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 the dry ingredients to a medium size bowl and stir together.
- In a large bowl add the pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well with a hand mixer until the ingredients are combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir only until the ingredients are combined.
- Pour the batter (3/4 full) into two greased round cake pans. There is enough leftover batter to make 6 mini bundt cakes.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes until the middle of the cake springs back when touched. (Bake the mini bundt pans for around 25 minutes.)
- Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans. Invert the pans onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
For the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar in 2 cup increments until all 8 cups are incorporated. Beat until smooth.
- Add cooled caramel sauce, vanilla, and caramel extract. Beat until completely combined.
Frosting the Layered Pumpkin Cake
- Using a lazy susan works perfectly when cutting the cakes. Cut the rounded top of both cakes off with a long serrated bread knife and discard. Cut each cake horizontally through the middle until completely separated.
- Layer the bottom cake section onto a cake plate and frost with the desired amount of icing. Continue with each section. When you get to the last layer, frost the top and the sides with a thin layer of icing to make a barrier for the crumbs. 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 the glazed pecans around the bottom of the cake – about 2 inches up.
- Return to the freezer for 20 minutes because you want the cake cold when you apply the caramel sauce. The sauce should be semi-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 cake. Sprinkle the glazed pecans around the top edge of cake – about 2 inches in.
- Return the cake to the freezer for 10 minutes until the caramel is well set. This cake does better if you refrigerate it.