Delectable layers of pumpkin cake frosted with salted caramel cream cheese icing and covered with a glaze of caramel sauce. Top it off with glazed pecans.
4 cups All-Purpose Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Cardamon
2 – 15 oz Cans of Pumpkin Puree
4 cups Sugar
1 1/2 cups Canola Oil
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Salted Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup Water
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Heavy Cream (room temperature)
4 tablespoons Butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
2 – 8 oz Cream Cheese (cold)
8 tablespoons Butter (cold)
8 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Salted Caramel Sauce (from above)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Caramel Extract
Glazed Pecans for topping
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 until they are completely 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 Sauce
Combine water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir only until combined. For the rest of the cooking process, do not stir. You will be tempted but I’ve tried cooking caramel sauce several different ways and this is a no-fail process for me. Cook until it becomes a deep amber color, anywhere from 12-15 minutes. Watch closely once the sugar mixture turns to a light brown color. It can get away from you and burn quite quickly after this stage.
Add the heavy cream. Make sure it is room temperature, otherwise, it will boil out of control. Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and add the butter and salt. Whisk until it is completely combined.
Set aside to cool.
For the Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Combine cold cream cheese and cold 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.