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Spice Cake with Pumpkin Buttercream!

I love spice cake. Rich, heavy on the molasses with a ton of ginger and pie spice, it absolutely drips with fall energy. I’m a libra so it makes sense that fall would be one of my favorite seasons. The weather is cooling down, apples are in, it’s finally ok to wear hoodies again, and spice cakes are the perfect accompaniment to your morning coffee as you sit and watch the leaves fall from your front porch.

The nice thing about this recipe is that the cake can be made in a ton of shapes and doesn’t necessarily need the pumpkin buttercream, it absolutely adds a lot to the final presentation and overall flavor, but it truly isn’t a necessity. I like to make this spice cake as a loaf cake and glaze it with royal icing or just simply sprinkle it with powdered sugar. It bakes fairly quickly and stays moist for days, making it the perfect on the go breakfast option, if you enjoy that sort of thing.

Should you want to go the full 9, and make the buttercream to go along, I highly recommend going with the “naked cake” approach. Ice each sandwich layer appropriately and then apply a thin “shmear” of icing to the outside. Et Voila, you have achieved, in my humble opinion, the perfect ratio of cake to icing, not too much, certainly not to little, just enough to satisfy.

One last note for this recipe, go ahead and use canned pumpkin. Yes, roasting your own pumpkin or squash is a great way to add that home-made touch to a pie or cake, but in this case, it will be hard to rid the roasted pumpkin of enough moisture to make the buttercream work well. As it is, the canned pumpkin has almost too much added moisture, so air on the side of caution and save those pumpkins/squash for a soup.

Spice Cake with Pumpkin Buttercream!

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Recipe by Paul Kostandin Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


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This spice cake will quickly become your favorite fall dessert. Far tastier and easier than any pumpkin roll, perfect with a cup of coffee, this cake is rich with fall energy!


  • For the cake
  • 4 oz 4 unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 molasses

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 self rising flour

  • 1 tbsp 1 ground ginger

  • 1 tsp 1 pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 baking powder

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 milk

  • For the buttercream
  • 1/2 lb 1/2 unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 canned pumpkin

  • 3 cups 3 powder sugar

  • 1 tsp 1 vanilla

  • 1 tsp 1 pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tsp 1 salt


  • To make the cake
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • In a small sauce pot, melt the butter, brown sugar and molasses, stir well to completely combine. Once melted allow the mixture to cool slightly for a few minutes.
  • In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients and the spices, whisk the melted butter mixture into the flour.
  • Whisk the eggs into the batter and then the milk. 
  • Transfer the batter to, two, greased 6” cake tins and bake for 15-25 minutes at 325ºF. Begin to check your cakes at 15 minutes, remove them from the oven when they are firm and a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely before adding frosting and decorating.
  • To make the buttercream
  • In a stand mixer, whip the butter with the paddle attachment until fluffy.
  • Add the canned pumpkin and mix on medium speed until combined
  • Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time, once all the sugar has been added continue to mix until the buttercream is light and airy. 
  • Reserve until needed.
  • To decorate
  • Place 1, cooled cake round down onto a plate or cake stand.
  • Pipe, or spoon 1/3 of the buttercream onto the top of the cake.
  • Spread the icing evenly to the edges, place the second cake round on top of the icing layer.
  • Pipe, or spoon 1/3 of the buttercream onto the top of the cake.
  • Using an offset spatula, apply the final 1/3 of the icing to the outside of the cake.
  • Spread the icing evenly over the outside of the cake.
  • To achieve the “naked” look, use a spatula, bowl scraper or other flat edge like a paint scraper to spread the icing evenly over the outside of the cake, scraping the majority of the icing away and evenly filling any crevices.

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