For the Pumpkin Cake
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Cut pieces of round parchment paper to fit the bottom of 2 - 8-inch round cake pans. Grease the pans and lay the parchment paper in the bottom.
- Add 4 cups all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg), and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon to a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
- In another large mixing bowl add 2-15 ounce cans of pumpkin puree, 4 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups canola oil, 8 eggs, and 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Beat well with a hand mixer until the ingredients are combined.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is no longer seen and all the ingredients are combined.
- Pour the batter (3/4 full) into two greased round cake pans. There is enough leftover batter to make extra mini bundt cakes or cupcakes.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes until the middle of the cake springs back when touched. (Bake the mini bundt pans for around 25 minutes or cupcakes for 15-20 minutes.)
- Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans. Invert the pans onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
For the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine 2-8 ounces packages of cream cheese and 8 tablespoons of butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined and smooth.
- Add powdered sugar in 2 cup increments until all 8 cups are incorporated. Beat until smooth.
- Add 1/2 cup cooled caramel sauce, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon caramel extract. Beat until completely combined. Set Aside
Frosting the Layered Pumpkin Cake
- Using a lazy susan or a cake turntable works perfectly when cutting the cakes. Cut off the domed part of the top of both cakes with a long serrated bread knife and discard or freeze for a trifle later.
- Measure halfway up of each round cake and cut horizontally through the middle while turning the lazy susan and continue cutting until completely separated.
- Layer the bottom cake section onto a cake plate and frost with about a cup of cream cheese frosting. Continue with each section but do not add the frosting to the top layer yet.
- When you get to the last layer, create a crumb barrier by frosting the entire cake with a thin layer of icing.
- Set the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the freezer and frost the top and the sides with an offset spatula as you turn the lazy susan to get a perfectly smooth surface.
- Press glazed pecans around the bottom of the cake - about 2 inches up from the bottom.
- Return to the freezer for 20 minutes because you want the cake cold when you apply the caramel sauce. The sauce should be slightly warm in order to drizzle well but not too warm that it is runny.
- Work your way around the top edge of the entire cake to make drips down the sides. Then drizzle the rest of the caramel on the top and spread to cover the top of the cake.
- Sprinkle the glazed pecans around the top edge of the cake - about 2 inches in.
- Return the cake to the freezer for 10 minutes until the caramel is well set.