. Remove from the heat and carefully transfer to a mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or use an electric hand mixer.
  4. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat in the cubes of cream cheese one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and fine sea salt and beat until the frosting is thick and creamy, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Chill the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cake.

To Assemble the Cake:

  1. Place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread with frosting. Stack the second layer on top and cover with frosting. Add the top layer, cover the top and sides with the caramel frosting. 
  2. Sprinkle flakes of salt on top of the cake.

Notes

  • Baking pan options and baking times: 3, 8-inch round — 30-35 minutes, 12x18 inch sheet pan —17-20 minutes, 10-inch Bundt Pan —50-55 minutes, 9x13x2-inch pan —30-35 minutes, 12 cavity muffin pan —20-25 minutes (makes 24 cupcakes)
  • When sifting the dry ingredients, if you do not have a sifter, just substitute with a large mesh strainer. Set the strainer over a bowl and add the dry ingredients and stir to sift through.
  • A substitute of 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger.
  • The brown sugar can be either light or dark
  • An electric hand mixer can be used if a stand mixer is not available.  Some hand mixer have whisk attachments.
  • Sifting the confectioners’ sugar is an important step to remove any lumps of sugar in the frosting.
  • The frosting will be slightly warm, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before frosting the cake.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 775mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 2gSugar: 42gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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angiesrecipes

Thursday 17th of October 2019

The spiced cake looks tender and soft .. perfect, but the star here is that caramel frosting!

Dahn Boquist

Thursday 17th of October 2019

Thanks Angie, that caramel frosting disappears really fast!

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