Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

In New England, we celebrate Autumn with gusto like the strong winds creating falling leave whirlpools on front lawns then whisking the colorful leaves away to decompose in the woods.  Fall is a glorious season inviting all to partake in the cornucopia of scents and tastes indicative of the season. I love to bake aromatic cakes, pies, and cookies filling my home with spicy fragrances; a perfect companion to falling temperatures complimenting the change from summer to fall. On a brisk fall day what could be more appropriate than a piece of spice cake with a cup of tea sitting by the fire watching the changing jewel-tone leaves float quietly to the ground. 

  • For cake
    • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing the bundt pan
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-ounce can; not pie filling), Libby’s Pumpkin
    • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs
  • For icing
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Special Equipment
    • a 10-inch nonstick bundt pan (3 quarts)


  • Make cake:
    • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bundt pan generously, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.
    • Whisk together flour (2 1/4 cups), baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.
    • Beat butter (1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.
    • Spoon batter into the pan, smoothing top, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert onto severing plate. Cool 10 minutes more.
  • Make icing:
  • Bring light brown sugar, heavy cream, and salted butter to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan over medium, stirring often. Boil, stirring often, 1 minute; remove from heat. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.

The cake can be made 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container 





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