Let me start out saying that this cake is to die for. After the first bite, I started to laugh because it was THAT good. And, remember this post? Yeah, me not getting into pumpkin recipes didn’t last long. I lasted 5 days?! HA! Whoops! I guess when I get an idea, it just sticks in my head until I do something about it, like bake!
So, about this cake. I’m sure from the photos you can see that it is a long skinny pumpkin cake with layers of alternating caramel and chocolate frostings. I baked this cake in a sheet pan, let it cool and cut it into four equal pieces. Then I made some frostings and stacked this cake up! I topped it all off with some more chopped walnuts and some toffee bits for good measure. There are a lot of flavors and textures running throughout this dessert, but it all just works together. I love the crunch of the walnuts in the cake along with the smooth creamy frostings and the moist cake. The cinnamon pumpkin flavor works really well with the caramel frosting and the caramel frosting just tastes delicious with the chocolate frosting! (By the way, this caramel frosting is so delicious on it’s own! I probably took a 5 minute break just to lick out the bowl! No joke. It’s seriously good stuff! My little one preferred the chocolate–that was good too!)
A few things to warn you about that are important when making this cake. (1) Make sure to cool your cake completely before trying to assemble. Your frosting WILL ooze everywhere if it’s still warm because there is butter in it that will melt. (2) Speaking of butter, make sure you use REAL butter for this. Not margarine, not vegetable oil spread. It really makes a big difference, especially in the frosting. (3) When you are cutting your cake and removing them from the pan, be as gently as possible and try to lift the cake out as level as you can. This will prevent breakage. My second and third layers broke a little bit but they got completely covered by the frosting so at the end of the day, it isn’t that big of a deal. (4) Divide both kinds of frostings before you start assembling the cake! This way, you’ll have enough for each layer. And, I kept the frosting a little thinner through the middle and thicker around the edges for a prettier presentation. So, that’s about it! Please oh please make this cake! It was amazing and everyone I fed it to loved it! One of my friends even used the word ‘heavenly’. So, get baking! All of your loved ones will be glad you did! 🙂
Layered Pumpkin Walnut Cake with Caramel & Chocolate Frostings
Yield 12 servings
for the cake-- 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs 1 cup pureed pumpkin 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup chopped toasted California walnuts
for the caramel frosting- 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup caramel syrup (I used the Hersheys brand, meant for ice cream) 1 cup powdered sugar
for the chocolate frosting- 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup powdered sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons toffee bits 1/3 cup chopped toasted California walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet (with high sides-sheet pan) with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
In stand mixer or large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light in color, 1 minute. Whip in vanilla, eggs and pumpkin until blended. Scrape sides and briefly mix again. Measure out all dry ingredients and add them in all at once. Mix on a low speed until all ingredients are moist. Scrape down the sides and mix again. Stir in sour cream. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chopped walnuts by hand. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 15-18 minutes or until cake is cooked thoroughly. (Make sure to check it at 15!) Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
For the caramel frosting, whip butter, vanilla and caramel syrup together until well blended. Whip powdered sugar into mixture until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and whip again until light in color, 1-2 minutes. Remove from bowl and divide into two equal portions. Set aside.
Using the same bowl, whip butter, vanilla and cocoa together until well blended. Stir in powdered sugar. This mixture may look very dry, so with the mixer on, trickle in the milk. Scrape bowl and whip again until light in color, 1-2 minutes. Remove from bowl and divide into two equal portions.
For assembly, cut cooled cake into 4 equal strips width wise. Carefully remove 1 strip of cake and place onto serving platter. Top with half of chocolate frosting, being sure to have thicker frosting around the edges and thinner frosting in the middle. Repeat this process alternating the chocolate and caramel frostings, finishing with caramel. Top cake with chopped walnuts and toffee bits. Serve.